Norwegian’s London Gatwick to Singapore
Norwegian launched its first flight from the UK to Asia, and the longest route flown by an LCC in the world, from London Gatwick to Singapore on 28 September. A special Singaporean-themed celebration, including a cake baked by anna.aero, was arranged to mark the carrier’s inaugural flight on 28 September. Seen posing on the apron at Gatwick are: Lennart Ceder, CEO Norwegian UK; Tan Yen Nee, Regional Director, Europe at Singapore Tourism Board; and Stewart Wingate, CEO of Gatwick Airport. The carrier will operate the world’s longest LCC route four times weekly.
- Norwegian continued its global expansion on 28 September by launching its first route from London Gatwick (LGW) to Asia, with a new service to Singapore (SIN). The new 12-hour, 45-minute flight is now the world’s longest route operated by a low-cost airline, covering 10,885 kilometres using the carrier’s 787-9 fleet on a four times weekly basis. While this sector faces no direct competition, Singapore Airlines (four times daily) and British Airways (twice-daily) both operate the city pair from London Heathrow. The Singapore route will be operated by the UK subsidiary Norwegian UK (NUK) ahead of starting flights to Buenos Aires from 14 February. Gatwick-headquartered NUK has also been granted a foreign air carrier permit by the US Department of Transportation which will allow it to operate flights between the UK, Europe and the US. For a full report and more pictures from launch events at both ends of the route can be found here.
Air Arabia Maroc’s Agadir to Cologne Bonn
Air Arabia Maroc commenced operations between Agadir and Cologne Bonn on 2 October, with the German airport celebrating the launch with this fantastic cake. Seen welcoming Air Arabia Maroc’s inaugural flight from Agadir were: Fatima Meziane, Regional Sales Manager Benelux, Germany & UK, Air Arabia Maroc (second-left); Peter Molnar, Sales Executive Germany, Air Arabia Maroc (centre); and Chi Mee Yuen, Manager Business Development and Aviation Marketing, Cologne Bonn Airport (right).
- Air Arabia Maroc opened its latest base at Agadir (AGA) on 1 October stationing one A320 at the Moroccan Airport. With the placement of the aircraft, it has allowed the airline to initially open four routes this week – Cologne Bonn (CGN), Copenhagen (CPH), Manchester (MAN) and Munich (MUC) – while Dublin, Stockholm Arlanda and Toulouse being inaugurated in the coming days. Commenting on the new route to Cologne Bonn, Michael Garvens, Chairman of the Management Board stated: “This is the sixth year we have worked with Air Arabia Maroc here at Cologne Bonn. We are very pleased that our airline partner has expanded its route network and is now offering our passengers an additional service to an exciting Moroccan city.” The first four routes to be launched by the airline from Agadir will all be flown twice-weekly on the airline’s A320s. The average weekly frequency of the route quartet that started this week is 2,819 kilometres.
||Thomson Airways (2)
||Cologne Bonn (CGN)
||Condor (1), SunExpress (1)
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 3 October 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
The inaugural flight ceremony of Atlasglobal’s new service between Istanbul Atatürk and Moscow Sheremetyevo was attended by Atlasglobal’s Sales Director Recep Emanet; Ground Operations Director Yuksel Atak; CIS Countries Sales Deputy Director Ahmet Can Akbuga; Russian Sales Manager Nejdet Tasci; and Deputy General Director for Passenger Service and Aircraft Handling of Moscow Sheremetyevo Dmitry Kaigorodov.
- Atlasglobal became the first Turkish airline performing flights from Istanbul Atatürk (IST) to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO), joining Aeroflot which flies the airport pair three times daily. Passengers of Atlasglobal will use Terminal E at Sheremetyevo. The airline has daily flights arriving in Moscow at 12:30 and departing the Russian capital at 16:00. It will use a mixture of its A319, A320 and A321 fleets to operate the route, which began on 25 September.
