New airline routes launched (26 January 2016 – 1 February 2016)


Air China’s Shenzhen to Los Angeles

Air China’s new daily service between Shenzhen and Los Angeles (via Beijing) was celebrated with a special launch ceremony at Shenzhen Airport on 1 February. For China’s fifth busiest airport (handling almost 40 million passengers in 2015) it is the first direct service to the US.

Air China’s new daily service between Shenzhen and Los Angeles (via Beijing) was celebrated with a special launch ceremony at Shenzhen Airport on 1 February. For China’s fifth busiest airport (handling almost 40 million passengers in 2015) it is the first direct service to the US.

On 30 January Air China became only the fourth carrier to serve Ibaraki Airport, located less than 100 kilometres from Tokyo. The twice-weekly service from Hangzhou will be operated by the airline’s A319s.

  • Air China on 1 February began daily flights on the 11,988-kilometre route from Shenzhen (SZX) to Los Angeles (LAX) via Beijing. The service will be flown by the carrier's 777-300ERs and faces no direct competition. For Shenzhen, China's fifth busiest airport handling almost 40 million passengers last year, it is the first direct service to the US. Also, on 30 January the Air China began twice-weekly flights (Saturdays and Sundays) between Hangzhou (HGH) and Ibaraki (IBR) in Japan. The 1,968-kilometre route will be flown by the Star Alliance carrier’s A319s. No other carrier serves this route. Ibaraki Airport, located less than 100 kilometres from Tokyo, is currently served by local carrier Skymark Airlines, as well as Spring Airlines and China Southern Airlines. Air China thus becomes the airport’s fourth carrier, with a fifth, V Air, set to arrive in mid-March.

Jetstar Airways New Plymouth to Auckland

Performing the cake cutting duties in New Plymouth to herald the start of the second tranche of Jetstar Airways’ New Zealand domestic operations were: Grant Kerr, Head of New Zealand, Jetstar Airways; New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd; and David Hall, CEO Australia and New Zealand, Jetstar Airways.

  • Jetstar Airways added three more domestic routes in New Zealand on 1 February with services from New Plymouth (NPL) and Palmerston North (PMR) to Auckland (AKL), as well as Nelson (NSN) to Wellington (WLG). While the two Auckland services will be flown 27 times weekly, the Wellington operation will be thrice-daily. All services are operated by the airline’s Q300s and all will face competition, primarily from incumbent Air New Zealand. The Star Alliance carrier flies from Auckland to New Plymouth 39 times weekly and to Palmerston North 37 times weekly, while it operates the 132-kilometre sector between Nelson and Wellington 61 times weekly. In addition, Sounds Air flies on this latter route 24 times weekly. David Hall, Jetstar Airways CEO Australia and New Zealand, said passenger loads on the new regional services were above 90% in December and January. “This year we’ll have over 600,000 seats on sale across our New Zealand regional network providing more opportunities for more Kiwis to fly more often for less," Hall said. “Travellers are already enjoying the benefits of Jetstar’s entry into the regional network. The increased competition and capacity has provided more options and competitive fares since the announcement in October,” said Matt Clarke, Wellington Airport CCO. Palmerston North Airport CEO, David Lanham, added: “Today’s celebrations are all about welcoming Jetstar to the Fly Palmy family. The new capacity and Jetstar’s pricing model will stimulate more travel making Palmerston North and our regional catchment area more accessible for business and leisure, domestic and international travellers alike.” See how Auckland, Palmerston North and Wellington airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world.

The rest of this week's new routes (A - Z by airline)


  • China Airlines has become the second carrier in as many weeks to launch flights between Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Yangzhou (YTY). The SkyTeam member began twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) service on the 843-kilometre route on 1 February using its 737-800s. Air China began thrice-weekly flights on 25 January. This brings to 19 the number of Chinese destinations served by China Airlines from its Taipei base. However, of the 19 routes, just two, Beijing and Shanghai, are served with at least daily flights.

