Over 200 new routes start this week!
European LCC routes
European legacy/regional carrier routes
Indian airline routes
Legacy airline routes
Asian airline routes
European LCC routes:
- Aer Lingus boldly launches itself into the already highly competitive Dublin (DUB) to London market. It already serves London Heathrow with up to 13 flights per day but is now launching four daily flights to London Gatwick (LGW). Direct competition will be provided by Ryanair who already operate six flights per day. Other competition is provided by British Airways (to Gatwick), bmi (to Heathrow), CityJet (to London City) and Ryanair (to London Luton and London Stansted). Next week’s farewatch will look at this route in more detail.
- Airline devouring Air Berlin is adding two more connections to its Palma de Mallorca (PMI) hub. A daily connection to Saarbrucken (SCN) and three flights per week to Basel (BSL) are new for the winter schedule. Basel was previously served by Air Berlin’s partner airline TUIfly.
- Rome-based Blu-Express will begin new thrice-daily service from its home base at Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Catania (CTA) in Sicily. Fares start from €29 one-way, including taxes. The airline will face intense competition from Alitalia, Air One and Windjet who all operate this route with multiple daily frequencies.
- Centralwings unleashes another eight new routes into the market this winter. From Krakow (KRK) the airline is starting flights to Athens (ATH), Barcelona Girona (GRO), Dublin (DUB) and Manchester (MAN). From Poznan (POZ) three new destinations will be served: Edinburgh (EDI), Paris Beauvais (BVA) and Rome Ciampino (CIA) and finally Szczecin (SZZ) will get connected to Edinburgh (EDI). All of these new routes will be served either two or three times per week.
- Click Air’s apparently relentless growth at Barcelona (BCN) continues with the launch of three new routes this weekend. Athens (ATH), Las Palmas/Gran Canaria (LPA) and Tenerife North (TFN) are the latest additions to Click Air’s network. It could be argued that none of these are really new routes as Click Air is merely replacing Iberia in each case. On Athens the airline will compete with Vueling, on Las Palmas and Tenerife North it squares up to Spanair and Air Europa.
- easyJet may not be able to keep pace with Ryanair but it can still boast a massive 30 new routes starting this week. Madrid (MAD) with six new routes is the biggest airport winner followed Belfast International (BFS) with four routes. Bristol (BRS), Gdansk (GDN) and Lisbon (LIS) all get three new routes. London only gets a total of three new routes. These are from London Luton (LTN) to Vienna (VIE), London Stansted (STN) to Funchal/Madeira (FNC) and London Gatwick (LGW) to Bucharest (BBU). Of the 30 routes 11 will be started with daily frequencies, six will be served four times per week, 10 will be served three-times weekly and three will just be served twice per week. The launch of the Vienna service marks easyJet’s first venture into the Austrian market.
- Flybe launches two new routes this week. A new route between the Isle Of Man (IOM) and London Luton (LTN) will operate four times per week. This becomes the airline’s first proper route from Luton although Jersey is served on a weekly basis during the peak summer season. The second new route is from Southampton (SOU) to Brussels (BRU). This route operated twice per day during the week and becomes the airline’s second route to the Belgian capital after Manchester, a route it inherited from its acquisition of BA Connect.
- Germanwings launches three new routes from its newest base in Dortmund (DTM). Services to Munich (MUC), Split (SPU) and Zagreb (ZAG) begin this week replacing seasonal summer capacity from the airport. The Munich route will be served three times daily and will see Lufthansa reduce their frequency on the route from 25 per week to 14 per week. The Croatian cities of Zagreb and Split are new routes for the airport. A new route from Cologne/Bonn (CGN) to Skopje (SKP) in Macedonia also opens this week with two weekly flights.
- Jet2.com has added Gran Canaria / Las Palmas (LPA) and Arrecife / Lanzarote (ACE) to its network from Newcastle (NCL) starting this winter. Flights are twice-weekly and weekly respectively and operated by one of the airline’s 235-seat 757s.
