New airline routes launched (26 January 2016 – 1 February 2016)
Air China’s Shenzhen to Los Angeles
- 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
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.|