New airline routes launched (6 June 2017 – 12 June 2017)


Lucky Air’s Kunming to Moscow Domodedovo 

Lucky Air launches Kunming to Moscow route.

The flight and cabin crew of the first Lucky Air flight from Kunming to Moscow Domodedovo were greeted at the Russian airport with flowers. The airline is operating the route with an A330-300 borrowed from Hainan Airlines which, like Lucky Air, is part of HNA. The twice-weekly service faces no competition.

  • Lucky Air on 12 June launched twice-weekly flights between Kunming (KMG) and Moscow Domodedovo (DME). The 6,169-kilometre route will be flown on Mondays and Fridays and faces no competition. Part of HNA, Lucky Air will use an A330-300 borrowed from Hainan Airlines on the route. Yongzheng Ding, President of Lucky Air, said: “As the first low-cost airline in Yunnan, Lucky Air commits itself to developing overseas markets by using the gateway advantages of Yunnan to build an extensive and comprehensive airline network, which contributes to the development of Yunnan and neighbouring areas. The achievement of non-stop flight to Moscow not only gives convenience to passengers travelling between Yunnan and Moscow, but also provides people transiting in Kunming with more choices.” According to OAG data, Lucky Air currently operates 15 international routes, 10 of which are from Kunming. Apart from this new route to Russia, there are also international links to destinations in Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. See how Moscow Domodedovo Airport’s water arch salute compares with others from around the world this week.

easyJet’s London Gatwick to Varna

easyJet has undertaken a significant expansion of its routes from Lille, with five being added this week, two in France and Italy, and one in Portugal. All will be flown three or four times weekly or more.

Faro Airport welcomed on 9 June the launch of two new routes to France – Nice and Lille – operated by easyJet, both with three weekly flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Passengers were given gifts upon arrival in Portugal.

easyJet started operations to Varna from London Gatwick on 6 June. The three times weekly flight marks the opening of easyJet’s network point #138 and will be joined on 28 June by a second easyJet route to the Bulgarian seaside from Berlin Schönefeld with a twice-weekly service on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The LCC expects to carry around 18,000 passengers in the first summer of operation on the city pair. Cutting the route launch cake were: Lynne Clark, Captain of the first easyJet flight; Stoyan Pasev, Governor of Varna; Matteo Taddei, European PR Manager of easyJet; Ulrich Heppe, CEO of Fraport Twin Star Airport Management AD (Fraport Bulgaria); and Ivan Portnih, Mayor of Varna.

  • easyJet has launched eight new international routes and two domestic services from seven airports in France, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland and the UK over the last week. The average sector length of the new city pairs is 1,137 kilometres, with the shortest airport pair being the 435-kilometre hop from Zurich (ZRH) to Nice (NCE), while the longest is the 2,272-kilometre operation from London Gatwick (LGW) to Varna (VAR). The average weekly frequency of the 10 new routes is 3.1, a reasonably high start-up frequency for a LCC in recent times, and all will be flown at no more than four times weekly frequency. Only four of the 10 routes will see any direct competition for the airline. See how Faro Airport’s and Varna Airport’s water arch salutes compare with others from around the world this week.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
06-Jun London Gatwick (LGW) Varna (VAR) A32S (3)  
09-Jun Faro (FAO) Lille (LIL) A320 (3)  
Nice (NCE)  
Lille (LIL) Nantes (NTE) A319 (4) HOP! (16)
Toulouse (TLS) Malaga (AGP) A319 (3) Volotea (2), Vueling (2), TUI Airlines Belgium (1)
10-Jun Lille (LIL) Biarritz (BIQ)  
Venice Marco Polo (VCE) Lille (LIL)  
Toulouse (TLS) Volotea (5)
Zurich (ZRH) Nice (NCE) A320 (3) SWISS (28)
11-Jun Naples (NAP) Lille (LIL)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 13 June 2017. WF = Weekly frequencies.

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


Air Canada Taipei

A ribbon cutting was held on 8 June to celebrate the start of Air Canada’s daily service between Vancouver and Taipei Taoyuan. The Star Alliance member will operate the 9,588-kilometre route daily on its 787-9s.

  • Air Canada launched its latest long-haul service from Vancouver (YVR) on 8 June, a week after it started a link from the Canadian city to Frankfurt. The Star Alliance member will now offer a daily service between Vancouver and Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). “Air Canada continues to build their preferred transpacific hub at Vancouver and we are pleased they decided to launch this Taipei route as a daily, year-round service on the exceptional 787-9,” said Craig Richmond, President and CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority. “This new Air Canada route will provide passengers with added access to both business and tourism opportunities in Taipei, as well as convenient connections to multiple destinations throughout Asia.” Air Canada becomes the first North American-based carrier to serve this 9,588-kilometre route, with China Airlines and EVA Airways already connecting the two cities. 

Air China launches Beijing to Zurich route.