- Norwegian is commencing service on seven new routes starting this week. Four new routes from Oslo (OSL) will see Tenerife (TFS), London Gatwick (LGW), Marrakech (RAK) and Gran Canaria / Las Palmas (LPA) added to the network. London Gatwick will also be served from Stavanger (SVG) while at the airline’s Polish base in Warsaw (WAW) there are new routes to Paris Orly (ORY) and Munich (MUC).
- Ryanair. What can you say? Just 69 new routes starting in the first week of the winter season! Anna.aero will analyse Ryanair’s new winter bases and routes in more detail in a later feature. In summary, the airports with the most new routes are Barcelona Girona (11), Valencia (11), Liverpool (nine), Stockholm Skavsta (seven), Dublin and Madrid (six each). Of the 69 routes only one is being started at more than daily frequency and that is the new link from Belfast City (BHD) to London Stansted (STN) which will operate four times daily. A further 10 routes are starting with daily frequency. A total of 18 routes will start with four weekly frequencies, 29 will start with three weekly flights and 11 routes will start with just two flights per week.
- SkyEurope’s new network strategy kicks into gear with the launch of 19 new routes this week including nine from its rapidly expanding Vienna (VIE) base and, four from Prague (PRG) and three from Bratislava (BTS). The highest frequency new routes are between Bratislava and Prague, which is double-daily, Vienna and Innsbruck (INN) with 12 weekly flights, and Bratislava to London Luton (LTN) also with 12 weekly flights. The Luton service used to operate to London Stansted but in face of direct Ryanair competition the airline has decided to move it to nearby Luton instead.
- Copenhagen-based Sterling plays join-the-dots as it links its three main bases in Stockholm (ARN), Oslo (OSL) and, of course, Copenhagen (CPH) with Brussels (BRU), Dortmund (DTM) and East Midlands (EMA). All routes are served with less than daily frequency
- Thomsonfly inaugurates low-cost scheduled services to Tel Aviv (TLV) in Israel with flights from London Luton (LTN) and Manchester (MAN). Both routes operate three times per week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday starting on 1 November.
- Transavia France introduces six new destinations into its winter network from Paris Orly (ORY) replacing summer of the more seasonal summer sun destinations such as Catania and Herakion which have been dropped for winter. Services to Granada have already begun and Essaouira does not start until December. Therefore the routes starting this week are to Krakow (KRK), Ouarzazate (OZZ), Tozeur (TOE), Fez (FEZ), Hurghada (HRG) and Luxor (LXR). These routes replace capacity reductions on popular summer routes such as Agadir, Monastir, Djerba and Barcelon Girona.
- In one of the season’s biggest surprises Italian LCC Volareweb has suddenly announced ambitious growth plans and decided to establish a second base at Milan Malpensa (MXP) to serve a range of both domestic and international destinations. Seven new international routes are about to begin to Manchester (MAN), Maastricht (MST), Porto (OPO), Rotterdam (RTM), Helsinki (HEL), Wroclaw (WRO) and Lodz (LCJ). Domestic routes to Alghero (AHO), Cagliari (CAG) and Pescara (PSR) have also been unveiled.
- Vueling, despite its recent board room shake-up, continues to push on with further network development. A total of nine new international routes start this week with three from Madrid (MAD), two from Granada (GRX), two from Malaga (AGP) and one each from Barcelona (BCN) and Paris (CDG). Brussels, Bologna, Nice and Rome Fiumicino each benefit with two new routes.
- Wizz Air has just a couple of new routes starting this week. London Luton (LTN) is connected to Tirgu Mures (TGM) in Transilvania. However, from 13 November these flights are being moved to Cluj Napoca (CLJ) as Wizz Air has experienced operational problems at the former airport. A second new route is a twice-weekly flight from Dortmund (DTM) to Sofia (SOF). This will be Wizz Air’s third route to Sofia following London Luton and Rome Ciampino.
