New routes launched this week:
- The battle for low-cost supremacy on the Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Singapore (SIN) route gets underway this week as Air Asia (with two daily flights) takes on Jetstar Asia and Tiger Airways each with one daily flight. Air Asia launches another new route from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) this week to Yogyakarta (JOG) in Indonesia. Flights AK1004/AK1005 operate on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday with a scheduled flight time of around two and a half hours. Yogyakarta becomes the 13th destination served by AirAsia in Indonesia.
- Air Nostrum operating on behalf of Iberia Regional launches three new routes from Madrid (MAD) to French regional airports this week. Clermont-Ferrand (CFE) and Rennes (RNS) will be served four times weekly by one of the airline’s CRJ200s while Montpellier (MPL) will be served thrice weekly. These routes are helping Madrid continue its upward trajectory as Europe’s fastest growing hub airport with traffic up 13.8% in 2007 to 52.14 million passengers. Traffic at Clermont-Ferrand was around 560,000 passengers last year (down 2%) while at Rennes traffic was up 15% to 536,000.
- Another airline linked with Iberia, Click Air, launches double-daily services from Barcelona (BCN) to Asturias (OVD). Iberia had previously been operating this route with up to four daily flights using a variety of aircraft types but will reduce its presence in the market to an almost daily CRJ service operated by, surprise, Air Nostrum! Competition on the route is provided by Spanair. In 2007 Asturias ranked 20th among Spain’s airports with 1.56 million passengers, up 15.4% on 2006.
- easyJet launches its second route to Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki (SKG) this week. Flights from London Gatwick (LGW) will operate three times weekly. British Airways currently operates the same route with five weekly flights. Scheduled traffic on the route in 2006 was 83,595. The total UK market to Thessaloniki in 2006 was 231,893 down 9% on 2005. Dortmund was the first easyJet base to have a connection with SKG when services began last May and Berlin will also be connected from the start of the summer season. Surprisingly Ryanair has yet to enter the Greek market.
- Possibly the wackiest name for a new airline in quite a while is Flyyeti.com the new LCC operated by Air Arabia with a base at Nepal’s major airport at Kathmandu (KTM). Services began last week to Air Arabia’s base in Sharjah (SJH) with twice weekly-flights using an A320. According to the airline’s on-line booking system routes to Bangkok, Delhi, Doha, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur are likely to follow soon.
- IndiGo has received its 16th A320 since launching in August 2006. As a result it will now serve Ahmedabad (AMD), its 17th destination in India with the launch of daily services from Kolkata (CCU). This latest aircraft will also facilitate the start of two more new routes from Bhubaneswar (BBI) to both Mumbai (BOM) and Kolkata (CCU). Bhubaneswar became Indigo’s 16th destination last November and handled some 350,000 passengers in the year ending 31 March 2007 (up 59% on the previous year).
- Spicejet, the Indian LCC that began flying in May 2005, has just started serving Bagdogra (IXB) its 18th destination. Non-stop services from Bagdogra are offered to Kolkata (CCU) daily, to Guwahati (GAU) thrice-weekly and to Delhi (DEL) also thrice-weekly. The airline now operates 18 737-800/900s. In the year ending 31 March 2007 Bagdogra airport handled 259,000 passengers, up 25% on the previous year.
- US Airways commences thrice-daily flights from its major base at Charlotte (CLT) to Daytona Beach (DAB) in Florida. Flights will be operated by Republic Airlines using an 86-seat Embraer 175. In 2007 Charlotte handled over 33 million passengers (up 12% on 2006) with non-stop service to over 120 destinations. In contrast, Daytona Beach handled around 690,000 passengers in 2007 (up 30% on 2006) and is Florida’s 12th busiest commercial airport. Delta currently has the highest market share of any airline at the airport.
- Wizz Air wins the new Ryanair MNRTW (Most New Routes This Week) Award as it launched eight new routes across its Polish bases. From its new base at Poznan (POZ) it launched new routes to Oslo Torp (TRF), Malmo (MMX), Glasgow Prestwick (PIK) and Doncaster/Sheffield (DSA). From Wroclaw (WRO) it has added connections to London Luton (LTN) and Doncaster/Sheffield (DSA). Finally, daily services between Katowice (KTW) and London Gatwick (LGW) have got under way and Gdansk (GDN) is now linked with Oslo Torp (TRF). Five of these eight routes link the UK and Poland further highlighting the trends in migration within the enlarged EU.