Emirates & Jet expand their long-haul networks
- Etihad this week launched its eighth route to Europe with thrice weekly flights to Milan Malpensa from Abu Dhabi. A celebratory event was held in Abu Dhabi featuring a fashion show and reception featuring music from the Three Waiters opera group.
- This weekend an Abu Dhabi delegation will host a reception at Milan’s world-famous Castello Sforzesco Palace before attending the Formula 1 Italian grand prix in Monza which will also feature the Etihad sponsored Spyker racing team.
- Etihad currently serves London, Paris, Frankfurt, Manchester, Geneva, Dublin and Brussels in Europe.
- Following the launch of Jet Airway’s daily Mumbai – Brussels – New York Newark services in August, this week saw the start of flights from Delhi to Toronto via Brussels. Flights will be operated five times per week and will be operated as a codeshare with Brussels Airlines.
- American Airlines began three times daily flights from New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Minneapolis/St Paul (MSP) this week operating MD80s in a two-class configuration. The airline will go up against Northwest which in the first five months of 2007 carried around 180,000 passengers on the route.
- Meanwhile partner American Eagle launched two new routes this week from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). Double-daily services started to Roswell, New Mexico using ERJ145s. Roswell is probably best-known for the 1947 “Roswell Incident” which many believe involved a crashed UFO. This marks the return of jet services to Roswell after a 37-year wait.
- American Eagle also launched daily services from DFW to Flint, Michigan using a CRJ700. American already links Flint with four daily flights to its Chicago O’Hare base.
- Northwest Airlines also launched new direct services this week, from DFW to New York’s LaGuardia airport. It will operate 19 flights per week using A319s in a two-class configuration with a total of 124 seats. The airline will be going head-to-head with American Airlines which serves both LaGuardia and New York’s JFK airports.
- Delta airlines used its Comair affiliate to this week launch direct daily services between Boston (BOS) and Louisville, Kentucky (SDF). Famous as the home of the Kentucky Derby horse race this new route from Louisville means that Delta and its affiliates will offer 19 daily flights to four destinations from the airport this autumn. Louisville International Airport offers a total of 110 daily departures to 29 non-stop destinations.
This week saw the launch of a number of new services by European carriers:
- Air Berlin launched double-daily domestic services from Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Saarbrücken (SCN) from 3rd September. Saarbrücken’s existing network of scheduled services is currently limited to Berlin Tempelhof and Hamburg (with Cirrus Airways), Luxembourg (with Luxair) and Munich (with Lufthansa). In 2006 traffic at the airport fell by 14% to just over 380,000.
- Air France subsidiary Brit Air began double-daily services from Lyon (LYS) to Birmingham (BHX) operating 50-seat CRJs. This route was served a few years ago by Maersk Air Ltd operating as a British Airways franchise carrier. Birmingham and Lyon are ‘twinned’ meaning there is extra demand generated by local politicians, dignitaries and school children on exchange visits.
- Austrian Airlines began flights from Vienna (VIE) to Astana (TSE), the 10-year-old capital of Kazakhstan. Three flights per week will be operated in co-operation with Air Astana using a B737-700. Flights depart Vienna at 20:35 and arrive in Astana at 05:55 the following morning so passengers should come prepared to have a nap. Returning flights depart Astana at 07:00. Astana, with a growing population of around 600,000 people, contains some architectural oddities include a pyramid of peace designed by acclaimed UK architect Sir Norman Foster.
- Lufthansa launched flights from Munich (MUC) to Sibiu (SBZ) in Romania, its third destination in the country after Bucharest and Timisoara. The route is currently served five times per week but will become daily from the start of the winter season. A Q300 will operate the route in competition with Tarom.
- Manx2.com has become the first airline to offer scheduled service to Gloucester airport in the UK with the launch of twice daily flights to the Isle Of Man. The services are operated by Beech 1900 aircraft. On Saturday and Sunday there is also a connection from Isle Of Man to Jersey via Gloucester. Manx2.com’s network now features seven airports with the core route from the Isle Of Man to Belfast. The airline operates three flights per day to Belfast International and three to Belfast City. Manx2.com uses a mix of Beech 1900, Metroliners and LET-410s on its routes all of which operate with just 19 seats.
A couple of happy passengers at check-in on the inaugural flight from Prestwick
Wizz Air began twice-weekly flights from Katowice (KTW) to Glasgow Prestwick (PIK). This is the airline’s third route to Glasgow as it already flies there from Gdansk and Warsaw. Next February it will also link Poznan with Scotland’s fast-growing ‘low-cost’ airport. The fact that Wizz Air and Glasgow Prestwick Airport share the same pink and purple corporate colour scheme presumably had nothing to do with the development of new services.