European legacy/regional carrier routes
- Austrian Airlines begins flights from Vienna (VIE) to London City (LCY) on 29 October. Flights will operate twice-daily on weekdays using Fokker 70s. Austrian already serves London Heathrow with five daily flights. In recent years attempts to serve Vienna from UK airports other than Heathrow have all failed. Services from Birmingham (British Airways and duo), Manchester (Austrian and Lauda Air) and London Stansted (buzz and niki) have all succumbed for a variety of reasons. Coincidentally easyJet is also starting a new daily service from London Luton to Vienna on the same day.
- bmi British Midland has completed its acquisition of BMed and starts flying 16 fromed BMED routes from the start of the winter season. These are Addis Ababa, Aleppo, Almaty, Amman, Ankara, Baku, Beirut, Bishkek, Dakar, Damascus, Ekaterinburg, Freetown, Khartoum, Tbilisi, Tehran and Yerevan. All routes are operated with between three and seven weekly flights. In addition bmi is starting a new daily route to Cairo (CAI) on which it will codeshare with Egyptair. All flights operate from London Heathrow’s (LHR) Terminal 1. This brings to 36 the number of destinations served by bmi from Heathrow and the airline has stated it would like to serve other destinations such as Kiev, Minsk, Kuwait, Lahore, Tel Aviv, Dammam and Sana’a.
- Denmark’s Cimber Air begins two new routes this week from its base in Copenhagen (CPH). A daily route to Prague (PRG) will be operated with one of the airline’s ATR72s and a six-times weekly route to Lyon (LYS) will be flown with a CRJ-200. The Prague route will be highly competitive with direct competition from SAS, Czech Airlines, Sterling and SkyEurope. On Lyon the only competition comes from SAS.
- Air France franchise partner CityJet begins a new service from London City (LCY) to Strasbourg (SXB) this weekend. Flights will operate three times a day on weekdays using a 31-seat Dornier 328, with a single flight on Saturday and Sunday. Up until now Air France (through partner Brit Air) has served the London – Strasbourg market by operating twice daily to London Gatwick using CRJs. Between October 2002 and September 2003 Ryanair operated from London Stansted to Strasbourg and passenger numbers from the UK more than quadrupled from around 3,500 passengers per month to more than 15,000. However, after a judicial review the marketing support provided by Strasbourg to the airline was deemed illegal and so Ryanair pulled off the route. Traffic numbers then returned to previous levels of around 35,000 to 40,000 passengers per annum.
- UK regional Eastern Airways has returned to the Manchester (MAN) to London Stansted (STN) market after Air Berlin withdrew all its UK domestic services. Eastern will now operate three daily flights on weekdays but none at weekends.
- Iberia launched two new routes from its main Madrid (MAD) hub this week. The Czech capital Prague (PRG) will be linked five times per week and will face competition from incumbents Air Europa, CSA and Smartwings who all operate the route currently. A new four times weekly service to Warsaw (WAW) will see Iberia go head-to-head with Air Europa and LOT.
- Lufthansa is starting six new routes from Frankfurt (FRA) this winter. Buenos Aires (EZE) will be served five-times weekly with a 747-400, while Orlando (MCO) will also be served five times weekly with an A330-300. Karachi (KHI) and Lahore (LHE) in Pakistan will both be served three-times weekly by an A300. Lufthansa Cityline will operate a new daily service to Wroclaw (WRO) and serve Bordeaux (BOD) with three daily flights, both with CRJ-200s. On Wroclaw Lufthansa will compete with LOT.
- SAS has a couple of new long-haul routes for winter. Copenhagen (CPH) will link with Dubai (DXB) three times per week and Stockholm (ARN) will now have a direct service to Bangkok (BKK) using an A340. A twice-weekly Gothenburg (GOT) to Barcelona (BCN) route is also new operated with an MD80.
