Finnair’s Helsinki to Kazan
On 18 August, Finnair landed for the first time at Kazan Airport. The oneworld member will serve its sixth Russian destination with thrice-weekly flights from Helsinki, using Flybe Finland’s E190s. Addressing the audience shortly after the airline’s inaugural flight is Allister Paterson, CCO, Finnair.
Airnorth’s Darwin to Cairns via Gove
Cairns Airport welcomed on 18 August Airnorth’s inaugural flight from Darwin, operated via Gove, with a special ceremony, including a cake in the terminal. Cutting the celebratory cake are: Terry James, Deputy Mayor of Cairns; Kate McCreery Carr, GM Operations, Cairns Airport; Janice Antonson, GM Aeronautical Development & Marketing, Cairns Airport; Simone Saunders CCO and CFO, Airnorth; the Hon Michael Trout, MP, Member for Barron River; Paul Aitken, IT and Communications Manager, Airnorth; Ian Landers, Business Development and Contracts Manager, Airnorth; Wesley Davies, Customer Service Supervisor, Airnorth; and Laila Da Cruz Soares, Airport and Grounds Services Manager, Airnorth.
- Airnorth, the Australian regional airline, has started services to Cairns (CNS) from Darwin (DRW), becoming its 13th destination from the Northern Territory Airport. The flights operate via existing network point of Gove (GOV), with the sector between Gove and Cairns also being a new route. Both started on 18 August and are operated by Airnorth’s 76-seat E170s daily. The Darwin-Cairns route will face competition from Jetstar Airways (daily) and Qantas (daily), whereas the Gove to Cairns sector will again face competition from Qantas (daily). Commenting on the route launch, Simone Saunders, CCO, Airnorth, said: “Airnorth has been providing a high quality of air services across Northern Australia for over 35 years and are the second oldest operating airline in Australia (to Qantas). We are pleased to be extending our services into Cairns, opening up business and leisure travel options for local residents into the Northern Territory.” See how Cairns Airport’s FTWA compares to the others sent in this week from around the world.
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
The flight and cabin crew of the first Etihad Regional service from Zurich to Pristina pose on the apron at Pristina International Airport on Friday 15 August. The five-times weekly service with an ATR 72-500 will compete with Belair’s six times weekly service.
- Etihad Regional on 15 August operated its first flight between Zurich (ZRH) and Pristina (PRN) in Kosovo. The Swiss-based regional airline, whose flights on this route are operated by Darwin Airline’s ATR 72-500s, will fly the route five times weekly initially, dropping to four times weekly in September. Competition on the 1,122-kilometre sector comes from airberlin’s Swiss-based subsidiary Belair, which operates six weekly flights.
- Frontier Airlines, which turned 20 this February, commenced its second route to Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW) with four weekly flights from Cleveland, OH (CLE) on 15 August. The 1,643-kilometre airport pair will face competition from American Airlines (27 times weekly) and United Airlines (11 times weekly) and will be operated using the LCC’s 168-seat A320s. Frontier is also flying to Dallas/Fort Worth with 37 weekly operations from Denver.
- Insel Air has launched non-stop service between Aruba (AUA) and Paramaribo (PBM), the capital of Surinam. The twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) service on the 1,806-kilometre route was started on 18 August using the airline’s MD-83s. Competition is provided by Surinam Airways who operate the route with thrice-weekly 737-300 flights. Those passengers who want to travel between Aruba and Paramaribo on other days of the week have the option to travel with Insel Air via Curacao on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
- Jeju Air, the independently-owned South Korean LCC, has begun a weekly (Saturday) service between Seoul Incheon (ICN) and Jiamisu (JMU) in China. The 1,072-kilometre route, which was launched on 16 August, will be operated until 25 October with the airline’s 737-800s. This is the airline’s third route to China as it already operates flights to Qingdao and Yantai from Seoul Incheon.
