New airline routes launched (29 July – 4 August 2014)


China Southern Airlines’ Wuhan to Moscow Sheremetyevo

Celebrating the launch of China Southern Airlines’ new service between Wuhan and Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) were: SVO Deputy General Director Andrey Nikulin; Deputy Head of Russian Tourism Dmitry Amunz; Head of Air Transport Department of the Ministry of Transport Alexander Belskiy; Counsellor for Economic and Commercial Affairs of the Embassy of China in the Russian Federation Zhang Di; and Executive Director – Secretary of Airline Party Committee Zhang Tszyfan. 

  • China Southern Airlines launched its second route to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) on 30 July with the introduction of thrice-weekly flights from Wuhan (WUH). The 6,449-kilometre route will be flown by the airline’s A330-200s and faces no direct competition. The route launch was celebrated in Moscow by the heads of aviation authorities from both China and Russia. Wuhan, China’s 13th busiest airport with 15.7 million passengers in 2013, has only one other non-stop service to Europe, Air France to Paris CDG.

flyvista’s Tbilisi to Tehran

Cutting the celebratory cake for the launch of flyvista’s twice-weekly operation from Tbilisi to Tehran are: Yiltan Oktem, Deputy Terminal Operations Manager, TAV Georgia; Gregory Pomerantsev, CEO flyvista; Tea Zakaradze, Deputy General Manager, TAV Georgia; and Akaki Barkaia, Ground Handling Manager, TAV Georgia.

  • flyvista, a new start-up carrier based in Tbilisi (TBS), commenced operations on 4 August, with the start of twice-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays) flights to Tehran (IKA). Operated by the airline’s single 737-300, the 880-kilometre sector will face no direct competition. Other planned destinations include Moscow, Almaty, Kiev, Istanbul, Baku, Prague and Minsk. TAV Georgia’s General Manager Mete Erkal said during the celebration cocktail for the first flight: “I am glad that new flights from Tbilisi International Airport toward Tehran will be served by new Georgian air company flyvista. This company will also perform Tbilisi-Kiev-Tbilisi flights from autumn. We are sure that such kind of novelty will increase the number of passengers in Tbilisi International Airport. TAV Georgia, as the operator company of Tbilisi and Batumi International Airports is glad to support the new local air company for its successful operation.” Speaking at the same event, CEO of flyvista Gregory Pomerantsev said: “We are pleased to announce the launch of flyvista flight operations from its base in Tbilisi. Market research reveals that there is a sufficient flow of passengers on the routes between Georgia and its neighbouring markets, including the route Tbilisi-Tehran. We are confident that friendly and competitive travelling alternatives will stimulate travel activities and help to promote inbound tourism to Georgia.”

The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)


  • Aerolineas Argentinas expanded its presence at Rosario (ROS) with the addition of two new services to Cordoba (COR) and Iguaza (IGR) on 3 August. Both domestic routes launched from the largest city in the province of Santa Fe will be operated twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays), using the SkyTeam member’s 96-seat E190s. While there is no competition on the 1,003-kilometre sector to Iguaza, the sector to Cordoba is already flown by SOL Airlines’ six weekly operations.

Air Arabia adds Antalya to its network

Despite the fact that the flight does not arrive into Antalya until 00:45, there were plenty of people around from the airline and the airport operator ICF Airport to welcome the first Air Arabia flight from Sharjah.


  • Air China has launched daily flights from Chongqing (CKG) to Seoul Incheon (ICN). On 1 August the airline began service on the 2,091-kilometre route using 737-700s. The route is already served four times weekly by Asiana Airlines. Air China now serves the South Korean capital from seven destinations in China, the others being Beijing, Hangzhou, Hefei, Qingdao, Tianjin and Yanji. From Chongqing Air China only operates one other international service, to Taipei Taoyuan in Taiwan.

