Global new routes round-up
(Saturday 12 January – Friday 18 January)

This week’s route highlights are:

  • Logo: Belfast International AirportAer Lingus finally entered the battle for traffic between London and Belfast this week. On Monday 14th January they began flying three times per day between their new base at Belfast International (BFS) and London Heathrow (LHR). The annual market on this route has been quite stable in recent years at around two million passengers. In November 2006 easyJet had 54% of the market on its routes from Belfast International to Gatwick, Luton and Stansted but this has fallen to under 47% a year later. Bmi British Midland operate from Heathrow to Belfast City, Flybe from Gatwick to Belfast City and CityJet (Air France) from London City to Belfast City. More recently Ryanair has begun operating four daily flights from London Stansted to Belfast City, replacing Air Berlin who started the route in May 2006. As a result traffic between London and Belfast was up nearly 6% in November 2007 with Ryanair already having a 14% share of the traffic. See this week’s farewatch for a comparison of current fares in the market.
  • Image: Air Asia TerminalAir Asia launched daily flights on Wednesday 16 January from its main base in Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Guangzhou (CAN) in China. Shenzhen, Xiamen and Macau are already served by Air Asia and so Guangzhou becomes the fourth Chinese airport to be served. The four hour flight will operate daily using an A320. Guangzhou Baiyun International airport is regarded as the third largest international airport in China and serves one of mainland China’s leading commercial and manufacturing regions. It is the main base for China Southern Airlines and handled around 26.22 million passengers in 2006 (up 11.3% on 2006), ranking it 41st in the world.
  • Logo: DeltaThe good folk of Atlanta (ATL) now have a new direct service to Mexico thanks to Delta. A new route to Queretaro (QRO) in central Mexico began on 14 January operating on five days of the week. The 1328 mile sector will be flown by an Embraer E170 operated by Shuttle America on behalf of Delta Connection. It becomes Delta’s 19th destination in Mexico.
  • Logo: St. Marteen, ANjetBlue has begun daily flights from New York JFK (JFK) to St Maarten (SXM) in the Netherlands Antilles. The 2,710 kilometre flight is the airline’s first to Princess Juliana International Airport in St Maarten. The airport claims to be the second busiest in the North Eastern Caribbean after San Juan in Puerto Rico. Among aviation enthusiasts it is best known as the airport where approaching aircraft land very low over a beach producing some dramatic photos and video footage.
  • Lufthansa finally offers direct links between the capitals of Germany and the UK. Since 14 January Berlin Tegel (TXL) has been connected to London City (LCY) airport with two daily flights, which increases to three at the start of the summer season. Flights are operated by regional partner Eurowings with a BAe146-200 and Berlin becomes the seventh destination served by the German flag-carrier from London City.
  • Logo: SACBORyanair has assigned another aircraft to its Milan Bergamo (BGY) Orio Al Serio base and has used it to launch five new routes to Alghero (AHO), Billund (BLL), Gothenburg City (GSE), Riga (RIX) and Santander (SDR). All routes are served three of four times per week. This now takes Ryanair’s network of routes from the airport to an impressive 37 routes. In 2007 BGY handled over 5.5 million passengers, up nearly 10% on the year before.
  • Logo: SAMASaudi Arabia’s leading LCC, Sama, began operating to two new international destinations this week. Charter flights from Riyadh (RUH) and Jeddah (JED) to Aleppo (ALP) in Syria and Beirut (BEY) in the Lebanon began this week. Both Beirut routes will operate three times per week, Aleppo services twice per week. This brings to seven the number of international destinations served which include Abu Dbabi, Amman, Damascus, Latakia and Sharjah). The airline recently started operating what may be the first ‘logojet’ in the Middle East promoting Saudi Arabia.
  • Logo: skybusSkybus has started daily services to six new destinations from Piedmont Triad (PTI) International airport. Portsmouth (PSM), Jacksonville/Daytona Beach (JAX), Ft Myers/Punta Gorda (PGD), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Gulfport-Biloxi (GPT) and Springfield/Chicopee (CEF) all get daily services. PTI is located in North Carolina and serves the cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point. More than 4.5 million people live within a 90-minute radius of the airport. In 2006 the airport handled 2.17 million passengers and traffic looks likely to be up less than 1% in 2007.
  • Logo: SkysouthWhere Ryanair “failed” it seems Skysouth has succeeded. The little-known UK regional airline with the strapline ‘Normandy in no time’ this week begins scheduled services to Deauville (DOL) from Shoreham Brighton (ESH) on Britain’s south coast. Flights will initially operate using a nine-seat Piper PA-31 Chieftain on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Return fares start from £149.50. Last year Ryanair had announced flights from London Stansted with a slightly larger (189-seat!) 737-800. However, the route never started after local (French) protests against the airline.
  • Logo: Tiger Airways.comTiger Airways unleashes two more domestic routes from it new base in Melbourne (MEL). Daily services to Hobart (HBA) in Tasmania began on 15 January while double-daily services to Newcastle (NTL) begin on 18 January. This increases to 10 the number of domestic routes now served by Tiger with more to follow in the coming weeks.
  • Image: WestjetWestjet launches two unrelated international routes this week. From 13 January the airline will link Vancouver (YVR) with Kona (KOA) in Hawaii twice a week (Thursday and Sunday). Meanwhile a new twice weekly direct service from Kelowna (YLW) in British Columbia to Las Vegas (LAS) will offer Canadians a different kind of vacation break. Flights from Las Vegas depart at a rather unfriendly 02:00 and arrive in Kelowna at 04:45 in the morning. Ideal for gambling insomniacs.

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