New airline routes launched (20 December 2016 – 2 January 2017)
Beijing Capital Airlines’ Hangzhou – Qingdao – Vancouver
- Beijing Capital Airlines has expanded its long-haul network with a new route to Canada. On 30 December the Chinese carrier began three times weekly flights from Hangzhou (HGH) to Vancouver (YVR) via Qingdao (TAO). The Qingdao-Vancouver sector is 8,637 kilometres long making it the airline’s second longest after the 9,151-kilometre route between Chengdu and Madrid. The airline’s only other long-haul route is the 8,591-kilometre route between Qingdao and Melbourne. One of Beijing Capital Airlines’ four A330-200s will be used to operate the new route. Qingdao becomes the eighth Chinese city that can be reached non-stop from Vancouver according to OAG data for early January. The other seven airports are Shanghai Pudong (18 weekly flights), Beijing (14), Guangzhou (seven), Nanjing (three), Xiamen (three), Zhengzhou (two) and Shenyang (one).
Jet2.com’s Glasgow to Geneva and Grenoble
- Jet2.com launched seven new routes from multiple UK bases during the past two weeks. The average city pair length of the new sectors was 1,386 kilometres, with the shortest being the Leeds Bradford (LBA) to Grenoble (GNB) service at 1,067 kilometres, and the longest being the 2,227-kilometre route between Manchester (MAN) and Sofia (SOF). Only three of the seven routes will see the LCC encounter head-to-head competition, with the fiercest in terms of competing weekly frequencies being on the Manchester-Sofia sector, where easyJet offers four weekly frequencies and Thomson Airways a weekly rotation. The average weekly frequency of Jet2.com’s seven new routes is 1.1, with six flown only on a weekly basis.
|20-Dec||Manchester (MAN)||Sofia (SOF)||B738 (1)||easyJet (4), Thomson Airways (1)|
|22-Dec||Glasgow (GLA)||Geneva (GVA)||B738 (2)||easyJet (2)|
|23-Dec||East Midlands (EMA)||Salzburg (SZG)||B733 (1)||Thomson Airways (1)|
|Glasgow (GLA)||Grenoble (GNB)||B738 (1)|
|Newcastle (NCL)||B73S (1)|
|30-Dec||Edinburgh (EDI)||Turin (TRN)||B733 (1)|
|Leeds Bradford (LBA)||Grenoble (GNB)||B733 (1)|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 3 January 2017.|
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
- Air Busan on 23 December added two further routes to its network. The low-cost subsidiary of Asiana Airlines began a daily service on the 620-kilometre route from Daegu (TAE) to Osaka Kansai (KIX) while also linking Daegu to Sapporo Chitose (CTS) with three times weekly flights. Both routes will be flown by the carrier’s A320s. Competition on the Osaka route is provided by t’way air, which also serves the market with daily flights. While Air Busan’s main hub is, not surprisingly, in Busan, it now operates five non-stop routes from Daegu; one domestic route to Jeju, one Chinese route to Sanya and now three routes to Japan. With a fleet of 18 aircraft (six A320s and 12 A321s) Air Busan now accounts for around 3.4% of international seat capacity from South Korea and 15% of domestic seat capacity. The carrier is one of five to have at least 10% of the South Korean domestic market joining Korean Air (34%), Asiana Airlines (23%), Jeju Air (17%) and t’way air (11%).
- Air Canada Rouge inaugurated two routes in time for the start of the Christmas period. On 21 December the Star Alliance carrier commenced a connection from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) to Port of Spain (POS), while on the following day it linked Montreal (YUL) to San Jose (SJO). The former route, a 4,076-kilometre sector, will be flown by the airline twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays) on its 282-seat 767-300s. The latter service, a 4,067-kilometre route that will also be flown twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays), will operate on the same aircraft type. Both routes are currently served by other carriers. Air Transat already links Montreal to San Jose with twice-weekly flights when referring to OAG schedules, while the Pearson-Port of Spain pairing is flown by Caribbean Airlines (12 weekly flights) and WestJet (five weekly).
- Air Manas has begun twice-weekly flights between Bishkek (FRU) and Moscow Zhukovsky (ZIA). The 2,929-kilometre route will be flown on Tuesdays and Fridays using the carrier’s 737-800s. The inaugural service to Russia on 20 December was reported to have a 97% load factor. Competition on the route comes from Ural Airlines and Yamal Airlines who also both operate twice-weekly flights between the two airports. Air Manas was formerly known as Pegasus Asia. The Turkish carrier is still a 49% shareholder in the airline which is based at Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The carrier already serves Moscow Domodedovo with daily flights according to OAG Schedules Analyser data. Air Manas’ other international routes are to Delhi (India), Kashi (China) and Urumqi (China), while it also flies domestically to Osh.
- Astra Airlines, the Greek regional carrier, launched its only international service on 23 December, commencing flights between Thessaloniki (SKG) and Bucharest (OTP). The 517-kilometre link will be served by the airline twice-weekly (Fridays and Sundays) on its 48-seat ATR 42-300s according to OAG schedules. The airport pair is already served by TAROM which offers a four times weekly service, with it operating on the same days as Astra Airlines along with a Monday and Wednesday rotation. Astra Airlines this winter is offering 94 weekly flights across 15 routes, with eight of those originating from Thessaloniki.