  • Air Zimbabwe commenced its fourth link from its Harare (HRE) base on 1 August, adding thrice-weekly services to Kariba (KAB), a route which continues to Victoria Falls. With no competition provided on the new 282-kilometre domestic airport pair, the flag carrier of Zimbabwe will operate it using its 50-seat MA60s. Air Zimbabwe is also flying from Harare to Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Johannesburg.

  • Dobrolet, the LCC spin-off parented by Aeroflot, commenced its second route in the last week, launching daily flights from its Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) base to Volgograd (VOG). Started on 1 August, the 937-kilometre sector will be flown by the fledgling carrier’s 169-seat 737-800s. Aeroflot will provide direct competition for its daughter company, offering the same domestic city pair thrice-daily. From Moscow’s other airports, S7 Airlines flies 19 times weekly to Volgograd from Moscow Domodedovo, with RusLine offering another weekly connection on the airport pair. In addition, UTair operates a daily service from Moscow Vnukovo. The route did actually begin operations before the airline was forced to suspend all flights due to EU sanctions.

  • EGYPTAIR, the flag carrier of Egypt, has further enhanced its seasonal offering from Cairo (CAI), adding thrice-weekly flights to N’Djamena (NDJ) on 2 August. The 2,614-kilometre sector to the capital and largest city of Chad will face no competition from other airlines and will be operated until 25 October using the Star Alliance member’s 145-seat 737-500s.

Ambassador (Dr) Mike G. Omotosho, Nigeria’s Consul General in the UAE (left) with Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates’ Vice President Commercial Operations, Northern and Western Africa, at Dubai International Airport, with members of Emirates’ cabin crew for the start of the new daily Dubai-Abuja. Emirates’ first flight EK785 touches down in Abuja.

  • Emirates began services to its 21st African non-stop destination on 1 August, linking its global hub in Dubai (DXB) with daily flights to Nigeria’s capital city Abuja (ABV), its second destination in Nigeria. Services to Lagos were launched just over 10 years ago. The inaugural flight, which was operated by the MEB3 airline’s 267-seat A340-300s, comes just days after Arik Air launched its own five times weekly operation between the two cities on 29 July. Presently, neither of the remaining MEB3 carriers will offer Emirates any indirect competing services from their respective hubs. “This new daily flight provides a convenient point-to-point service for our customers between Abuja and Dubai, and it will meet and further stimulate a vibrant market demand between the two cities. It will also serve our customers in Nigeria and around the network with additional connectivity and daily frequency. Our leisure and business passengers from Nigeria can now better connect to the Middle East, Europe, the United States and Asia via our hub in Dubai. Customers in Abuja can experience our A380 flagship aircraft to 29 destinations around the world, including popular ones like Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New York, Jeddah and London,” said Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates Vice President Commercial Operations, Northern and Western Africa.

  • EWA Air inaugurated services on the 439-kilometre sector from Dzaoudzi (DZA) in the French overseas department of Mayotte to Antsiranana (DIE) on 29 July. The carrier will operate twice-weekly flights (Tuesdays and Saturdays) to the capital of Diana Region, using its 68-seat ATR 72s. Competition on the new link is provided by Air Madagascar’s weekly flights.

  • flydubai is set to take on the two incumbents operating the Dubai (DXB) to Aden (ADE) route, joining the twice-weekly flights offered by both nasair and Yemenia Yemen Airlines. Launched on 1 August, the LCC will also operate the city pair twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays). The 1,751-kilometre sector will be flown by flydubai’s single aircraft fleet of 174-seat 737-800s. The carrier already flies daily to the capital Sana’a.

HK Express launched their inaugural flight to Ningbo in China on 2 August. This occurred during the Qixi Festival (the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day) which is one of the big occasions for celebration in China. Jimmy Ma, Executive Chairman & President of HK Express offered every woman passenger a rose on the maiden flight. 

