New airline routes launched (26 August – 1 September 2014)
Air China’s Chengdu to Hongyuan
- Air China has become the first airline to operate scheduled services to the new airport at Hongyuan (AHJ). The new airport is located over 3,500-metres above sea level in China’s western plateau area. On 28 August the first A319 flight arrived from Chengdu (CTU) with 99 passengers on board. Construction of the new airport began in May 2011 and the terminal building is currently designed to handle around 350,000 passengers per annum.
bmi regional’s Kalmar to Berlin Tegel and Gothenburg
- bmi regional, the former subsidiary of bmi, expanded its European network with two new routes from Kalmar (KLR) in Sweden on 1 September, both of which are operated using its 37-seat ERJ 135s. With the longest sector of the two being the 497-kilometre route to Berlin Tegel (TXL) served six times weekly, and the shortest being inaugurated to Gothenburg (GOT) at 266 kilometres with five weekly flights, the carrier will face no competition on either of the two new additions. Noteworthy is the fact that the carrier launched its third route to Gothenburg, as it already serves the Swedish destination from Birmingham and Stavanger with six weekly operations each. Commenting on the route launches from Kalmar, Ian Woodley, Board Director, bmi regional, said: “We are delighted to start these two new routes in partnership with Kalmar Airport. bmi already has extensive experience in Sweden with our existing routes from Gothenburg to Birmingham and Stavanger, Karlstad to Frankfurt, as well as our partnership with Flyglinjen. These new routes improve accessibility to and from Kalmar Airport significantly. From Berlin, there are connections to most parts of the world, and, of course, the flight to Gothenburg will significantly reduce the travel time to West Sweden.” bmi regional is analysed in more detail in this week’s airline analysis. See how Gothenburg 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)
- Air Astana has resumed non-stop service between Almaty (ALA) and Dubai (DXB) in the UAE. The 2,813-kilometre route will be served daily with the airline’s A320s. The first flight was on 1 September and faces no direct competition. The airline previously operated the route between 2002 and 2010. Air Astana already links Kazakhstan with the UAE thanks to operating four weekly flights between Astana and Abu Dhabi.
- Air Transat, the Canadian holiday travel airline, expanded its seasonal offering with the addition of a new route from Montreal (YUL) to Las Vegas, NV (LAS) on 28 August, a sector which is already served by Air Canada (13 times weekly) and WestJet (twice-weekly). The 3,603-kilometre airport pair to the most populous city in the state of Nevada will be operated twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) until 16 November, using the carrier’s 169-seat 737-800s.
- AirAsia has on 1 September resumed operation from its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) base to Da Nang (DAD) in Vietnam. The 1,613-kilometre route was previously served by the airline between 11 December 2011 and 21 July 2013. AirAsia already serves Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from Kuala Lumpur. No other carrier operates this airport pair.
- Azul Airlines, which reported 32% growth in passenger numbers in 2013, expanded its domestic network from Sao Paulo Viracopos (VCP), commencing operations on the 1,365-kilometre sector to Valenca (VAL) on 30 August. The link to the largest city in the Dendê Coast will be operated weekly (Saturdays), utilising the low-cost carrier’s 106-seat E190s. No other airline serves this airport pair.
- China Eastern Airlines has once again taken up service on the 538-kilometre route between Beihai (BHY) and Hong Kong (HKG). Twice-weekly flights (Mondays and Fridays) were resumed on 1 September using a 737. When the airline last operated the route (in March 2013) it used a smaller 50-seat CRJ. China Eastern already operates to Beihai from Kunming and Shanghai Pudong. This new route becomes China Eastern’s 19th route to Hong Kong, and the shortest in terms of sector length. In 2013 Beihai Fucheng Airport handled almost 850,000 passengers making it China’s 65th busiest airport.
- China Southern Airlines has introduced a new international destination from its Shenzhen (SZX) base. On 27 August the carrier began twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) flights on the 2,070-kilometre route to Seoul Incheon (ICN) using an A320. Competition is provided by Asiana Airlines (daily flights) and Korean Air (daily flights) and Shenzhen Airlines (eight weekly flights). China Southern now offers 131 non-stop flights per week to Seoul Incheon from 16 airports across China.
- Ethiopian Airlines, Africa’s third largest carrier that is analysed in more detail in this week’s airline analysis, strengthened its domestic network with the addition of four weekly operations on the 253-kilometre sector from Addis Ababa (ADD) to Bale Robe (GOB) on 1 September. Nevertheless, out of the four weekly services operated utilising its 76-seat Q400s, Ethiopian will fly twice-weekly flights via Arbaminch. There is no competition on the Star Alliance member’s new route to the city located in south-central Ethiopia.