  • China Eastern Airlines has further grown its network to Thailand with the introduction on 28 January of a new thrice-weekly service on the 2,612-kilometre route between Wenzhou (WNZ) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK). No other carrier serves this route, which will be flown by the airline’s 737-800s. For the SkyTeam carrier this is its 34th route to Thailand, second from Wenzhou (it already serves Surat Thani) and 11th to Bangkok’s biggest airport. It also operates six routes each to Chiang Mai and Krabi, five to Phuket, four to Surat Thani and one each to Chiang Rai and Utapao.

Touchdown in Sydney! China Southern Airlines’ inaugural flight from Shenzhen arrived in Sydney on 28 January, having departed from China the previous day. A special cake was commissioned for the event and cut by the VIPs including Kerrie Mather, MD & CEO of Sydney Airport.

  • China Southern Airlines on 27 January launched its fifth route between China and Australia, its second to Sydney (SYD) and its first from Shenzhen (SZX). The new thrice-weekly service on the 7,424-kilometre route will be operated by the SkyTeam member’s 284-seat A330-300s. Flights depart China on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings arriving in Australia early the following morning. The return flights depart Sydney on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. China Southern already serves four Australian airports (including Sydney) from its Guangzhou hub. Kerrie Mather, MD & CEO, Sydney Airport, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this new Shenzhen-Sydney service in time for the peak Lunar New Year period. The new China Southern Airlines service will deliver tourism benefits to Sydney and boost trade by providing a direct route to the major financial, technology and manufacturing centre of Shenzhen. Sydney Airport is the gateway to Australia for Chinese passengers and has the most Chinese long-haul routes of any airport in the world, with six mainland Chinese airlines providing direct services to nine mainland Chinese cities. Chinese passengers are our fastest growing and largest inbound visitor market based on residency, so we’ve implemented initiatives to provide them with a positive visitor experience, including additional Mandarin speaking Red Ambassadors, a Chinese social media channel and Lunar New Year celebrations at the airport.”

Marking the start of a new feature on anna.aero ‒ Winner, Sinner or Binner ‒ we are looking at one new service in detail this week to try and understand whether this route is destined for success (Winnner), will need a bit more clever revenue management (Sinner) or is doomed to hit the new route rubbish heap (Binner) in a matter of months. Using fare data from the airline’s website, as well as robust airport and airline costs data, the new route performance analysis on easyJet’s new route from Geneva to Pisa (launched 1 February) clearly still needs some work according to our investigation, as it’s currently making a loss per seat at an estimated six euros at this stage, based on a 85% load factor stress test. Thanks to our data partners Aviation Analytics for this performance analysis. Click infographic to enlarge.

Continuing a new feature launched earlier this year on anna.aero ‒ Winner, Sinner or Binner ‒ we are looking at one new service in detail this week to try and understand whether this route is destined for success (Winnner), will need a bit more clever revenue management (Sinner) or is doomed to hit the new route rubbish heap (Binner) in a matter of months. Using fare data from the airline’s website, and taking an average of all observations gathered until the point of departure, the new route performance analysis on easyJet’s new route from Geneva to Pisa (launched 1 February) unfortunately makes it a Binner so far, as it is currently making an estimated loss per seat of six euros, based on a 85% load factor stress test. Thanks to our data partners Aviation Analytics for this performance analysis.

  • easyJet launched services between Geneva (GVA) and Pisa (PSA) on 1 February. The 441-kilometre sector will be operated thrice-weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) with the LCC scheduled to use its A319 fleet on the route according to OAG Schedules Analyser data. Currently no incumbent carriers compete on the city pair. This new route appears to replace the airline's service from Geneva to Bologna which ended on 8 January. A second connection to Switzerland is expected to commence on 28 March by easyJet from Pisa, with a planned launch of services to Basel.