Celebrations to herald the start of Azimuth Airline’s new route from Rostov-on-Don to Moscow Vnukovo (via Omsk) were held on 21 September, including this fine cake. On confectionery-cutting duty were: Moscow Vnukovo Deputy General Director for Commerce Anton, Kuznetsov; Moscow Vnukovo General Director, Vasiliy Aleksandrov; Azimuth Airline General Director, Pavel Yekzhanov; and Azimuth Airline Chair of the Board, Pavel Udod.
- Azimuth Airline began scheduled operations on 21 September, linking its base in Rostov-on-Don (ROV) to Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) via Omsk (OMS). Flown by the airline’s 98-seat Sukhoi Superjet 100s, the daily service from Omsk will face no direct competition, however on the sector from Rostov-on-Don, the fledgling carrier will encounter opposition from UTair (20 times weekly), Aeroflot and Pobeda (both double-daily). Over the next six weeks the airline will launch a further six more Russian domestic services.
Seen cutting the ribbon for the inaugural China Southern Airlines service from Guangzhou to Moscow Sheremetyevo at the Russian airport are: Lv Hao, China Southern Airlines Captain; Zhu Liang, China Southern Airlines Representative; Alexander Nikonov, Head of Foreign Airlines Division, Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport; Jing Rong, Senior Stewardess, China Southern Airlines; Natalia Dzyuba, Manager of Foreign Airlines Division, Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport; Roman Genis, Head of PR, Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport; and Vladimir Khizhnyak, Director for Aviation Marketing and Commerce, Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport. The airport also heralded the flight with a classic route launch cake.
Colombo Airport commissioned this simple but elegant cake to toast the start of China Southern Airlines’ service from Guangzhou on 26 September. The SkyTeam member will serve the Sri Lankan capital three times weekly.
- China Southern Airlines began three new westbound services on three consecutive days during the past week to destinations in Sri Lanka, Laos and Russia, with the former two being new country markets for the carrier. Three times weekly operations from Guangzhou (CAN) to Colombo (CMB) and from Guangzhou to Vientiane (VTE) in Laos commenced on 26 and 27 September respectively. The Guangzhou to Colombo service has been incorporated into the carrier’s existing service from Guangzhou to Male, with the flight now operating Guangzhou–Colombo–Male–Colombo–Guangzhou. China Southern then launched services from Shenzhen (SZX) to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) on 28 September, the carrier’s fourth non-stop route to the Russian capital airport after Guangzhou, Urumqi and Wuhan. The latest link between China and Russia will operate twice-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays), with flights performed by a mixture of the SkyTeam member’s A330-200s and -300s. Guangzhou to Colombo will be operated by the airline’s A330-300s, while Vientiane is scheduled to be flown by a mixture of the airline’s 737s and A320s. There is existing competition on the Guangzhou to Colombo route from SriLankan Airlines which already provides a daily service. On the link between Guangzhou and Vientiane, China Southern will be competing with Lao Airlines which operates the route three times weekly when referring to OAG schedules. There is no competition on the Shenzhen–Moscow Sheremetyevo airport pair. The average sector length of the three new routes is 4,118 kilometres.
flyadeal is the new LCC of Saudi Arabia, with it launching its first route on 23 September, a twice-daily link between Jeddah and Riyadh. Seen cutting the cake at the launch party in Jeddah are: Ghassan bin Abdulrahman al-Shabal, Chairman of Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation; Saleh Bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Chairman of flyadeal and Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines; and Con Korfiatis, CEO of flyadeal. The domestic link is already served by four other airlines.
- flyadeal, the newest LCC based in Saudi Arabia, launched its first operations on 23 September, the same day as Saudi National Day, with a twice-daily connection between Jeddah (JED) and Riyadh (RUH). “flyadeal takes to the skies for the first time as the new low-fare airline for Saudi Arabia. Our seat sales have been phenomenal in the first few days and we’re very excited about the future. By offering attractive low fares and clear choices that help travellers customise their journey, we will provide options that meet the needs of budget-conscious travellers,” commented flyadeal CEO Con Korfiatis at the launch. According to the airline, which will use the flight code F3, when seats went on sale the carrier sold 10,000 tickets within the first 24 hours, with the first flight on the 850-kilometre route having a 100% load factor. The new airline is 100% owned by Saudi Arabian Airlines, and its current fleet is two A320s. Competition on the city pairing of Saudi Arabia’s two largest cities is already intense, with Saudi Arabian Airlines (152 weekly flights), flynas (95), Nesmas Airlines (42) and SaudiGulf Airlines (31) all serving the route. Currently the airline has no other routes on sale.
