Route of the week:
Kiev to Memmingen
|Staff at Memmingen dress up in traditional Bavarian “Dirndl” costume – (associated with dirndlegewand, meaning ‘maid’s dress’) to greet arriving passengers from Kiev.
Three-times weekly flights will operate using an A320. Photo Credit – Thorsten Eulert
- Wizz Air has added a new destination to its growing network. Memmingen (FMM) in southern Germany (also referred to as Munich West by Wizz Air in its booking tool), will be served thrice-weekly from Kiev (KBP). According to the airline, “This new service will provide the Ukrainian passengers with a unique low fare opportunity to reach Bavaria, one of the most exciting and beautiful regions of Germany with its marvellous landscapes, culture and history and last but not least culinary delicacies and of course beer. The new offer will also attract many Germans who wish to travel on comfortable new Airbus A320 aircraft at affordable fares to the Ukrainian capital.” The Budapest-based airline with 26 aircraft and 11 bases across Central and Eastern Europe now serves over 50 destinations and carried 6.8 million passengers in the last 12 months.
Cake of the week:
Louisville to Milwaukee
|The Louisville welcome breakfast – (we’re assured the cakes were out of this world). Gifts (a backpack containing t-shirt and toy plane) were also hand-delivered to arriving passengers from Milwaukee. Also pictured: Greg Aretakis (Midwest’s VP, planning and revenue management) and Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson (and member of the board of directors, Louisville Regional Airport Authority).|
- Midwest has chosen to go head-to-head with AirTran and Northwest by launching daily flights from its base in Milwaukee (MKE) to Los Angeles (LAX). An Embraer 190 operated by Republic fitted with 10 extra-wide Signature seats and 84 leather Saver seats will serve the route. Roundtrip fares from Milwaukee are available from $238. Midwest also returned this week to the Louisville (SDF) market with the resumption of twice-daily flights to Milwaukee using 37-seat Embraer ERJ135s. The route had operated for 16 years prior to being dropped last summer when oil prices spiked. Greg Aretakis, Vice President of Planning and Revenue Management at Midwest Airlines, said at a news conference that, “for a long time Louisville has been a part of the route map for Midwest airlines and we are very glad to be back.”
|In Mumbai, Saroj K. Datta, Jet Airways’ executive director with staff at the launch of four times weekly flights to Riyadh – its second service to Saudi Arabia (after Mumbai-Jeddah). Hungry to continue growing its international services, a second daily service from Bangkok to Mumbai will be added from 16th August. Jet Airways currently serves 18 international destinations.|
- Jet Airways has launched services to Saudi Arabia. In mid-July it began serving Jeddah (JED) from Mumbai (BOM) with daily 737-800 flights, and has now added Riyadh (RUH) to its network as well. This becomes Jet’s eighth destination in the Gulf. According to Mr. Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, CEO, Jet Airways, “Jet Airways is delighted to introduce its services to Saudi Arabia. Guests on these sectors may now enjoy the quality in-flight product, warm service and seamless connectivity that has made Jet Airways the carrier of choice on the competitive Indo-Gulf sector in a relatively short span of time.”
|Tarom makes a mighty splash at Zurich after a 12-year absence – with four times weekly flights from Bucharest increasing to six from 27 October. Pictured: Peter Gruenig, Zurich’s head of aviation marketing and Ruxandra Brutaru, Tarom’s CEO.|
- Tarom now serves the busiest airport in Switzerland from its home base at Bucharest (OTP). Four-times weekly flights to Zurich (ZRH) began this week using a 737-700. Swiss already operates the route on a daily basis. Further new routes will begin in September to Lyon and Zagreb. According to the most recent AEA data, in the first five months of 2009 Tarom’s capacity (ASKs) rose by 2%, but traffic (RPKs) fell by 17.7%. Passenger numbers fell almost 14% to 564,600 and the average load factor fell by 11.6 points to just 48.5%, the lowest of any AEA member airline. Ouch.
|Amsterdam fires the symbolic water arch over Air Arabia Maroc as it begins operations here from Casablanca. From Schiphol, flights will depart on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays (additional Tuesday service from 24 August).|
- Air Arabia Maroc has added another destination from its burgeoning Casablanca (CMN) base. Amsterdam (AMS) becomes the tenth destination the airline has launched since it started operations back in early May. The route will be served three times weekly using an A320. Royal Air Maroc currently operates 10 weekly services on the route. Air Arabia Maroc has already started tweaking its schedule. Since its launch just three months ago it has already added frequency on Brussels Charleroi and Milan Bergamo routes while the London Stansted service now appears to route via Tangier. The only remaining non-stop UK to Casablanca service is operated by Royal Air Maroc from London Heathrow.