Lucky Air began thrice-weekly flights between Kunming and Koh Samui in Thailand on 12 August. Those attending the launch celebrations included the leader of Thailand’s Tourist Administration, the VP of Lucky Air Mr Zhang Guoping, Mrs Xie from the Civil Aviation Office of Yunnan Province, and Mr Guo Qi Long and Mrs Ma Jianhui from Kunming Airport’s Sales Department.
- Lucky Air has begun thrice-weekly flights on the 1,748-kilometre route between Kunming (KMG) and Koh Samui (USM) in Thailand. The airline’s A319s will operate the route, which was launched on 12 August, and is not served by any other carrier. This becomes the airline’s third international route as it already offers weekly flights between Kunming and Taichung in Taiwan, and between Guiyang and Singapore. Lucky Air now operates almost 50 flights per day from Kunming Changshui International Airport, which last year handled 29.7 million passengers making it China’s seventh busiest airport. With passenger growth of 23.8% it was also the fastest-growing among China’s top 30 airports.
- SkyJet Airlines the self-styled ‘Boutique Leisure Airline’ based in the Philippines, has begun five times weekly flights between Manila (MNL) and Kalibo (KLO). The 346-kilometre route is already served by AirAsia Zest (41 weekly flights), Tigerair Philippines (22), Philippine Airlines (22), PAL Express (21) and Cebu Pacific Air (20). SkyJet Airlines’ service began on 15 August and will be flown by the airline’s BAe 146-100.
- Southwest Airlines, which in the previous week expanded in Washington and headed to Mexico, continued to replace AirTran Airways operations on 16 August with two more airport pairs, both of which are operated weekly (Saturdays) using the LCC’s 143-seat 737-700s. Southwest inaugurated operations on the 1,167-kilometre route from Atlanta, GA (ATL) to Nassau (NAS) in the Bahamas, a sector served by Delta Air Lines (29 times weekly). In fact, Nassau is already served daily by the low-cost airline from Baltimore/Washington. In addition, the LCC added its third route to Cancun (CUN) with flights from Milwaukee, WI (MKE), an airport pair not flown by any other airline. Southwest is currently operating to the Mexican city with nine weekly services from Baltimore/Washington and eight weekly operations from Atlanta as of 10 August.
SpiceJet launched international flights from Bagdogra to Kathmandu in Nepal on 13 August. Celebrations included a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony and a large cake. The short 315-kilometre service will be operated thrice-weekly by SpiceJet’s 737-800s and is the airline’s second route to Nepal, as it already operates Delhi-Kathmandu flights.
- SpiceJet, India’s second biggest LCC, which is profiled in this week’s airline analysis, on 13 August began thrice-weekly flights (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) between Bagdogra (IXB) and Kathmandu (KTM) in Nepal. The short 315-kilometre route will be flown by the airline’s 737-800s and will face no direct competition. The flight originates in Kolkata enabling one-stop, same aircraft flights between Kolkata and Kathmandu. SpiceJet’s only other non-stop flight to the Nepalese capital is an 11 times weekly service from Delhi. It is SpiceJet’s first international service from Bagdogra. Mr. Kaneswaran Avili, CCO, SpiceJet said, “We are extremely pleased with the response received for our Kathmandu-Bagdogra-Kolkata connection. This direct service will provide our customers flying from either regions much more convenience in terms of connectivity and reach.”
- Sun Country Airlines increased its seasonal offering at St. Pete-Clearwater, FL (PIE) with a new non-stop link to Gulfport, MS (GPT) on 12 August. The 679-kilometre airport pair will be served five times weekly until 30 September, utilising the airline’s 129-seat 737-700s. There is no competition on Sun Country’s new route.
- Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has started the 3,112-kilometre link from its Kiev Boryspil (KBP) base to Tashkent (TAS) in Uzbekistan — its first route to the country — on 14 August. Operated twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) by the airline’s 101-seat E190s, UIA will face direct competition from the incumbent Uzbekistan Airways (twice-weekly).