Queensland Minister for Tourism, Kate Jones; Hainan Airlines President, Sun Jianfeng; and Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk, cut the panda and koala-themed cake at launch of Hainan Airlines’ new route from Shenzhen to Brisbane.
- Hainan Airlines began services between Shenzhen (SZX) and Brisbane (BNE) on 20 September. The airline has introduced a twice-weekly frequency between the Chinese and Australian cities. Flights depart on Wednesdays and Sundays and are operated by the carrier’s A330-200s. Stephen Goodwin, Brisbane Airport’s Acting CEO commented by saying: “Developing a route to a new destination is a major commitment so we are delighted Hainan Airlines has recognised the huge potential of connecting Shenzhen and Brisbane and is backing that potential. The Chinese visitor market is currently the second largest for Brisbane Airport, averaging 14% growth per year in the last five years, equating to 310,000+ passengers from China each year. This launch is an important step in our drive to increase penetration into the Asian passenger market by leveraging our proximity to these emerging markets.” This is currently Hainan Airlines’ only route serving Brisbane according to OAG schedules and it will face no direct competition.
Among those cutting the ribbon in Tucuman on the day of LATAM Airlines’ inaugural service from Santiago were: Walter Andres Jorge, Regional Manager of LATAM Airlines (second-left); Luis Palma Cané, Internal Sales Manager, LATAM Airlines (fourth-left); and Sebastian Giobellina, President of Ente Tucumán Tourism (third-right), along with members of the Tucuman Bureau. LATAM Airlines will link Santiago to Tucuman three times weekly on its fleet of A320s.
- LATAM Airlines commenced operations between Santiago (SCL) and Tucuman (TUC) on 2 October. The carrier will offer three weekly flights on the 909-kilometre route between the Chilean and Argentinian cities, an airport pair that is currently not offered by any other airline directly. With this launch, LATAM now offers eight routes to Argentina from the Chilean capital, while from Tucuman, Santiago becomes the third route to be flown, with LATAM already linking the city to Lima and Buenos Aires Aeroparque when referring to OAG schedules.
A welcoming committee greets the return of Peach Aviation’s first service to Taipei Taoyuan from Sendai on 25 September. The airline added four new routes in two days from 24 to 25 September.
- Peach Aviation opened four new routes including two domestic Japanese services and two links from Japan to Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). Services from Sapporo Chitose (CTS) and Sendai (SDJ) to Taipei Taoyuan will operate three and four times weekly. The domestic links from Sapporo Chitose to Fukuoka (FUK) and from Sendai to Sapporo Chitose will operate daily and twice-daily respectively. Peach faces competition from multiple carriers on each of its four new routes.
||Japan Airlines (14), Skymark Airlines (7), All Nippon Airways (7)
||Taipei Taoyuan (TPE)
||EVA Airways (14), China Airlines (7), Scoot (3)
||Sapporo Chitose (CTS)
||Japan Airlines (35), Airdo Co (35), All Nippon Airways (21)
||Taipei Taoyuan (TPE)
||EVA Airways (4), Tigerair Taiwan (4)
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 03 October. WF = Weekly frequencies.
Saint John Airport became the third airport in New Brunswick to offer Porter Airlines flights on 21 September, the day on which the carrier commenced daily services from Toronto City via Ottawa. Seen welcoming the inaugural crew on the apron are: Jacques Fournier, Director of Airport Commercial Development, St. John Airport; Derrick Stanford, President and CEO, Saint John Airport; and Paul Moreira, SVP and COO of Porter Airlines.
