New routes launched during the last week
(Saturday 13 July – Friday 20 July)

Air Asia pushes further into China with Shenzhen routes

Image: Shenzen

AirAsia launched two new daily routes on 16 July, linking its bases in Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Bangkok (BKK) with Shenzhen (SZX) in mainland China. Until now, AirAsiaÕs presence in China has been limited to a daily flight from Bangkok to Xiamen (XMN) and services to Macau (MFM) from Kuala Lumpur (three per day) and Bangkok (three per day) plus daily flights from Kota Kinabalu (BKI).

Macau and Shenzhen are quite close together in the Pearl River Delta region, which also includes Hong Kong, Zuhai and Guangzhou. AirAsia does not currently fly to any of these airports.

Shenzhen with a population of some 13 million people has been China’s fastest growing city for many years. Its tourist attractions include the Windows Of The World theme park, which contains 118 miniature (and not so miniature) replicas of famous buildings from across the globe including the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Opera House and Taj Mahal. The Eiffel Tower, at 108m tall, is around one-third the height of the original.

Shenzhen airport caters primarily for domestic passengers and has grown from around 9 million passengers in 2002 to over 18 million in 2006. Tiger Airways was the first Asian LCC to operate from the airport when it started services to Singapore in April 2006.

La Rochelle gets another route to the UK

La Rochelle airport, the western French gateway to Ile de RŽ, has seen its traffic rise significantly in recent years, primarily thanks to UK holidaymakers and second home owners. In 2006 the airport handled 181,000 passengers of which 142,000 (78%) were on routes to the UK. In fact Ryanair’s service to London Stansted contributed just over 100,000 passengers, with Flybe’s seasonal services to Birmingham and Southampton, and easyJet’s Bristol service making up the rest.

Screenshot: downloadable spreadsheet
Click here to download file.

The historic growth of traffic from UK airports can be seen in the table below.

On 14 July, easyJet launched a new double-daily service from London Gatwick, which will operate until 9 September. Ryanair has also increased frequency on its Stansted service to double-daily (except Thursday), which has resulted in plenty of cheap fares in the coming weeks. See one of this week’s farewatch analyses for further details.

Ryanair turns its back on Malmö in route shake-up

Image: Turning Torso apartment block
Ryanair is turning its back on flying to the city whose skyline is dominated by the iconic 54-storey Turning Torso apartment block designed by Santiago Calatrava.

As part of a number of route additions and cancellations announced on 19 July, can reveal that Ryanair is withdrawing all flights from Malmö in south-west Sweden. All five existing routes to London Stansted, Dublin, Barcelona Girona, Madrid and Marseille will cease to operate by the beginning of November.

This will come as a major blow to Malmö Sturup airport (MMX) as the only other carrier operating international scheduled flights from the airport is Wizz Air. Ryanair’s routes represent somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000 annual passengers for the airport and account for an estimated 12% of total annual traffic.

Given the number of routes Ryanair has added in Denmark in recent times, in part due to the lowering of government airport departure taxes, it may be that Ryanair is planning to relocate these routes at Copenhagen airport, not far from Malmö and easily reachable via road or rail across the Øresund Bridge. Anyone who thinks this would be most un-Ryanair-like should recall that Ryanair recently opened a base at Madrid Barajas, Iberia’s main hub.

Image: Ryanair fares
Cheap Ryanair fares from Malmö – get them while you still can! These fares are less than €9. (Source:


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