Global new routes round-up (Sunday 23 December – Friday 11 January)
AirTran has added a new daily direct service from Minneapolis/St Paul (MSP) to Tampa (TPA) in Florida. This is only the airline’s fourth route from MSP from where it currently serves Chicago Midway (28 flights per week), Atlanta (32 flights per week) and Orlando (five flights per week). On the Tampa route it will compete with Northwest Airlines.
German charter airline Blue Wings has launched its first scheduled services from Düsseldorf (DUS) to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO). Using an A320, flights will operate five times per week with fares starting from 99 Euros. The airline, which started in 2003, carried around one million passengers in 2007 and has ordered 20 further A320s for delivery by 2011.
Cathay Pacific recently launched daily non-stop services from Hong Kong (HKG) to Toronto (YYZ) using an A340-600. The airline also offers a one-stop service via Vancouver on three days of the week.
Click Air has taken over Iberia’s flights on the highly competitive Barcelona (BCN) to Palma de Mallorca (PMI) route. Since 1 January, Click Air has been operating five daily flights using its growing fleet of A320s. Air Berlin, Air Europa and Spanair provide passengers with alternative options on a route that generated around 1.8 million passengers in 2007.
easyJet has begun serving its third route in a month from Innsbruck (INN). Having launched flights from the Austrian ski gateway to London Gatwick and Bristol in December it has now added thrice-weekly flights from Liverpool (LPL). Passenger numbers at Innsbruck have grown by around 5% in 2007 to 850,000.
FlyGlobespan has added a weekly service from its Edinburgh (EDI) base to Grenoble (GNB).
Lithuanian flag-carrier flyLAL Lithuanian Airlines has commenced weekly flights from Vilnius (VNO) to Lyon (LYS) and Innsbruck (INN). The airline operates a fleet of seven 737s and four Saab 2000s. In the first nine months of 2007 flyLAL increased its passenger numbers by 10% to 384,000 and achieved a 69% load factor.
Jet Airways has become India’s first private airline to operate direct scheduled services to the Gulf region. Starting on the 5 January the airline will operate twice-daily between Kochi (COK) and Kuwait (KWI) as well as between Kochi (COK) and Bahrain (BAH). In addition Delhi (DEL) will get a daily service to Kuwait (KWI) and Mumbai (BOM) will be connected daily with Bahrain (BAH). All routes will be operated by the airlines 737-800s.
jetBlue unleashes more new routes to Florida to help Americans get away from some dreadful winter weather. New daily non-stop services are now connecting Buffalo, New York (BUF) and White Plains, New York (HPN) with Fort Myers (RSW), Charlotte (CLT) and Raleigh/Durham (RDU) with Fort Lauderdale (FLL), and Burlington (BTV) and Portland (PWM) with Orlando (MCO). Another new service links New York (JFK) with Puerto Plata (POP) in the Dominican Republic.
Norwegian has begun its first ski route from its Polish base in Warsaw (WAW). Saturday flights to Salzburg (SZG) began on 29 December.
Pacific Airlines, the only Vietnam based low fares airline, has recently begun daily service from its base at Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to both Hue (HUI) and Haiphong (HPH). Although founded in 1991 the airline evolved into a ‘low-cost’ airline in February 2007. The airline offers eight destinations from Ho Chi Minh, including international flights to Singapore and Bangkok which are operated as codeshares with Bangkok Airways and JetStarAsia respectively. All routes are served by a small fleet of 737-400s configured with 170 seats in an all-economy configuration. In August Qantas took an 18% shareholding in the airline which it plans to increase to 30% in the next two years. The other shareholders are the Vietnamese government’s State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) and the Saigon Tourist Corporation (Vietnam’s largest tour and hotel operator).
Skybus has entered the highly competitive New York market with a new double-daily service from its base in Columbus (CMH) to Stewart International Airport (SWF) at Newburgh, around 100 kilometres north of New York City. The airport is named after Archie Stewart an aviation enthusiast and descendant of a prominent local dairy farmer, who donated 220 acres of land to the city of Newburgh in 1930 to be used as an airport. In November 2007 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey purchased the remaining 93-years of a 99-year operating lease for $87.5 million. Skybus joins AirTran, Delta Connection, jetBlue, Northwest and US Airways Express in operating out of the airport.
Tiger Airways adds another new destination to its Australian domestic network with a double-daily service from Melbourne (MEL) to Adelaide (ADL). The airline will be taking on Qantas and Virgin Blue who both already operate on the route which is the fifth busiest in Australia with 1.85 million passengers in 2006.
Transaero has inaugurated a weekly flight from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) to Basel (BSL). Weekly flights to Lyon (LYS) began back in November. The airline operates 737s on the routes.
United is offering three new connections to its Washington Dulles (IAD) hub with the launch of new services to Bradford, West Virginia (BFD), Jamestown, New York (JHW) and Parkersburg, West Virginia (PKB). All routes will be operated thrice daily by United Express partner Colgan Air using 34-seat Saab 340s.
WindJet adds another Russian route to its network with the launch of weekly (Saturday) flights from Turin (TRN) to Moscow Domodedovo (DME). Flight time is around four hours. The airline now serves Moscow directly from three Italian airports, the others being Forli (weekly) and Verona (also weekly). Forli also has direct weekly flights to St Petersburg.