- Porter Airlines has now become the only airline to serve the three major cities of New Brunswick. On 21 September the carrier began a daily service from Toronto City (YTZ) to Saint John (YSJ), a route that will operate via Ottawa (YOW). Along with Saint John, the carrier already serves Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick, with the latter having launched just nine days earlier than the Saint John services. “We’re pleased to welcome Porter Airlines to our family of providers,” said Saint John Airport President and CEO Derrick Stanford at the carrier’s launch. “The continued growth and enhancement of the services we offer will allow Saint John Airport to cater to the needs and preferences of our community, as well as the more than 250,000 passengers who travel through our airport every year.” While no direct competition is provided on the 1,090-kilometre link between Toronto City and Saint John, it should be noted that Air Canada already provides a three times daily link between Toronto Pearson and the New Brunswick airport. There is also no direct competition on the 764-kilometre link between Ottawa and Saint John.
The first Saudi Arabian Airlines commercial flight to Thiruvananthapuram was celebrated on 1 October with a ribbon cutting ceremony upon departure from Riyadh. The flight took off with a nearly full load of business and expatriate traffic.
First flight festivities continued in India, as the maiden flight SV756 arrived in Thiruvananthapuram at 12:15 and received a ceremonial traditional water salute. The Indian city will be connected to Jeddah later this week, as twice-weekly services are expected to commence on 5 October.
- Saudi Arabian Airlines expanded its network in India with an eighth destination, adding Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) as the airline’s latest destination and 88th overall. Three times weekly 298-seat A330-300 flights began on 1 October from Riyadh (RUH). In addition to Thiruvananthapuram, Saudia flies to the following cities in India: Kochi, Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore, Lucknow, Mumbai and Chennai. Ultimately the airline will operate five weekly flights to the Indian city, as a twice-weekly service from Jeddah begins on 5 October. DG of Saudia, Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser commented how the new route will enable further development of the well-established economic ties: “The airline continues to expand its network to include routes which provide economic growth opportunities benefitting both nations. With the addition of Thiruvananthapuram, Saudia now counts eight destinations in India among its network of international business cities.” Air India provides direct competition on the city pair, flying twice-weekly on the 3,687-kilometre sector.
Thai AirAsia launched two new routes to India, including four times weekly services between Bangkok Don Mueang and Tiruchirappalli, which began on 28 September.
- Thai AirAsia commenced two new routes from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) to India. Flights from the Thai airport to Tiruchirappalli (TRZ) commenced on 28 September, followed by the inaugural service to Jaipur (JAI) on 29 September. Both routes will be served four times weekly by Thai AirAsia A320s. There is no competition on either route. The airline now serves six destinations in India from Don Mueang, accounting for 32 weekly flights.
Budapest Airport celebrated the launch of Wizz Air’s first flight to Bordeaux on 22 September. Seen posing alongside the inaugural crew with the wine barrel-inspired cake, with the Bordeaux being a world-famous wine-growing region of France, are Balázs Bogáts, Head of Airline Development at Budapest Airport, and Gabor Vasarhelyi, Corporate Communications Manager, Wizz Air. The route will operate twice-weekly.
The route was also celebrated at the French airport, with it being a new destination on the Wizz Air network. Seen celebrating on the apron, again with the crew, are Gabor Vasarhelyi, Corporate Communications Manager, Wizz Air and Pascal Personne, President of the Board of Directors of Bordeaux Airport.
- Wizz Air has now introduced Bordeaux (BOD) to its network, with the ULCC on 22 September beginning a twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) service from Budapest (BUD), a route which will face no direct competition. A press release sent out by the French airport shows that 161 passengers flew on the inaugural flight, representing a load factor of 89%. Gabor Vasarhelyi, Corporate Communications Manager at Wizz Air, said of the new route: “We are thrilled to be starting operations from Bordeaux, the fifth Wizz Air airport in France. Our low fares now connect southwestern France with Budapest and we are sure French customers will enjoy visiting this dynamic capital, which has a wealth of sights and experiences to offer every visitor.” The 1,559-kilometre link between Budapest and Bordeaux will face no direct competition. With Wizz Air’s expansion from Budapest, this link to Bordeaux brings to 69 the number of destinations that the carrier now offers from the Hungarian capital. Bordeaux will see further Wizz Air operations from 25 March, the day in which the carrier will begin services from Warsaw Chopin.