Indian airline routes
- Air Deccan, which has now been re-branded into part-owner Kingfisher’s colours, launches its third route to Vijaywada (VGA) with a six-times weekly connection to Bangalore (BLR). Flights are operated by one of the airline’s ATR42s. The airline already serves Vijaywada daily from Chennai and Hyderabad.
- Air India Express has embarked on a new international service from Chennai (MAA) to Kuala Lumpur (KUL). Flights operate on a daily basis utilising a 737-800.
- Indigo will be starting two new routes from Imphal (IMP) to Agartala (IXA) and Kolkata (CCU). Both routes will be served three times weekly with A320s. Indigo’s only previous route to Imphal was from Guwahati which was served daily.
Legacy airline routes
- American Airlines returns to London Stansted (STN) after an absence of 14 years with the launch of daily flights from New York JFK (JFK). A second daily flight will be added next April. Services are provided by the airline’s 767-300s.
- Emirates launch two more routes this week, to Toronto (YYZ) and Ahmedabad (AMD). The Canadian metropolis will be served three times per week while Ahmedabad will be linked to Dubai (DXB) six times per week. This takes their network from Dubai to over 90 destinations worldwide.
- Ethiopian Airlines launched a new daily service from Addis Ababa (ADD) to Zanzibar (ZNZ) in Tanzania. This brings to three the number of destinations served by the airline in Tanzania following in the footsteps of Dar-Es-Salaam and Kilimanjaro. Roundtrip fares from London to Tanzania via Ethiopia are currently available from €355.
Asian airline routes
- AirAsia X the new long-haul, low-cost enterprise with investment from AirAsia and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, finally takes to the skies this week. Inaugural flights with the first of 15 A330-300s from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Australia’s Gold Coast (OOL) begin on 2 November. The route will operate four times weekly and the aircraft will be configured with 315 seats of which 36 are premium XL seats. For comparison Lufthansa’s A330-300s carry a maximum of 221 passengers in a three-class layout while Cathay Pacific’s are configured with 311 seats featuring two classes.
- Dragonair launches two new routes to Japan this weekend from its Hong Kong (HKG) base. Fukuoka (FUK) will be served daily with an A321 while Sendai (SDJ) passengers can get direct services on an A320 onthree days of the week. Neither route is currently served on a point-to-point basis. Dragonair became a member of the Cathay Pacific Group last year.
- Hong Kong Express launches a new route between its Hong Kong (HKG) base and Yangon (RGN) in Myanmar starting 2 November. While other airlines have been cancelling flights to Myanmar during the current period of civil unrest, HKE appears to consider this an opportunity to establish itself there.
- Nok Air starts a new twice daily service from Bangkok (BKK) to Hanoi (HAN) in Vietnam. Competition will be fierce as the airline faces direct competition on the route from Thai AirAsia, Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines. This is the airline’s second international route after Bangalore in India. The latest aircraft to join the fleet has been painted in a distinctive orange and yellow bird design.
- Silk Air increases its network by two new destinations next week with the commencement of new routes from Singapore (SIN) to Coimbatore (CJB) in India, and Kathmandu (KTM) in Nepal. Both routes will be served thrice weekly with A320s.
- Tiger Airways is increasing its presence in India and China with the launch of three new routes from Singapore (SIN). Chennai (MAA) services start with four flights per week while Cochin (COK) services get under way with three weekly flights. The Chennai route will be particularly challenging with direct competition from Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Air India Express and Singapore Airlines. Another new service to Xiamen (XMN) launches with four weekly flights and becomes the airline’s fourth destination in mainland China after Guangzhou, Haikou and Shenzhen.
- JetBlue is launching three new daily routes from its rapidly growing Fort Lauderdale (FLL) hub to Buffalo (BUF), Richmond (RIC) and Syracuse (SYR), all starting on 1 November. All three routes will be operated by the airline’s 100-seats Embraer 190s.
- Saudi LCC Sama launches six new domestic routes from Hail (HAS). These are the first of its Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes and are all operated less than daily except for the link to its home base in Dammam (DMM) which is served twice daily.