New routes launched during the last week (Saturday 11 August – Friday 17 August 2008)
Ryanair launches Nice and Prague services
Ryanair this week announced it would start flights for the first time ever to two of Europe’s most popular low-cost destinations – Nice and Prague. These services will initially only be offered from Dublin, as part of the airline’s on-going battle with Aer Lingus for supremacy at Ireland’s largest airport; both routes are currently served by Aer Lingus. Ryanair is adding four other new destinations from Dublin, but these are to existing Ryanair destinations – Basel, Budapest, Katowice and Szczecin.
Eastern Airways makes it four carriers on Aberdeen – Stavanger route
Last year, more passengers flew between Aberdeen and Stavanger (130,110) than they did between Heathrow and Stavanger (95,805). The Aberdeen route, which links two of the major oil and gas capitals of Europe, was already served by three carriers (SAS Norway, Widerøe and City Star Airlines), so it may seem surprising that a fourth carrier should enter the market.
On Monday 13 August, Eastern Airways made it four airlines with the start of double-daily services with 50-seat Saab 2000s. This means that there are now nine daily flights (on weekdays) for passengers to choose from, ranging in aircraft size from City Star’s 32-seat Dornier 328 turboprops to SAS’s Boeing 737s, with more than 100 seats. Scheduled flight times vary between 60 minutes (SAS), 70 minutes (Eastern) and 80 minutes (City Star and Widerøe).
Fares with Eastern Airways start at £259 return including taxes and charges. The Aberdeen – Stavanger route has grown slowly by between 4% and 5% in each of the last two years. In 2008, Stavanger will be the European Capital of Culture (a title it will share with Liverpool).
Norwegian connects to Moscow
On the eve of celebrating its fifth anniversary, Norwegian has started flying to Moscow. From 16 August, the airline will operate from Oslo to Moscow Domodedovo (DME) airport using 148-seat B737-300s. Initially, the route will be served three times weekly, but this will increase to five times weekly from mid-September before reducing again to four times weekly for the winter season.
Competition on the 1,600 kilometre route will come from Aeroflot, which operates six times weekly from Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) to Oslo using 131-seat TU-154s.
This will be Norwegian’s second route to Russia, as it started services to St Petersburg in May 2006. The airline now operates to more than 40 international destinations from Oslo, as well as international routes from Bergen, Kristiansand, Stavanger and Trondheim in Norway, Stockholm in Sweden and Warsaw in Poland.
Jet Airways commences flights to US via Brussels
Following hot on the heels of Air India’s first non-stop flight from India to New York, Jet Airways becomes the first private Indian airline to offer services from India to New York with the start, on 5 August, of daily flights from Mumbai to New York Newark via Brussels. A B777-300 ER will operate the route in a three-class configuration, carrying a maximum of 312 passengers.
Jet started long-haul flights to Europe in May 2005 when daily flights were introduced to London Heathrow from Mumbai.
Not one, but two new Spanish bases for Ryanair
Not content with announcing one new base, Ryanair simultaneously announced two new bases, both in Spain, starting later this year. Ryanair already serves Alicante (ALC) and Valencia (VLC) from several of its existing bases, but from November both airports will have two aircraft based there to allow 21 routes to be served from Valencia and 17 from Alicante.
A comparison of the route networks at each airport reveals that 14 airports will be served from both new bases. These are Karlsruhe/Baden, Basel, Billund, Liverpool, Maastricht, Paris Beauvais, Brussels Charleroi, Dublin, Düsseldorf Weeze, East Midlands, London Stansted, Milan Bergamo, Pisa and Stockholm Skavsta.
Bournemouth, Doncaster/Sheffield and Gothenburg will only be served from Alicante, while Bologna Forli, Eindhoven, Malta, Oporto, Santiago de Compostela, Frankfurt Hahn and Rome Ciampino will only be served from Valencia.
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