New airline routes launched (7 February 2017 – 13 February 2017)

Ryanair’s Alicante and Malaga to Aberdeen

Ryanair launches Aberdeen flights

Aberdeen is back on Ryanair’s route map, as the ULCC launched services from Malaga and Alicante this week. Pictured are the crew of the inaugural Aberdeen-Malaga flight, along with Carol Benzie, MD of Aberdeen Airport and Lauren Hennessy, Marketing & Sales Executive for UK & Ireland, Ryanair.

  • Ryanair has started two services to Aberdeen (ABZ) this week, linking the Scottish city to its bases in Malaga (AGP) and Alicante (ALC), with the former beginning on 8 February and the latter on 9 February. Both will be flown twice-weekly by the airline’s 737-800 fleet, with Malaga operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Alicante will be served on Thursdays and Sundays. Neither route faces any direct competition. Aberdeen is a new destination for Ryanair (well, sort of). It used to serve the airport from Dublin and Liverpool, with its last service being from the Irish capital on 28 October 2011. Carol Benzie, MD of Aberdeen Airport, said: “We’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Ryanair to the airport since we announced these fantastic new routes last July and I’m delighted to welcome the airline back to the north-east after a six-year hiatus.” Services between Aberdeen and Faro will begin in May.

Southwest Airlines’ Oakland to Mexico

It’s a thumbs-up to Oakland Airport for producing this splendid Mexico flag-inspired cake at the launch of Southwest Airlines’ flights to Puerto Vallarta and San Jose del Cabo on 12 February. Among those celebrating with the cake are Bryant Francis, Director of Aviation, Port of Oakland, and Leah Koontz, VP of Finance & Controller, Southwest Airlines. The routes to Mexico, the airline’s first international links from Oakland, will be flown daily on its 737-700s.

  • Southwest Airlines commenced its first international flights from Oakland (OAK) on 12 February. The airline will link the Californian city to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) and San Jose del Cabo (SJD) in Mexico with daily 737-700-operated flights. Both 2,501- and 2,008-kilometre sectors will face no direct competition. “We’re thrilled that Southwest continues to have East and North Bay residents in mind, adding these two often requested routes from Oakland, home of their largest and most extensive Bay Area operation. Travellers across Southwest’s western network – in particular those in Reno-Tahoe, Boise, Spokane, and Portland – also now have faster and more reliable options by connecting here at Oakland,” said Bryant Francis, Director of Aviation for the Port of Oakland. “These new non-stop flights translate to greatly reduced journey times for sun and fun seekers resulting in more time at their destination.” With these latest launches, it brings to six the number of destinations in Mexico served directly from Oakland. Along with those launched by Southwest Airlines, Volaris connects to Guadalajara, Tijuana, Morelia and Leon, while Mexico City is also served seasonally during summer by the airline. 

The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)

  • Air Madagascar recommenced flights to Asia on 12 February, adding a weekly (Sundays) route between Antananarivo (TNR) and Guangzhou (CAN). Flown via St Denis de la Reunion, flights leave Antananarivo at 10:45, arriving into St Denis de la Reunion at 13:30. After a stopover of one hour and 30 minutes, flights then leave St Denis de la Reunion at 15:00, getting into Guangzhou at 05:30 the following morning. It should be noted that the airline does not have local traffic rights on St. Denis de la Reunion – Guangzhou sector, and the route will be operated by an Air France A340-300. A second weekly (Wednesdays) flight will be added to the schedule from 26 March according to OAG Schedules. Air Madagascar last served Guangzhou in January 2016 when it operated twice-weekly flights to the Chinese city via Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.

easyJet launches Luton to Marseille flights

easyJet’s latest route to Marseille in the south of France launched from London Luton on Monday 13 February, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

  • easyJet has commenced two new services from its third largest operation London Luton (LTN) – behind bigger bases at London Gatwick and Geneva, according to OAG schedule data for week commencing 9 February. Started on 11 February, the LCC commenced three times weekly services on the 1,376 kilometre link to Valencia (VLC), The Spanish airport is already served by the airline from London Gatwick. Two days later it began four times weekly operations to Marseille (MRS) an airport that the carrier already serves from seven other airports. Both routes are operated by easyJet’s 156-seat A319 fleet and neither faces any direct competition. This summer the carrier will serve some 57 destinations non-stop from Luton, where the airline still has its corporate headquarters. See how Marseille Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Himalaya Airlines launches Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur service

Before setting off on its inaugural flight to Kuala Lumpur on 10 February, the Hon. Minister of Culture, Tourism and Aviation, various government officials and members of Himalaya Airlines celebrated the new route on the apron at Kathmandu with this banner. Competition will be tough as four other carriers already operate the route.

  • Himalaya Airlines on 10 February expanded its network with the start of a five times weekly service between Kathmandu (KTM) in Nepal and Kuala Lumpur (KUL). The 3,270-kilometre route will be flown by the airline’s A320s, of which it now has two, with the second having been delivered recently. The route to Malaysia is already well served by Malindo Airways (10 weekly flights), Malaysia Airlines (daily flights), AirAsia X (four weekly flights) and Nepal Airlines (three weekly flights). Himalaya Airlines’ existing route network from Kathmandu comprises of Colombo and Doha with Yangon starting later this month. See how Kuala Lumpur Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

  • Sunwing Airlines commenced flights between Saint John (YSJ) in New Brunswick, Canada and Cayo Coco (CCC) on 13 February. The weekly (Mondays) flight will be flown on the airline’s 737-800s, with no other carrier currently operating the 2,781-kilometre sector. With this latest launch, it brings to eight the number of non-stop routes that the airline operates into Cayo Coco. The airline also serves the Cuban airport from Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Toronto Pearson and Windsor according to OAG schedules. Sunwing Airlines is a major player in the Canadian leisure market operating a fleet of almost 40 737-800s from over 30 Canadian airports to destinations in the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

Thai Lion Air links Bangkok Don Mueang to Trang

  • Thai Lion Air has added two new domestic routes to its network. On 10 February the LCC began twice-daily flights on the 719-kilometre route between Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) and Trang (TST). The route is already served by both Nok Air and Thai AirAsia, both operating the route with three times weekly flights. On the same day the carrier also began daily service on the 1,070-kilometre sector between Chiang Mai (CNX) and Surat Thani (URT), a route already served daily by Thai AirAsia. Both route will be flown by the airline’s 737-800s. According to OAG schedule data Thai Lion Air now has 17.9% of the Thai domestic market in terms of seat capacity, behind Thai AirAsia (27.1%) and Nok Air (20.6%), but ahead of Bangkok Airways (13.5%), THAI Smile (9.9%) and Thai Airways (9.2%).


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