- China Eastern Airlines has added a new non-stop route between China and Canada with the launch on 20 December of a three times weekly (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) service between Nanjing (NKG) and Vancouver (YVR). The 9,125-kilometre service will be flown by the SkyTeam carrier’s A330-200s and faces no direct competition. China Eastern has served Vancouver since 2004 when it began services from Shanghai Pudong, a route that it now flies 11 times weekly. Craig Richmond, Vancouver Airport’s President & CEO, said: “We want to thank our long-standing partner, China Eastern, for choosing Vancouver to introduce this new connection from Nanjing, a renowned Chinese historical epicentre and a key economic hub. This is another exciting first for Vancouver, offering passengers the only non-stop access to Nanjing in all of Canada.” China Eastern is the biggest Chinese carrier in the China-Canada market with 19% of seat capacity, beaten only by Air Canada (39%). However, seven Chinese carriers account for 61% of the market, with China Southern Airlines (13%) and Air China (12%) ranking third and fourth in the market at present. Compared with last January flights between the two countries are up 33% while seat capacity is up 51%.
- Germania began its only service to Finland on 29 December, as it commenced a weekly (Thursdays) service from Düsseldorf (DUS) to Kittila (KTT). The 2,071-kilometre sector will increase to twice-weekly throughout January, with the addition of a Sunday rotation. The flights will be flown by a mix of the carrier’s A321 and 737-700 fleets and faces no direct competition.
- Hainan Airlines has become the fifth Chinese carrier to serve Auckland (AKL) in New Zealand with the launch on 31 December of a three times weekly A330-200 operated non-stop service from Shenzhen (SZX). The 9,197-kilometre route is not served by any other carrier. Hainan Airlines now serves 22 international country markets with non-stop flights from China, with the US (35 weekly flights) leading the way, followed by Thailand (26), Vietnam (18) and Taiwan (17). Auckland now has 41 weekly flights spread across five destinations in China flown by six different airlines; Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, and not forgetting Air New Zealand. In addition Hainan Airlines also launched two other new routes recently. On 26 December the carrier launched a five times weekly service on the 1,337-kilometre route between Guangzhou (CAN) and Nha Trang (CXR) in Vietnam, while on 30 December it began twice-weekly flights on the 896-kilometre route between Sanya (SYX) and Phnom Penh (KNH) in Cambodia. See how Auckland Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
- Lufthansa on 24 December commenced flights between Frankfurt (FRA) and Ivalo (IVL). The Star Alliance carrier will operate the 2,303-kilometre airport pair weekly (Saturdays) on its A319 fleet. The seasonal connection is currently planned to operate until 25 March, with no other airline linking the two destinations at present. Ivalo becomes Lufthansa’s second scheduled destination in Finland after Helsinki, with the Finnish capital being connected to both Frankfurt and Munich. The airline also operates to Kittila in Finland from Munich, however these flights are flown as charters.
- Nile Air commenced two new domestic routes from Cairo (CAI) over the New Year period, starting on 30 December with a connection to Luxor (LXR). The 510-kilometre link between the Egyptian capital and the African nation’s eighth largest city will be flown three times weekly (Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays). The second connection Nile Air commenced was inaugurated on 2 January, a 698-kilometre link with Aswan (ASW). Flown twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays), the service to Aswan, along with Luxor, will be operated on the airline’s fleet of A320s. Both routes are already served by national carrier EGYPTAIR which offers 52 weekly flights to Luxor and 51 weekly flights to Aswan. With these two launches, it brings to four the number of domestic routes that Nile Air operates from Cairo, with it also linking the capital to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada. Overall, Nile Air operates 75 weekly flights from Cairo this winter to 19 destinations across seven nations. See how Luxor Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
- Philippine Airlines has introduced its first international route from Clark (CRK) in the Philippines. On 1 January the national carrier began daily flights to and from Seoul Incheon (ICN) using its 199-seat A321s. The first flight from Seoul departed late on 1 January arriving in Clark early on 2 January, with the first departure from Clark later that day. Competition on the 2,543-kilometre route comes from Asiana Airlines and Jin Air which both operate the airport pairing with daily flights. Philippine Airlines President Jamie Bautista said: “We will operate more flights outside of Manila not just to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) but mainly to offer convenience to passengers who do not need to travel to Manila for their desired flights.” Philippine Airlines already operates domestic flights to Caticlan from Clark with additional domestic routes being added in the coming weeks. See how Clark Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
- Sky Airline launched flights between Santiago (SCL) and Puerto Natales (PNT) on 20 December. The 2,036-kilometre sector will be flown by the airline three times weekly (Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays) on its 150-seat A319s according to OAG schedules. The route is already served by LATAM Airlines which offers four weekly flights, with it having only launched services on the route on 6 December. This brings to 13 the number of domestic routes that Sky Airline offers from Santiago this winter, with it also serving five international routes, namely to Mendoza, Cordoba and Buenos Aires Ezeiza in Argentina, Montevideo in Uruguay, plus Lima in Peru. According to ch-aviation, Sky Airline currently has a fleet of 15 aircraft, made-up of 13 A319s and two A320s, with an average age of 12.4 years.