Toasting the start of fastjet’s new service between Harare and Johannesburg is Ed Lanca, Director of Flight Operations at fastjet Zimbabwe, and Joe Mparuri, Chief Pilot at fastjet Zimbabwe, who is seen raising his glass to lead the celebrations. Also welcoming the new service is cabin crew member Sharon Ndowora. fastjet will serve the route daily with its A319 fleet.

  • fastjet Zimbabwe on 1 February commenced services between Harare (HRE) and Johannesburg (JNB). The African LCC will operate the 958-kilometre sector daily using its fleet of A319s to connect the two cities. Competition comes in the form of three airlines, namely South African Airways, Comair and Air Zimbabwe, which offer a combined 42 weekly flights between the Zimbabwean capital and South Africa’s largest city. Commenting on the launch, Richard Bodin, fastjet’s CCO, stated: “Today’s flight is an important milestone in fastjet's route expansion and is a result of working closely with the governments and civil aviation authorities of Zimbabwe and South Africa to bring affordable, reliable, safe, and on-time flights between the two countries.” Harare becomes the third destination for fastjet from Johannesburg, with the carrier also serving Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, with the latter recently being launched on 11 January. The carrier is also expected to launch its fourth route from Johannesburg on 3 February to Victoria Falls.

The arrival at a snowy Urumqi Airport on 29 January of Jiangxi Airlines’ inaugural flight from Nanchang via Xi’an was celebrated on the apron by a welcome banner. The airline, a joint venture involving Xiamen Airlines, currently has two 737-800s and expects to have five of the type operating by the end of the year.

  • Jiangxi Airlines is the latest new airline to begin domestic operations in China. On 29 January the carrier, a joint venture between Xiamen Airlines and Jiangxi Aviation Investment Company, began service from Nanchang (KHN) to Urumqi (URC) via Xi’an (XIY) using a 737-800. The new carrier, which operates with the IATA code of RY plans to add additional routes from Nanchang in the coming weeks and grow its fleet to five aircraft by the end of this year.

Ho Chi Minh City
  • Malindo Air has launched its first route to Vietnam. On 29 January the Malaysian LCC began operating daily flights on the 1,051-kilometre route from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) using its 737-800s. The route is already well served by AirAsia (five daily flights), Malaysia Airlines (thrice-daily flights) and Vietnam Airlines (11 weekly flights). With the addition of flights to Hong Kong in early February, Malindo Air will be serving 22 destination this winter from Malaysia’s busiest airport, an increase of five on last winter.

Rayani Air’s inaugural flight between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu arrived at its destination on 1 February. There was a press conference and passengers on the first flight were given a special greeting.

Meanwhile in Kuching, the new daily service from Kuala Lumpur was celebrated by a gift exchange between Ravi Alagendrran (the airline’s founder) and Benedict Jimbau, MD, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Chris Kon, Chairman, Malaysia Association of Tour and Travel Agents Sarawak. This was followed by another press conference. Both new routes will face massive competition from AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air.

  • Rayani Air, a new Malaysian carrier that launched services last December, has expanded its network this week with the addition of daily flights from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to both Kota Kinabalu (BKI) and Kuching (KCH). Both routes started on 1 February and will be served by the carrier’s 737-400s, with frequency on the Kuching route increasing to 11 flights per week shortly. The 1,629-kilometre route to Kota Kinabalu is already well served by AirAsia (12 daily flights), Malaysia Airlines (11 daily flights) and Malindo Air (three daily flights). The 969-kilometre route to Kuching is served by the same three carriers, again with multiple daily flights. Due to a technical problem the first flight to Kuching was around five hours late. See how Kota Kinabalu Airport's FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Welcome to Nagoya! Shenzhen Airlines became the latest Star Alliance carrier to serve Nagoya when it launched twice-weekly flights to the airport on 26 January from Nantong, just over 100 kilometres from Shanghai.

Welcome to Nagoya! Shenzhen Airlines became the latest Star Alliance carrier to serve Nagoya when it launched twice-weekly flights to the airport on 26 January from Nantong, just over 100 kilometres from Shanghai.

