Route of the week:
AirAsia X’s Kuala Lumpur to London Stansted
|Making a long-haul, low-cost service possible: The AirAsia X A340-300 arrives at Stansted with 286 passengers, after an historic voyage from Kuala Lumpur. With five weekly services, AirAsia X provides very affordable connectivity from London to the Australian cities of Perth, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, as well as the carrier’s hub in Kuala Lumpur.|
- AirAsia X began flying from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to London Stansted (STN) this week. Flights operate five times per week using an A340-300. The only other non-stop flights between the UK and Malaysia are provided by Malaysian Airlines who operate twice-daily between Kuala Lumpur and London Heathrow. The rest of AirAsia X’s network (to Australia and China) is operated by three A330s.
Noman Chowdhury, chief executive of Dahmashi Tours & Travels, Air Asia’s general sales agent in Dhaka, explains his excitement about the new service.
AirAsia now flies to Bangladesh. Daily flights to Dhaka (DAC) began this week from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) using an A320. Competition is provided by Biman Bangladesh, GMG Airlines and Malaysia Airlines who all provide daily, or almost-daily, services.
Cake of the week: Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul to Ufa
|Turkey’s national carrier now serves Ufa – the capital of the Republic of Bashkortosan in Russia.|
- Fast-growing Turkish Airlines has added Ufa (UFA) in Russia to its network. Thrice-weekly flights from Istanbul (IST) began this week using an A319. Last year Ufa was Russia’s 11th busiest airport handling 1.296 million passengers. This new route is the only international scheduled service from the airport.
Southwest Airlines’ Minneapolis/St. Paul to Chicago Midway
|It’s not national cookie month, but Southwest airlines personalising the in-flight experience for passengers.|
|Southwest makes a fashion statement and launches eight daily flights from Chicago Midway to Minneapolis/St. Paul this week. It’s good news for competition on the service, which has been dominated by Delta/Northwest after AirTran dropped the route.|
- Possibly the most significant new route of the week for Americans was the arrival of Southwest at a new airport. This is a relatively rare event but this week Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) became the airline’s 65th airport when it began serving Chicago Midway (MDW) with eight daily flights. While one route may not seem that big a deal, thanks to the high frequency Southwest will be offering one stop flights to over 40 of its network destinations through its Chicago hub. Minneapolis/St. Paul is a Northwest/Delta hub (with an 80% share of scheduled seat capacity) and Northwest currently serves Midway with 66 weekly flights as well as Chicago O’Hare with 63 weekly flights.
AeroMexico’s marketing manager, Minny Morel at a press conference to celebrate the start of its new Atlanta-Cancun service. AeroMexico will use new 737-700 twinjets for the thrice-weekly service. Flights depart Atlanta Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
AeroMexico now links Cancun (CUN) twice-daily with Atlanta (ATL). Competition on the route is stiff as AirTran already operates daily flights and Delta has 30 weekly services. Frank Galan, Vice President, US Division, AeroMexico, said, “Customers have asked us to add Atlanta-Cancun flights to our schedule and AeroMexico is excited about meeting this need with conveniently timed, affordably priced flights on the most preferred travel days. We’re introducing these flights just in time for the spring holiday season so more of our customers can experience all that Cancun offers as Mexico’s most popular tourist destination. Travelers will begin enjoying their vacations as soon as they’re on board with AeroMexico’s special style of service on every flight.” The airline has also added two new domestic routes from Mexico City (MEX). It will serve both San Luis Potosi (SLP) and Tampico (TAM) thrice daily using Embraer ERJ145s. On the San Lusi Potosi route competition is provided by Aeromar (which operates six daily flights using ATR 42s) and Mexican (11 weekly flights), while the Tampico route is already served by Aviacsa (daily), Interjet (twice daily) and Mexicana (five daily flights).
|Competition for Cancun: Among the airlines adding services to the Mexican city this week, AirTran starts operations from Baltimore/Washington. Last week AirTran began Atlanta-Cancun services.|
- AirTran is now flying twice-weekly (Saturday and Sunday) between Baltimore/Washington (BWI) and Cancun (CUN). The airline already serves the Mexican leisure destination daily from its Atlanta hub. “Cancun is a favorite travel destination for US travelers, and AirTran Airways is making it easy to get there from Atlanta and now Baltimore,” said Kevin Healy, senior vice president of marketing and planning for AirTran Airways. “We offer reasonable prices at all times, but our introductory fare is especially low to encourage travelers from Baltimore to get acquainted with the convenience of the new flight and accessibility of the destination.” USA 3000 already operates the route four times per week.
- Newcomer Athens Airways has started its fourth route since launching at the end of January. It now operates three daily flights between Athens (ATH) and Thessaloniki (SKG) using an ERJ145. One-way fares start from just 19 Euros plus taxes. The route is already well served by Aegean with 83 weekly departures and Olympic with 56 weekly departures. Both airlines use much larger aircraft. Click here for footage of Athens airways’ maiden Athens-Mytilene flight.
(Secondary) airports send your proposals into City Airlines!! “City Airlines business concept is to identify airports (secondary airports) located in between larger airport hubs (primary airports) and start non-stop routes to new destinations.”
Swedish regional carrier City Airline has begun flying between Gothenburg (GOT) and Nice (NCE). Flights initially operate three times per week increasing to four times weekly during the peak season using a 49-seat ERJ145. Sterling operated the route during the last two summers but with much larger 737s.
Important reasons to go there: The current Miss Italia is Miriam Leone from Catania. There’s also a new air terminal.
TUIfly.com began a new service between Allgäu-Memmingen (FMM) and Catania (CTA) in Sicily this week. Flights will operate twice weekly using a 737. The airline started services to Palermo in Sicily last December. Germany’s newest airport handled over 460,000 passengers in its first full year of operation in 2008, some 15% more than planned.
Route Recycle Bin
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 840 routes in our database which may be of interest to carriers.