- Ural Airlines has introduced daily flights from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) to Novokuznetsk (NOZ) using an A320. S7 already operates this route with a daily flight.
|At Austin, Dignitaries participate in the opening of Alaska airlines’ nonstop from Seattle: Captain Chris Cice, Alaska Airlines pilot; Mayor Lee Leffingwell (Austin); Jeff Butler, Alaska’s VP (customer service, airports); Roy Benear, (Austin’s senior VP, Convention & Visitors Bureau) and Mike Rollins, President, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.|
- Alaska Airlines began daily flights between Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) and Austin (AUS) in Texas this week. “Alaska Airlines has been serving Dallas/Fort Worth from Seattle since 2005, and we’re excited to be adding Austin to our network starting today,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska’s vice president of planning and revenue management on Monday (and not to be confused with the CEO of UK-based easyJet). Alaska Airlines will operate a 737-800 on the route, which is not served by any other carrier.
- Mihin Lanka has begun weekly flights from Colombo (CMB) to Gaya (GAY) and Varanasi (VNS) in India. Gaya flights operate on Sundays while Varanasi is served every Wednesday. The airline currently operates just a single A320 with 152 seats.
- Continental has re-jigged its South American network so that it now serves Rio De Janeiro (GIG) non-stop from its headquarters in Houston (IAH). Previously the service operated via Sao Paulo. The route got some unplanned news coverage this week when over 20 people were injured by sudden turbulence on the flight back to Houston, which made a medical stop in Miami, before continuing back to Texas. The service becomes the fifth non-stop service between the US and Rio. Other options are provided by American (from Miami), Delta (from Atlanta) and TAM (from Miami and New York JFK).
- This summer easyJet’s Milan Malpensa (MXP) base will be linked to 35 destinations, almost twice as many as any other airline at Italy’s second busiest airport. It recently started weekly flights to the Croatian coastal destinations of Dubrovnik (DBV) and Split (SPU). The only route it has ever dropped from Malpensa since it opened the base in March 2006 is Dortmund. This summer easyJet will be serving Dubrovnik from six bases in five countries while Split is served from four bases in three countries. Both Dubrovnik and Split handled around 1.2 million passengers in 2008.
|At Tulsa, passengers are left to make their own way onboard Frontier Airlines’ inaugural flight to Denver…|
- Frontier Airlines returned to the Tulsa (TUL) market this week when it re-started double-daily flights from Denver (DEN) operated by its subsidiary Lynx Aviation. Frontier Airlines originally began service to Tulsa in May 2005 before leaving as part of a network-wide capacity reduction in 2008. “One of the things that really made sense was to serve this market with the Bombardier Q400, which is a very fuel- efficient aircraft that gives us the size and capacity for a market like Tulsa,” said Frontier spokesman Steve Snyder. “It allows us to provide an affordable travel experience and still be profitable.”
- Hong Kong Express has begun services to Haikou (HAK) from Hong Kong (HKG). The four-times weekly flight will be operated by a 737-800 and will complement the existing daily service operated by its partner Hong Kong Airlines.
|In Panama, Cap. Jorge Álvarez Méndez, SBA’s executive chairman outlined his strategy to turn Venezuela into a major hub through continued expansion. Two-daily flights will be served using a 757-200ER.|
- Santa Barbara Airlines (SBA) of Venezuela has started flying double-daily between Caracas (CCS) and Panama City (PTY) using a 757. COPA Airlines already serves this route with three daily flights. SBA’s busiest route is to Miami which it serves double-daily with a 767. It also flies to Madrid, Funchal (Madeira) and Tenerife North in Europe.
- Tiger Airways has added Langkawi (LGK) in Malaysia to its network with the introduction of four weekly flights from Singapore (SIN) using an A320. The airline has also recently started double-daily flights to Penang (PEN) and back in March it began daily flights to Jakarta (CGK). This takes to 19 the number of destinations served by the airline from its home base, with Krabi services starting on 25 October.
|Virgin Blue staff thank Port Hedland mayor, Stan Martin for helping in the local council’s campaign to bring competitive air services to the town. The daily service between Perth and Port Hedland will use an Embraer-170.|
- Virgin Blue has expanded its presence in Western Australia by launching daily flights between Perth (PER) and Port Hedland (PHE). Virgin Blue will operate Embraer E-jets on the route, on which it will compete directly with Qantas, which operates three daily flights.
|This week, Riga gave the VIP treatment (and a Latvian folk dance welcome) to the first tourists and Japanese tourism executives to arrive here on a JAL chartered flight.|
|AeroMexico now operates six-times weekly non-stops between New Orleans and Mexico City. Speaking at the New Orleans launch, Frank Galan, AeroMexico’s VP, U.S operations, said: “For many years, New Orleans stood out as one of the top international travel destinations in the United States. The area’s resurgence as a major global market should be enhanced significantly by having regularly scheduled, non-stop international flights operating again.”|