  • Shenzhen Airlines on 26 January introduced its seventh route between China and Japan, its second from Nantong (NTG) and its first to Nagoya (NGO). The 1,498-kilometre route will be operated twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) by the airline’s A320s and will not face any direct competition. The carrier’s other service to Japan from Nantong is to Osaka Kansai, while Taipei Taoyuan is also served with thrice-weekly flights. In 2014, Nantong Xingdong Airport handled just over 930,000 passengers making it China’s 68th busiest airport. Located on China’s eastern coast, just over 100 kilometres from Shanghai, Nantong is a major port with an urban population of over seven million people. For more details on the airport at the other end of this new route see this week’s airport analysis on Nagoya. See how Nagoya Airport's FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Wuhan has become Thai AirAsia’s third international route from Phuket after Hong Kong and Singapore. The daily service will face competition from China Southern Airlines.

Wuhan has become Thai AirAsia’s third international route from Phuket after Hong Kong and Singapore. The daily service will face competition from China Southern Airlines.

  • Thai AirAsia has grown its network from Phuket (HKT) with the introduction on 1 February of daily A320 flights to Wuhan (WUH) in China. The 3,013-kilometre route will face competition from China Southern Airlines who already serve the market with nine weekly flights. Flights to Wuhan arrive at the Chinese airport at 23:00, but rather than night-stopping the aircraft returns straight to Phuket, departing Wuhan at 23:45 and arriving back in Thailand at 03:15 the following morning. Another AirAsia Group airline, AirAsia, began flights to Wuhan from Kota Kinabalu on 22 January.

Passengers and crew on THAI Smile’s inaugural flight from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Siem Reap on 1 February were welcomed at the Cambodian airport by a banner. The 10 times weekly service faces competition from Bangkok Airways and Cambodia Angkor Air.

Passengers and crew on THAI Smile’s inaugural flight from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Siem Reap on 1 February were welcomed at the Cambodian airport by a banner. The 10 times weekly service faces competition from Bangkok Airways and Cambodia Angkor Air.

  • THAI Smile which now operates under a separate code (WE) from that of its parent company Thai Airways (TG) has launched flights to Cambodia. On 1 February, the airline began linking Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) with Siem Reap (REP) with 10 weekly flights. The relatively short 332-kilometre route will be served by the airline’s A320s and will face direct competition from Bangkok Airways (35 weekly flights) and Cambodia Angkor Air (daily flights). In addition Thai AirAsia connects Bangkok Don Mueang with Siem Reap with thrice-daily flights. THAI Smile’s network currently comprises 17 routes of which 13 are from Bangkok’s main airport and three are from the airport’s second airport, Don Mueang. This new route becomes only the fourth international destination for the carrier after Changsha (China), Macau and Yangon (Myanmar). See how Siem Reap Airport's FTWA compares to others from around the world.

On 28 January, Tigerair Taiwan began flying to Fukuoka with five weekly flights. The route is already served by four other carriers operating a total of five daily flights.

The following day Tigerair Taiwan began flying to Nagoya with daily flights. The route is already served by five other carriers operating a total of 38 weekly flights.

  • Tigerair Taiwan, which now operates a fleet of eight A320s according to ch-aviation, has added two more Japanese routes from its base at Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). It already served four airports in Japan; Okinawa, Osaka Kansai, Tokyo Haneda and Tokyo Narita. Both new routes face significant competition, with Fukuoka already served by four other carriers and Nagoya by five. This winter the LCC, which began operations in September 2014, will serve 10 destinations from Taipei and three from Kaohsiung.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
28 January Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) Fukuoka (FUK) A320 (5) China Airlines (14), Cathay Pacific Airways (7), EVA Air (7), V Air (7)
29 January Nagoya (NGO) A320 (7) China Airlines (13), Cathay Pacific Airways (7), Japan Airlines (7), Jetstar Japan (7), V Air (4)
Source: anna.aero’s New Route Database. OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 2 February 2016. WF = Weekly frequencies.

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