Taking to the skies:
- AirTran began daily flights this week to San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico from Atlanta (ATL) and Orlando (MCO). From Atlanta it will compete against Delta with 43 weekly flights, while from Orlando it will face American with 21 weekly flights, jetBlue with 14 weekly flights and Spirit with 14 weekly flights. From 9 April, the Orlando route will increase to two daily flights to match jetBlue and Spirit. Both routes will be served by the airline’s latest 737-700s. San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International airport handled 10.6 million passengers in 2006.
- American Eagle has elected to take on Delta in the intra-Floridian market. This week it has launched double-daily flights from Miami (MIA) to Tallahassee (TLH) using a 44-seat ERJ140. Delta operates 20 flights per week on the route. The 650km route is scheduled as a 90-minute flight. With this service, American will join Continental, Delta, Northwest and US Airways in having a presence at Tallahassee Regional Airport.
- Click Air has taken over another Iberia route from Barcelona (BCN) this week. The latest destination to be converted is Brussels (BRU). Click Air started double-daily services using its A320s on Saturday, taking on Brussels Airlines (operating 19 flights per week) and Vueling (daily flights). All inclusive fares start from €20. Click Air thus becomes the latest LCC to operate from Brussels’ main airport at Zaventem joining the likes of easyJet, Flybe, MyAir, Sterling and Vueling. Brussels Charleroi airport caters for the likes of jet4you, Ryanair and Wizz Air.
easyJet goes head-to-head with Air France and Lufthansa by launching double-daily flights between Paris CDG (CDG) and Hamburg (HAM). This will be the fifth base that easyJet has attempted to link to the northern German airport, but services from two of these bases (Bristol and Geneva) were dropped in fairly quick time. London Luton and Basel services continue to operate.
- jetBlue is using one of its E190s to link Orlando (MCO) with Santo Domingo (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic. Flights will operate daily. The airline already serves Santo Domingo from its New York JFK base.
- Manx2.com began a new service this week linking the Isle Of Man (IOM) with East Midlands (EMA). The one-hour flight operates daily (except Saturday) on a 19-seat Metroliner. Fares begin from £39 one-way including taxes.
- MyAir recently began a weekly (Friday) service linking its Bari (BRI) base with Sofia (SOF). The airline already serves the Bulgarian capital from its bases in Bologna, Milan Bergamo and Venice. Last December, the airline repainted an A320 to help promote VW’s latest SUV model, the Tiguan.
- Niki, Austria’s only home-grown LCC, has started operating from its Vienna (VIE) base to Milan Malpensa (MXP). Flights operate twice on weekdays and once on Sunday. The airline will be competing directly with Austrian (27 weekly flights) and Alitalia (14 weekly flights), as well as indirectly with SkyEurope which operates to Milan Bergamo.
- Ryanair has based a fifth 737-800 at Brussels Charleroi (CRL) airport. As a consequence, four new routes are launched this week to Bergerac (EGC), Limoges (LIG), Porto (OPO) and Zaragoza (ZAZ). The two French routes operate just twice weekly, the other two routes four times weekly. A further two routes begin this week from the airline’s Alicante (ALC) base. Newquay (NQY) will be served thrice weekly, while Edinburgh (EDI) will get four weekly flights. The Edinburgh – Alicante market is already served by FlyGlobespan, with a year-round daily service, and by easyJet, which operates a weekly (Saturday) summer-only service.
- Skybus, one of the new breed of US LCCs, launches a new daily service from its Columbus (CMH) base to New Castle (ILG) Airport at Wilmington in Delaware. The airport is only 55km from Philadelphia. Skybus becomes the first airline to use this airport for scheduled commercial flights. Despite this, the airport’s website makes no mention of this momentous event.
- Tiger Airways finally launches flights to Alice Springs (ASP) from its Melbourne (MEL) base. Flights were supposed to have started last December but were delayed due to ground handling issues at Alice Springs. Flights will operate three times weekly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. This takes to 12 the number of destinations Tiger serves from Melbourne and completes phase one of the airline’s entry into the Australian domestic market.
- Virgin Blue started direct flights this week from the capital Canberra (CBR) to the Gold Coast (OOL). The new service is daily and is operated by one of the airline’s new Embraer 170s.