  • HK Express commenced flights to Ningbo (NGB) in China on 2 August. The five-times weekly 1,109-kilometre route from Hong Kong (HKG) will be operated by the airline’s A320 and faces no competition. This becomes the airline’s 11th route in total and second to China, as it already serves Kunming. Located in the east of Zhejiang, Ningbo is the second largest city in the Yangtze River Delta Region after Hangzhou. Historically known as one of five important trading ports, Ningbo is famous for its thriving business culture and vibrant port city atmosphere. Last year Ningbo Lishe International Airport handled 5.46 million passengers (+3.7%) making it China’s 36th busiest airport in 2013.

  • IndiGo, celebrating its eighth birthday this week, has added a new non-stop service from its Hyderabad (HYD) base. On 3 August, the Indian LCC launched daily services using its 180-seat A320s on the 665-kilometre route to Indore (IDR), the largest city in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Competition is provided by SpiceJet, who also operate the route daily but with Q400 turboprops. This brings to 15 the number of destinations served by IndiGo from Hyderabad, 14 of which are domestic points, plus Dubai in the UAE. The airline already serves Indore from Mumbai (thrice-daily), as well as daily from Delhi, Nagpur and Raipur. Hyderabad is Indigo’s fifth biggest base with 265 weekly departures. This compares with 649 at Delhi, 524 in Mumbai, 327 in Kolkata and 303 in Bengaluru.

  • Juneyao Airlines started daily flights on 1 August between Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Cheongju (CJJ) in South Korea. The 808-kilometre route will be flown by the airline’s A320s and faces no direct competition. This is the airline’s third route to South Korea as it already links Shanghai Pudong with Jeju (13 weekly flights) and Yangyang (twice-weekly flights).

  • Meridiana has added three more seasonal routes to its S14 offering, with all services scheduled to finish operations by the first week in September. Started on 30 July, the airline now links Cagliari (CAG) with Kiev Boryspil (KBP). The weekly service (Wednesdays) will be operated by Air Italy’s 143-seat 737s and will face no direct competition. Commenced on 1 August, Meridiana will also link Naples (NAP) with Mykonos (JMK). The weekly service (Fridays) will also be operated by Air Italy’s 737s, but it will encounter direct competition from Volotea (six times weekly) and easyJet (twice-weekly) on the 1,028-kilometre city pair. Started on the same day, was the 1,502-kilometre route between Bologna (BLQ) and Santorini (JTR). Operated by the carrier’s 180-seat A320s, the weekly (Fridays) service will face Blue Panorama Airlines’ twice-weekly operation in terms of competition.

Another good load for another PEOPLExpress inaugural flight, this time for its daily services to Atlanta from Newport News. Flanking Mike Morisi (centre), Founder of PEOPLExpress to cut the new route ribbon at the Georgia airport are the airline’s CEO Jeff Erickson (left) and Miguel Southwell, Atlanta Airport General Manager (right).

  • PEOPLExpress, which was reinvigorated recently with three routes, continued to expand its Newport News, VA (PHF) offering with the addition of a new sector to Atlanta, GA (ATL) on 1 August. The carrier’s fifth served destination from Newport News will be operated daily, utilising its 150-seat 737-400s and will face direct competition from Delta Air Lines’ 36 weekly operations. In addition, the airline launched six weekly flights to West Palm Beach on 14 July.

  • Shenzhen Airlines has added two more links to Seoul Incheon (ICN) in South Korea. On 1 August it began flying five times weekly on the 1,666-kilometre routes from Xi’an (XIY) utilising A320s. Competition comes from Korean Air (daily flights) and Asiana Airlines (five weekly flights). On the same day, Shenzhen Airlines also started daily flights on the 481-kilometre route from Yantai (YNT) using 737-800s. This route is already well served by Asiana Airlines (twice-daily flights), Chinas Eastern Airlines (19 weekly flights), Jeju Air (thrice-weekly flights) and Shandong Airlines (daily flights).Until now Shenzhen Airlines had only served Seoul from its main base in Shenzhen.