- Etihad Regional has started two routes from its new Dresden (DRS) base on 1 September, with daily services commencing to both Amsterdam (AMS) and Zurich (ZRH). The Dresden route is the airline’s second German service to Amsterdam, adding to its existing Leipzig operation (launched on 2 September 2013), while it becomes the 10th route offered from the Swiss hub. Both routes will be flown by Etihad Regional’s 68-seat ATR 72-500s. While the 636-kilometre route to Amsterdam will face no competition, the 537-kilometre operation to Zurich will encounter resistance from the 12 times weekly existing InterSky service. To understand the Dresden market in more depth, anna.aero has analysed the airport this week. See how Dresden Airport’s FTWA compares to the others sent in this week from around the world.
- flyvista, a new start-up carrier based in Tbilisi (TBS), commenced operations to its second destination on 28 August, with the addition of thrice-weekly flights to Kiev Zhulyany (IEV). Operated by the airline’s single 737-300, the 1,461-kilometre sector is already flown by Air Caucasus’ four times weekly flights and YANAIR’s twice-weekly operations. flyvista is also flying to Tehran in Iran as of 4 August and will commence a new service to Almaty in Kazakhstan on 16 September. See how Kiev Zhulyany Airport’s FTWA compares to the others sent in this week from around the world.
- Garuda Indonesia has added two new domestic routes from Makassar (UPG). On 1 September the airline introduced daily flights on the 344-kilometre route to Baubau (BUW) and on the 249-kilometre route to Pomala (PUM) serving Kolaka. Both services will be operated daily by the airline’s ATR 72-600s and will face direct competition from Wings Abadi Airlines’ twice-daily flights.
- germanwings has started a new route from Hamburg (HAM), as opposed to inheriting a route from its parent Lufthansa, beginning an 11 times weekly domestic operation to Dresden (DRS) on 1 September. germanwings previously served the market with larger Airbus aircraft between November 2005 and October 2006. The 378-kilometre sector will face no direct competition and will be flown by the airline’s 83-seat CRJ 900s. The route becomes germanwings’ seventh domestic service from Hamburg, joining existing flights to Cologne Bonn, Düsseldorf, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Memmingen, Nuremberg and Stuttgart. To understand the Dresden market in more depth, anna.aero has analysed the airport this week. See how Dresden Airport’s FTWA compares to the others sent in this week from around the world.
- Iberia has restarted operations from its Madrid (MAD) hub to the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo (MVD), a route which it last operated in March 2013. Commencing on 31 August, the four times weekly operation will be flown by the IAG airline’s 254-seat A340s. The following day, the oneworld carrier started five times weekly flights to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic with its 289-seat A330-300s. Both routes will face competition from the incumbent Air Europa, with Montevideo being flown four times weekly, while Santo Domingo is operated daily. To understand the Uruguayan market in more depth, anna.aero has analysed the country this week.
- IndiGo has added two more non-stop routes to its Indian domestic network. On 1 September India’s biggest domestic airline began daily flights from Bengaluru (BLR) to Chandigarh (IXC), and from Chandigarh to Srinigar (SXR). The former 1,938-kilometre route will also be served from later this week by AirAsia India with daily flights, while SpiceJet already serves the latter 414-kilometre sector with six weekly flights.
- PEOPLExpress continued to expand its Newport News, VA (PHF) offering with the addition of two new sectors on 28 August. The carrier inaugurated twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) operations on the 1,500-kilometre sector to New Orleans, LA (MSY). Furthermore, it also launched thrice-weekly (Mondays, Fridays and Sundays) flights to St. Pete-Clearwater, FL (PIE). Both new airport pairs will face no competition and are operated utilising the airline’s 150-seat 737-400s. PEOPLExpress is also preparing to commence flights to its eighth destination from Newport News on 16 October – to Orlando. Commenting on the route launch to New Orleans, Jeff Erickson, CEO, PEOPLExpress, said: “The original PEOPLExpress served New Orleans in the 1980s and we’re delighted to return with the same great low fares and convenient non-stop service. From the very beginning, PEOPLExpress was designed to provide a fun, creative and innovative approach to air travel to dispel the myth that low air fares have to mean low service or an impersonal experience. PEOPLExpress is restoring the concepts of respect, value and excitement to the air travel experience.” See how New Orleans Airport’s FTWA compares to the others sent in this week from around the world.
