Route of the Week:
Southwest’s Boston to Baltimore/Washington and Chicago Midway
|“Beantown” is flooded (literally) with celebrations as Southwest makes a first appearance. After a welcome baptism and news conference at Logan’s Terminal E (delivered by Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly), dignitaries are carted off on a water taxi to the Logan water transportation terminal for a gigantic water cannon display over the river.|
- Southwest has arrived in Boston (BOS) making it the 67th city that the airline currently serves. Initially just two destinations, Baltimore-Washington (BWI) and Chicago Midway (MDW), will be served non-stop, each with five daily flights. However, the airline is offering direct of connecting services to a further 48 destinations across its network. “Today is a great day for the people of Southwest Airlines as well as New England travellers. With our new service here at Logan, Southwest can fully serve the entire Boston area,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s Chairman, President and CEO. “Finally all Bostonians can experience our unmatched record in customer service, our low fares, and our legendary on-time service, all with the convenience of being located at Logan’s Terminal E.” Direct competition on these two new routes comes from AirTran (on both routes) and Delta (to Baltimore) while American, JetBlue and United all serve Chicago O’Hare from Boston. Southwest also began another new route this week from Phoenix (PHX) in Arizona to Little Rock (LIT) in Arkansas. Flights operate daily.
|The Hilton, Colombo was the setting for AirAsia’s launch of daily flights here from Kuala Lumpur. Guests included H.E. Rosli Ismail, High Commissioner of Malaysia to Sri Lanka, Honorable Hussein A. Bhaila, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (Sri Lanka) and Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism.|
|On Wednesday AirAsia announced it will venture into the Far East five times weekly (we wondered what the camel was for) from Kuala Lumpur to Abu Dhabi (starting 23rd November). No wonder fares start so low – AED99 (from just £17). CEO Azran Osman-Rani said: “This shows our determination in providing truly low fares on our low-cost, long-haul services across the globe as we expand into the Middle East. We see this as an untapped market with strong economic potential.”|
- Asia’s largest and most successful low-cost airline AirAsia has now added Sri Lanka to its ever growing list of destinations served. Daily flights from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Colombo (CMB) began this week using an A320. Both Malaysian Airlines and SriLankan already operate the route, each with four weekly flights. The only other LCCs serving the Sri Lankan capital are Air Arabia (from Sharjah) and Jet Lite (from Chennai).
|Camilla Solheim, Norwegian’s area manager (foreign markets) and Mark Evenden, DAA’s aviation marketing manager at the launch of new services from Dublin to Copenhagen and Oslo services (today).|
- Norwegian is continuing to add to local rival SAS’s woes by adding more new routes from both Denmark and Norway. This week saw the start of new services from its Copenhagen (CPH) base to Dublin (DUB), Rome Fiumicino (FCO), Vienna (VIE) and Warsaw (WAW). However, the Copenhagen – Warsaw route was previously operated by the airline from its Warsaw base until the end of last summer. On the Rome route competition will be provided by Cimber Sterling, SAS and Transavia.com while on Warsaw LOT and SAS provide existing services. From the airline’s home base in Oslo (OSL) it has started new routes to Dublin (DUB) and Vienna (VIE). Norwegian briefly served Dublin from its Warsaw base back in 2006 but this is the airline’s first appearance in the Austrian capital. Competition on the Dublin route comes from SAS while Austrian will lose its current monopoly on the Vienna route. All of these new Norwegian routes will be served thrice-weekly except the Copenhagen – Warsaw route which will be served daily (except Saturday).
- China Eastern has become the third Chinese airline (after Air China and China Southern) to be allowed to fly to Kathmandu (KTM) in Nepal. Flights from Kunming (KMG) will operate thrice-weekly. Tourism entrepreneurs expect China Eastern’s Nepal operation to boost tourist arrivals from China. According to the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) tourist arrivals from China declined by 2% in 2008. The NTB data showed that 14,706 Chinese came to Nepal in 2008 against 14,426 in 2007. However, in the first seven months of 2009 air arrivals are up by 4%.
|In Hyderabad, Sudheer Raghavan, Jet Airways’ chief commercial officer announces daily flights to Dubai.|
- Jet Airways has begun a new daily service to Dubai (DXB) from Hyderabad (HYD). This becomes the airline’s fifth daily flight to the Gulf city as it already operates twice-daily from Mumbai and daily from Chennai and Delhi. According to Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, CEO, Jet Airways, “With the growing popularity of Dubai as a leading business and leisure destination, there has been an increasing demand for enhanced air connectivity to the Gulf emirate from Southern India. We are confident that the new service from Hyderabad will be well-appreciated by travellers and will complement our existing services from India.”
- Donbassaero Airlines of the Ukraine has started weekly flights from Kiev (KBP) to Gyandzha (KVD) in Azerbaijan. The two hour 40 minute flight will operate every Monday using an A320. Gyandzha is the second biggest city in Azerbaijan after Baku, which the airline already serves from Donetsk. According to the airline’s website Donbassaero operates a fleet of 10 aircraft; four 150-seat A320s and six 102-seat Yakolev Yak-42s. The Donetsk-based airline is the official carrier for the Ukrainian football team Shakhtar Donetsk which in May this year won the last ever UEFA Cup final in Istanbul by defeating German side Werder Bremen 2-1.
- SA Airlink has begun international services from Nelspruit-Kruger Mpumalanga (MPQ) in South Africa to Livingstone (LVI) in Zambia. Flights operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday using a Jetstream 41.
- TACA has introduced flights to Cali (CLO) in Colombia this week. A four-times weekly service to/from Guayaquil (GYE) in Ecuador will facilitate easy onward connections to/from Lima in Peru.