Cutting the ribbon at Zurich Airport on 7 June to celebrate the launch of Air China’s new service to Beijing are: Jianqi Hu, Director, China National Aviation Holding; Wenbing Geng, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Switzerland; Xulun Hou, VP, China National Aviation Holding; Fan Wang, GM Geneva, Air China; and Stefan Conrad, COO, Zürich Flughafen AG. The new four times weekly service will complement the daily service already provided by fellow Star Alliance member SWISS.

  • Air China has grown its presence in Europe with the addition of a new route between Beijing (PEK) and Zurich (ZRH). Launched on 7 June the four times weekly service will be flown using the Star Alliance member’s A330-200s. The 7,969-kilometre sector is already served daily by fellow Star Alliance member SWISS. According to our analysis of OAG data Zurich becomes Air China’s 15th destination in Europe and second in Switzerland as it already offers three times weekly flights to Geneva. With this new service Air China’s share of the China-Europe market has increased to almost 23% in terms of weekly seat capacity, well ahead of its nearest rivals, China Eastern Airlines and Lufthansa, who both have just under 10%. See how Zurich Airport’s water arch salute compares with others from around the world this week.

Undertaking the ribbon-cutting for the start of Ernest’s twice-weekly Tirana to Milan Bergamo operation were: Gabriella Passarello, Marketing Department, SACBO; Giacomo Cattaneo, Commercial Aviation Director, SACBO; Valeria Beccari, Press Office, Ernest; Alferdo Sostero, Accountable Manager, Ernest; and Chady El Tannir, Business Development Director, Ernest.

  • Ernest has added two further Italian airports to its A319-operated portfolio of routes from Tirana (TIA). Joining the recently launched services to Milan Malpensa, Pisa and Venice Marco Polo this week are airport pairs to Milan Bergamo (BGY) on 6 June and Bologna (BLQ) on 7 June. Both routes will be flown twice-weekly, with departures from Bergamo on Tuesdays and Saturdays and from Bologna on Wednesdays and Sundays. Only the 768-kilometre sector to Bologna will see the fledgling LCC face any direct competition, with Blue Panorama Airlines offering a six times weekly operation. See how Milan Bergamo Airport’s water arch salute compares with others from around the world this week.

  • Germania has commenced two new routes from Germany this week. Started on 9 June, the airline began weekly (Fridays) operations from Düsseldorf (DUS) to Gazipasa-Alanya (GZP) in Turkey. The 2,617-kilometre sector will be flown by Germania’s A319 fleet. By contrast, its twice-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays) operation from Nuremberg (NUE) to Athens (ATH), which began on 12 June, will be flown on its 737-700s. Neither route faces any direct competition.

Philippine Airlines resumes Manila to Kuala Lumpur flights.

It was a six-scissor celebration at Manila Airport on 8 June as Philippine Airlines (PAL) resumed flights to Kuala Lumpur after a three-year hiatus. Cutting the celebratory ribbon were: Marianne Raymundo, Chief Finance Officer, PAL; Fazdila Mansor, Tourism Attache of the Malaysian Embassy; Dr. Lucio C. Tan, Chairman, PAL; Irene Montalbo, NAIA Terminal 2 Manager; Stewart Lim, Executive VP & Treasurer, PAL; Ismael Augusto Gozon, Senior VP for Airline Operations, PAL; and Emilio Yu, special assistant to the PAL Chairman.

  • Philippine Airlines has resumed flights between Manila (MNL) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) after a gap of over three years. On 8 June the airline restarted daily flights on the 2,488-kilometre route using its 199-seat A321s. The sector is already fairly well served by Malaysia Airlines (three daily flights), Philippines AirAsia (two daily flights), Cebu Pacific Air (12 weekly flights) and AirAsia (daily flights). The Filipino flag carrier and Malaysia Airlines will code-share on the route. Jaime Bautista, President and COO of Philippine Airlines, said: “The resumption of PAL flights between Manila and Kuala Lumpur will help foster economic and cultural ties between the Philippines and Malaysia. Most importantly, it addresses the clamour for a direct service between the two capital cities. Through PAL flights and code-share partners, we can carry passenger traffic from Kuala Lumpur to China, Japan, South Pacific and North America and thus enhance our ASEAN network.”

SVP Qatar Airways Europe, Jonathan Harding (centre), travelled on board the inaugural flight from Doha to Dublin on 12 June and was greeted by CEO of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons and Dublin Airport MD Vincent Harrison. To celebrate this special occasion, the airline flew one of its A350s on the 5,666-kilometre sector, the first time the aircraft type has landed on Irish soil.