- Scoot, the long-haul low-cost airline from Singapore Airlines, has moved its Bangkok flights to Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK). The 1,437-kilometre daily service from Singapore (SIN) shifted airports on 1 September and will be flown with the airline’s 777s. Competition comes from Thai AirAsia who also operates the same airport pair with six daily flights. In addition there are almost 130 weekly departures from Singapore to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi operated by the likes of Cathay Pacific Airways, Jetstar Asia, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Tiger Airways. Scoot’s last truly new route was when it started serving Perth last December.
- Shandong Airlines on 1 September added two more routes from Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA). Both the 595-kilometre route to Nanchang (KHN) and the 811-kilometre route to Xiamen (XMN) will be operated daily by the airline’s 737-800s. Both markets are already well served. On the Nanchang route competition will come from China Eastern Airlines (22 weekly flights) and Shanghai Airlines (eight weekly flights), while on the Xiamen route the incumbent carriers are Xiamen Airlines (63 weekly flights), Shanghai Airlines (39), Spring Airlines (35), China Eastern Airlines (21) and Juneyao Airlines (seven). In total Shandong Airlines now operates 94 weekly departures from Shanghai Hongqiao across six domestic routes.
- Thai AirAsia X, which launched on 17 June with flights to Seoul Incheon, has added its second and third routes from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK). On 1 September it began five times weekly flights on the 4,157-kilometre route to Osaka Kansai (KIX), as well as daily flights on the 4,646-kilometre route to Tokyo Narita (NRT). The Narita route will double in frequency to twice-daily from 26 March 2015 while Kansai flights will increase from five to seven per week. Both routes will face no direct competition and be operated by the airline’s A330-300s. Mr Nadda Buranasiri, CEO of Thai AirAsia X said, “Today is another important day for our airline with inaugural flights for two routes to Japan, namely; Bangkok (DMK) to Tokyo (NRT) and Bangkok (DMK) to Osaka (KIX). Despite low season, our flights have been well received and we are confident that the demand for low-fare travel between the two countries will continue to increase. We have already achieved an advance booking rate of 50 percent for the first quarter of 2015 and have decided to increase flight frequencies during the Songkran holiday.” From Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) both Japan Airlines and Thai Airways serve the Osaka Kansai market while both these carriers (plus All Nippon Airways and Delta Air Lines) also operate between BKK and Narita. All of these carriers (apart from Delta) also operate daily flights between BKK and Tokyo Haneda. See how Tokyo Narita airport’s fire truck water arch salute compares to others from around the world this week.
- Tunisair began flights to its second airport in the UK with the introduction of weekly (Mondays) flights from Tunis (TUN) to London Gatwick (LGW) on 1 September, a service moved from London’s primary gateway — Heathrow. The 1,791-kilometre airport pair will be operated until 25 October, utilising the carrier’s 162-seat A320s. No other airline serves this route. Tunisair will maintain its five weekly flights from its Tunis hub to London Heathrow.
- Urumqi Air, a new Chinese carrier (code is UQ) in which Hainan Airlines has a significant interest has operated its first ever commercial flights on Friday 29 August. According to local sources the first flight was the 521-kilometre route from Urumqi (URC) to Yining (YIN), followed later the same day by the start of services on the 1,081-kilometre sector to Kashi (KHG). Both routes will be flown by the first of the airline’s 737-800s (provided by Hainan Airlines) and are already well served. The Yining route is currently flown by China Southern Airlines (53 weekly flights), Tianjin Airlines (28) and Air China (four), while the Kashi route is served by a total of six carriers: China Southern Airlines (49 weekly flights), Hainan Airlines (18), Air China (seven), Beijing Capital Airlines (seven), Sichuan Airlines (seven), Shandong Airlines (two).
- Widerøe, the Norwegian regional airline who is expecting more than three million passengers in 2014, expanded its presence at Molde (MOL) with the addition of its fourth route from the Norwegian gateway, this time to Trondheim (TRD). The 201-kilometre domestic sector was inaugurated on 1 September with nine weekly flights, utilising the airline’s 50-seat Q300s. There is no competition on Widerøe’s new airport pair.
- Wizz Air, which opened its 17th base at the gateway to Latvia’s capital with three routes in June, continued to expand its presence at Riga (RIX) with the addition of a new route to Dortmund (DTM) on 31 August. The ULLC’s eighth route from the airport will be served twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays), utilising its 180-seat A320s. The 1,238-kilometre sector to the German destination will face no competition from other operators.