New routes launched during the last week (Saturday 21 February – Friday 27 February):
Route of the week: V Australia’s Sydney to Los Angeles
Virgin of the skies: V Australia made its first transpacific flight from Sydney to LA today using a new 777-300ER. Virgin Blue CEO, Brett Godfrey said: “Nine years ago we set out to shake up and change the Australian domestic market and now it’s ground hog day with the long-haul market. We’re coming in offering what we believe is the best product in all three classes across the Pacific.”
Virgin Blue’s latest affiliate, V Australia, finally launched transpacific operations this week when flights between Sydney (SYD) and Los Angeles (LAX) finally began. The airline was supposed to have started flying at the end of last year but got caught up in the consequences of strikes at Boeing. The airline will be operating a 777-300ER on the route. Competition on the route will be provided by Qantas (with double-daily flights) and United (with daily flights).
For more on V Australia read this week’s lead story
Hat of the week: AirTran’s Atlanta to Cancun
Hats off to AirTran’s Terri Hanson for sending us these pictures to mark the start of Atlanta-Cancun services. Competition on the route will come from Delta, with AeroMexico also joining the race with the launch of an Atlanta-Cancun service on March 12th.
AirTran ventured into Mexico this week with the start of daily flights from Atlanta (ATL) to Cancun (CUN). This becomes the airline’s second international destination after San Juan. Competition on the route will come from Delta, which operates 30 weekly departures.
Kilt of the week: Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul to Nairobi
In a week of sadness for Turkish Airlines, there was also some good news – native dancers celebrated the start of thrice-weekly services between Istanbul and Nairobi. Gokalp Yazir (media relations) told anna.aero: “Turkish Airlines will operate a 737 on this route. We might use bigger models such as A330s in the future upon increases in passengers and cargo to Nairobi.”
Fast-growing Turkish Airlines has added Nairobi (NBO) to its network. Thrice-weekly services to the Kenyan capital began from Istanbul (IST) began last weekend. Istanbul this becomes the airline’s 110th international destination. Presidents Kibaki (of Kenya) and Gul (of Turkey) welcomed the decision to launch flights between the two countries at a state banquet held in Nairobi at the end of last week.
Celebrating fifty years of diplomatic ties between China and Africa – passengers on Air Algerie’s first flight to Beijing included the Chinese ambassador to Algeria, Liu Yuhe.
Air Algerie began non-stop flights from Algiers (ALG) to Beijing (PEK) last Sunday. The inaugural flight included China’s ambassador to Algeria Liu Yuhe. Flights operate twice weekly using an A330-200 which departs Algiers on Thursday and Sunday and departs Beijing on Fridays and Mondays. Algeria and China recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Air Algerie operates to over 20 domestic and 30 international destinations from its home base at Algiers where it accounts for around 70% of all aircraft movements. In 2007 the airport, which saw a new international terminal open in 2006, handled around 3.8 million passengers, an increase of 9.3% on 2006.
Allegiant Air returned to Columbia (CAE) airport in South Carolina this week when it began thrice-weekly flights to Orlando Sanford (SFB) airport in Florida using its 150-seat MD80s. “Since leaving Columbia in early 2007, Greenville/Spartanburg has developed into one of our best markets, indicating we were clearly hasty in our decision to leave Columbia,” Robert Ashcroft, Vice President of Planning for Allegiant, said. “We are determined to overcome our earlier misjudgment and earn the same level of trust from the Capital region that we have gained in Upcountry South Carolina.” In 2008 Columbia handled 1.15 million passengers, around 7% less than in 2007. The only other non-legacy carrier serving the airport, Spirit Airlines, ends its Fort Lauderdale route at the beginning of March. It started the daily service on 22 May last year.
Athens Airways now serves the Greek island of Mytilene from Athens, with twice-daily flights. Margue Anyfantaki, communications director said: “We had the honour of transferring the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Vartholomaios to Mytilene, who blessed the opening of our offices on the island.”
New Greek regional start-up Athens Airways is already starting its third route. This week it began flying twice-daily between Athens (ATH) and Mytilene (MJT) using an ERJ-145. Both Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines already operate on the route, each with three daily flights and using significantly larger aircraft.
Wizz Air added another link from its new base at Timisoara (TSR) to Valencia (VLC) this week. Flights will operate twice-weekly on Wednesday and Sunday. While traffic at Timisoara airport grew by 14% to almost 960,000 last year, Valencia airport saw traffic fall by 2.6% in 2008 to 5.78 million. However, with the withdrawal of many Ryanair flights last November traffic at Valencia was down almost 32% in January.
To see the latest information we have on routes that have recently been dropped or soon will be, check out our unique downloadable Route Recycle Bin spreadsheet. We currently have over 800 routes in our database which may be of interest to carriers.