- t’way air has made Saipan (SPN) its latest new route to be served from Seoul Incheon (ICN). On 23 December the South Korean LCC began daily flights on the 3,124-kilometre route using its 737-800s. The route is already served by four other Korean carriers. Asiana Airlines and Jeju Air both offer double-daily flights while Eastar Jet and Jin Air fly daily services. t’way air’s service departs Seoul at 20:45 and arrives in Saipan at 02:05. The return flight leaves Saipan at 03:05 getting back to South Korea at 06:55. This brings to 18 the number of destinations served non-stop from Seoul by t’way air. Previously in 2016 the carrier had launched new routes from Seoul to Tokyo Narita (March), Qingdao (May), Wenzhou (May) and Da Nang (July). According to local media reports tourist arrivals to the Northern Mariana Islands (of which Saipan is the largest) jumped 25% in November. There was particularly strong growth from South Korea where visitor numbers were up 47%.
- Tianjin Airlines has become the fourth Chinese carrier to serve Auckland (AKL) in New Zealand with the launch of three times weekly flights from Tianjin (TSN) via Chongqing (CKG). The inaugural flight departed Tianjin on 21 December arriving in Chongqing later that evening. Early the following day the flight departed Chongqing arriving in Auckland at 04:30 on 23 December. The route will be flown using the carrier’s A330-200s and faces no competition. Tianjin Airlines becomes Auckland’s 29th international airline. Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s Acting General Manager – Aeronautical Commercial, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Tianjin Airlines to Auckland Airport and New Zealand, and excited that they’ve chosen Auckland for their first Australasian service. Regional China is a rapidly developing market for New Zealand tourism and the new flights we’re welcoming today will provide more choice for Chinese visitors to experience New Zealand, and for New Zealanders travelling to China. Tianjin Airlines is arriving in Auckland at an exciting time. A major upgrade of our international departure area is well underway, as is the expansion of Pier B of the international terminal, which will add two more gates that can each accommodate an A380 or two smaller aircraft. We are also progressing the concept design of the new domestic section of our combined domestic and international terminal.” The Chongqing to Auckland route is now Tianjin Airlines’s longest non-stop service beating the 8,536-kilometre route from Chongqing to London Gatwick.
- Turkish Airlines inaugurated its Havana (HAV) and Caracas (CCS) flights on 20 December, therefore increasing its destinations in the Americas to 17; and worldwide to 295 across 119 countries. With existing services to Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Panama, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Miami and Atlanta, the Star Alliance carrier has added three times weekly flights to its 16th and 17th destinations in the Americas from its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub. Although the inaugural flight was operated by a 777-300, the normal service will be flown by the airline’s A330-200 fleet. No other carrier operates on either city pair. Mehmet Büyükekşi, Member of the Board of Turkish Airlines said: “Our flag carrier assumes Havana and Caracas are essential points in its Latin America expansion and places itself at the forefront to shorten the distances between desiring travelers who will arrive with all kinds of expectations to the biggest Island in the Antilles. The opening of our Havana and Caracas gateways also means that we will now be able to deliver our award-winning services that will make the international travel easier and more convenient for both business and leisure travelers in this area.’’ See how Caracas Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
- Vanilla Air waited until 25 December to launch its first new route of 2016 from its main base at Tokyo Narita (NRT). On that day the LCC (which is fully-owned by All Nippon Airways) began a daily service to Cebu (CEB) in the Philippines. Competition on the 3,277-kilometre route comes from Philippine Airlines (with double daily flights) and Cebu Pacific Air (with four times weekly flights). Vanilla Air has recently added two more 180-seat A320s to its fleet giving it a total of 11 of the type. From Tokyo Narita the airline now serves seven destinations with at least daily flights; three in Japan, two in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and now Cebu. With this new route, Vanilla Air becomes the eighth carrier to connect Japan and the Philippines. It has just under 3% of seat capacity between the two countries, well behind Philippine Airlines (52%) and Cebu Pacific Air (16%).
- Wizz Air launched two routes from Sofia (SOF) on 23 December – Doncaster Sheffield (DSA) and Basel (BSL). Both 2,155- and 1,355-kilometre sectors will be flown by the airline twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) on its 180-seat A320s according to OAG Schedules, with neither facing direct competition. Commenting on the launch from Doncaster Sheffiled, Steve Gill, MD of the airport, said: “This new route demonstrates the strength of our relationship with Wizz Air.” This brings to 12 the number of routes that Wizz Air operates to Doncaster Sheffield, with Sofia becoming the carrier’s first link from Bulgaria. The airline already links Sofia to Birmingham, Bristol and London Luton in the UK. Overall this winter Wizz Air will offer 40 weekly flights from the UK airport. Sofia is the ninth route that Wizz Air serves from Basel, with the ULCC operating a total of 24 weekly flights from the Swiss airport in W16/17. The carrier already links Sofia to Geneva.