  • Qatar Airways was welcomed to Dublin (DUB) on 12 June, with daily flights from its Doha hub (DOH). Although the carrier’s A350 was used on the inaugural flight, going forward it will operate its service with a 254-seat 787. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “The launch of our new service to Dublin is an important milestone for Qatar Airways. The new service will connect the Irish people with more destinations globally and provide them the opportunity to experience our five-star service. We look forward to welcoming our new passengers on board and to connecting them to Doha and beyond.” Kevin Toland, CEO of daa, said: “We want to express our warmest welcome to Qatar Airways and its new route between Dublin and Doha. This is a fantastic addition to our selection of destinations, and it is a great opportunity to boost Ireland’s tourism.” Following the Dublin launch, Qatar Airways will be adding flights to multiple destinations in 2017 and 2018, including: Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Accra, Ghana; Canberra, Australia; Chiang Mai, Thailand; Chittagong, Bangladesh; Mombasa, Kenya; and Utapao, Thailand. No other airline operates this city pair.

  • SalamAir has launched a twice-weekly (Thursdays and Saturdays) service from Salalah (SLL) to Taif (TIF) on 8 June. Flights depart Oman’s second busiest airport at 01:00 and arrive in Saudi Arabia at 03:00. The returning operations leave Taif at 03:50 and land back in Salalah at 08:05. Operated by the airline’s A320 fleet (of which it has three, according to ch-aviation), the 1,506-kilometre sector will face no direct competition.

TAP Portugal Stuttgart

Cutting the cake in Stuttgart, baked to celebrate the start of TAP Portugal’s new connection from Lisbon, are: Sonja Schmaderer, Manager Marketing Tourism and Traffic Development, Stuttgart Airport; Klemens Müller, Marketing and Sales Support Manager, TAP Portugal; Evelyn Delbrueck, District Sales Manager Frankfurt, TAP Portugal; Marta Alves, Area Sales Manager Germany, Austria and Switzerland, TAP Portugal; and Johannes Schumm, Press Speaker, Stuttgart Airport. The 1,831-kilometre route will be served by TAP Portugal twice-daily.

A cake was also commissioned in Alicante to welcome the arrival of TAP Portugal. Among the cake cutters at the Spanish airport are: Laura Navarro Villanueva, Head of the Cabinet, Alicante Airport; Tomás Melgar, Director, Alicante Airport; and Carlos Estaran Weidauer, District Sales Manager, TAP Portugal. The Star Alliance member will operate the 747-kilometre route between Lisbon and Alicante daily.

Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
10-Jun Lisbon (LIS) Alicante (ALC) ATR7 (7)  
Gran Canaria (LPA) E190 (7) BinterCanarias (3)
Stuttgart (STR) E190 (14) Eurowings (6)
Toronto Pearson (YYZ) A332 (5) Air Canada Rouge (4), Air Transat (2)
11-June Porto (OPO) Almeria (LEI) E190 (1)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 13 June 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.

Thai AirAsia launches Bangkok to Da Nang route.

Posing for a commemorative photo at the start of Thai AirAsia’s inaugural service from Da Nang to Bangkok Don Mueang on 9 June are: Wirote Phaimuanghung, Assistant Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Ho Chi Minh City Office; Nguyễn Bá Quân, Vice Director of Da Nang International Airport; Dr. Walailak Noypayak, Executive Director for ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Region, TAT; Santisuk Klongchaiya, Commercial Director, Thai AirAsia; Nguyễn Xuân Bình, Vice Director, Danang Tourism Department; Witchunee Kuntapeng, Director of Ground Operations of Thai AirAsia.

  • Thai AirAsia has added Da Nang (DAD) in Vietnam to its network from its main base at Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK). On 9 June the LCC began daily flights on the 847-kilometre route using its A320s. No other carrier connects these two airports. However, Bangkok Airways offers daily flights between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Da Nang using its A320s. Mr. Santisuk Klongchaiya, Director of Commercial for Thai AirAsia, said: “We believe the route will be to the liking of both Vietnamese and Thai travellers as it offers great savings in both time and cost and we will be promoting it heavily to both Thai and international travellers so that they may visit Vietnam for tourism and investment. We are proud to be able to play a role in supporting the economy and tourism of both countries”. Thai AirAsia now serves 49 destinations non-stop from Don Mueang. It already serves the Vietnamese cities of Ho Chi Minh City with three daily flights and Hanoi with two daily flights. It is worth noting that Da Nang is also served by AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur.

Johan Eidhagen, Chief Marketing Officer, Wizz Air; Mihály Varga, Hungary’s Minister of National Economy; and Jost Lammers, CEO, Budapest Airport mark the start of Budapest’s first link to Kazakhstan by posing with the route launch cake in the Hungarian capital. Launched on 8 June, the 3,730-kilometre route will be flown on the ULCC’s fleet of A320s.

  • Wizz Air has brought the nation of Kazakhstan to its network, starting a twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) service between Budapest (BUD) and Astana (TSE) on 8 June. The 3,730-kilometre route will be flown by the ULCC on its fleet of A320s. “We are happy and proud to welcome yet another new Wizz Air destination from Budapest Airport. Astana will be the 42nd country and 111th airport on our list of destinations this summer,” explains Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport. He added: “This new flight between the capitals of Hungary and Kazakhstan will contribute to the further development of trade and investment between the countries, plus create opportunities for the leisure traveller to discover new and exciting tourism attractions in both countries.” The city pairing will face no direct competition.

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