  • Spirit Airlines expanded its domestic offering with two new services from New Orleans, LA (MSY) to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) and Houston Intercontinental, TX (IAH) on 1 August. While the route to Florida will face direct competition from Southwest Airlines (12 times weekly), and the 491-kilometre sector to Texas is already flown by United Airlines (86 times weekly), both airport pairs are operated daily, using the ULCC’s 145-seat A319s. Furthermore, Spirit has recently announced that starting from 6 November it will increase its presence at New Orleans with two new routes from Chicago O’Hare and Detroit respectively.

What, no mascot?! Spring Airlines Japan launched operations on 1 August from Tokyo Narita airport with a major ribbon-cutting ceremony. Initially three domestic destinations will be served with a total of five daily rotations, requiring just two 737-800s.

  • Spring Airlines Japan, the new Japanese LCC in which China’s Spring Airlines has a significant share, launched operations from Tokyo Narita (NRT) on 1 August. Unlike its Chinese parent company which operates A320s, Spring Airlines Japan has opted for 737-800s to serve the Japanese market. The first three routes it started are to Hiroshima (HIJ), Saga (HSG) and Takamatsu (TAK). Apart from the direct competition from Tokyo Narita summarised in the table below, all three destinations are served with multiple daily flights from Tokyo Haneda. With only five rotations per day the current schedule requires only two aircraft, both of which return to Narita at 21:25. See how Tokyo Narita Airport’s fire truck water arch salute compares with others from around the world this week.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
1 August Tokyo Narita (NRT) Hiroshima (HIJ) B738 (7) All Nippon Airways (7), Ibex Airlines (7)
1 August Tokyo Narita (NRT) Saga (HSG) B738 (14)
1 August Tokyo Narita (NRT) Takamatsu (TAK) B738 (14) Jetstar Japan (21)
Source: anna.aero’s New Route Database. Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 2014. WF = Weekly frequencies.

  • Transaero Airlines started its 13th domestic connection from its Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) hub on 2 August, adding flights on the 2,340-kilometre sector to Nizhnevartovsk (NJC). The thrice-weekly service, which will be increased to four times weekly from 19 August, will be operated by the non-allliance carrier’s 128-seat 737-700s. UTair will provide the direct competition, offering a daily service on the airport pair. In addition, Aeroflot flies to the second largest city in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug from its Moscow Sheremetyevo hub twice-daily. From Moscow Domodedovo, both S7 Airlines and Ural Airlines offer daily flights to Nizhnevartovsk.

  • Turkish Airlines has added its 11th and 12th destinations in North Africa, by starting services to Tlemcen (TLM) and Batna (BLJ) airports in Algeria from its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) base, stopping in the former first before continuing onto the latter. The twice-weekly (Mondays and Saturdays) operation will be flown by a variety of equipment. The inaugural flight took place on 31 July and no other operators offer the same city pairs.

Excitement gathers at Gate B93 at Denver Airport for the inaugural flight of United Airlines’ newest service from its Colorado hub to Hays, KS. In case you hadn’t guessed the 12 times weekly service is operated by CRJ 200.

  • United Airlines has further expanded its domestic network with another service from Denver, CO (DEN) to Hays, KS (HYS) on 1 August. The 478-kilometre airport pair to the largest city in north-western Kansas will be operated 12 times weekly, using SkyWest Airlines’ 50-seat CRJ 200s. No other operator serves this airport pair, though Great Lakes Aviation was operating the route until March of this year with up to four daily flights utilising 19-seat Beechcraft aircraft. This is Hays Regional Airport’s only commercial service at present.

  • VivaColombia entered the Panamanian market with two new routes to Panama City/Balboa (BLB) on 1 August. With the addition of daily flights from Bogota (BOG) and the launch of four weekly services from Medellin (MDE), both routes to the district located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal will be operated by the Colombian low-cost carrier’s 180-seat A320s. No other airlines serve any of the new airport pairs. VivaColombia is analysed in more detail in this week’s airline profile.

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