Route of the Week:
Gulf Air’s Bahrain to Baghdad
|There’s a strong turnout of dignitaries at Baghdad International Airport to mark Gulf Air’s inaugural flight from Bahrain (rightly so – how many carriers are making this possible?) Officials included: Bahrain’s ambassador to Iraq, Salah Al Malki; Bahrain civil aviation undersecretary Capt. Abdulrahman AlGhoud; Iraq’s ambassador to Bahrain, Ghassan Mohsen Hussain and Gulf Air CEO Samer Majali. The carrier also plans to launch services to Najaf and Erbil in Northern Iraq from 15 September.|
- Gulf Air has once more resumed services from Bahrain (BAH) to Baghdad (BGW). This time there will be five weekly flights using an A320. Local rival Bahrain Air was due to start operating the same route last week, but this has now been delayed until further notice. Gulf Air recently welcomed a new CEO when Samer Majali took over from Bjorn Naf, having previously been CEO at Royal Jordanian.
Cake of the Week:
airBaltic’s Riga to Pskov
|Janis Vanags, (airBaltic’s vice president corporate communications) and Natalija Dzeina Marsane (adviser to the chairman of the Board of Riga airport) celebrate airBaltic’s new services from Riga to Pskov.|
- airBaltic has commenced twice-weekly flights from Riga (RIX) to Pskov (PKV) in Russia. Pskov, located in Western Russia close to the border with Latvia is less than 300 kilometres from Riga. Flights will be operated by a Fokker 50. According to OAG data Pskov airport’s only other current scheduled services are to Moscow Vnukovo which are operated by Atlant-Soyuz Airlines. However, the website booking tool of the airline does not include Pskov among its destinations.
Cake of the Week (Runners up): BMI’s 10th anniversary at Leeds Bradford
|It’s not a new route but bmi regional celebrating a decade of services at Leeds Bradford with Tony Hallwood, LBIA’s commercial and aviation development director.|
|O’Hare’s fire trucks race in to welcome Etihad – in iconic Formula 1 livery. The A340-600 will serve the route from Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, increasing to six flights a week from 31 October and a daily operation from 1st January. Pictured: Geert Boven, Etihad Airways’ executive vice president (customer services and airport operations); Rosemarie Andolino, Chicago airport commissioner; Rohan Alce, Etihad Airways’ manager (USA).|
- Etihad added Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to its network this week. Initially flights from Abu Dhabi (AUH) will operate three times per week increasing to six flights per week from 1st November. A daily service will be launched on 1st January. Etihad becomes the first of the ‘MEB3’ airlines to serve Chicago and it becomes the airline’s second destination in the USA after New York JFK which it stared back in 2005.
|Portuguese PM José Sócrates officially opened Ryanair’s 33rd base in Porto, advocating its importance for driving tourism in the region. He said: ” This operational base now confirms Porto and Northern Portugal as an even greater tourist destination, but will also strengthen the central role of Porto in the North-West of the Iberian Peninsula. It is also a proof of confidence in the Portuguese economy and the recognition of the quality of our infrastructures and particularly in the Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport.”|
- Well it’s been a few weeks but Ryanair is back on the new route trail. This week sees the launch of its Porto (OPO) base in Portugal which it celebrates with four new routes to Basel (BSL), Eindhoven (EIN), Lille (LIL) and Tours (TUF). Eindhoven will be served with four weekly flights, Basel and Lille three each and Tours just two.
|Bill Davidson, president of Austin Business Travel Association highlights Austin airport’s new Alaska Airlines service to San Jose with a bag of Nerds (US sweets) which were handed out to every passenger. The flight is nicknamed the “Nerd Bird” because it connects two high-tech markets… (Photo: Sandy Stevens, ABIA)|
- Alaska Airlines began service this week between San Jose (SJC) in California and Austin (AUS) in Texas. A 737-700 will operate the route. American Airlines already serves the market with two daily flights. Alaska Airlines is so confident about the success of the route that it has already announced a second daily flight on the route starting on 14 March 2010.
- Cimber Sterling continues to add more new routes from its Copenhagen (CPH) base. This week saw the launch of weekly flights to Funchal (FNC) on the island of Madeira and Tenerife Sur (TFS) in Spain. Both of these routes will be served by one of the airline’s ex-Sterling 737s. Another new route also started this week between Billund (BLL) and Paris CDG (CDG ). This will be flown daily (except Saturday) using one of the airline’s 50-seat CRJ-200s. The route is already served daily by British Airways with flights operated by franchise partner Sun-Air.
- Delta/Northwest has added a new connection from the latter’s Minneapolis/St Paul (MSP) base. Birmingham (BHM) in Alabama will now be served daily using a CRJ900. No other carrier currently serves this market non-stop.
|From Helsinki, Finncomm has opened a service to Norrkoping, with six-times weekly flights using an ATR42 and ATR72.|
- Finncomm has started a new route from Helsinki (HEL) to Norrköping (NRK) in Sweden. The six-times weekly flight will be operated as a codeshare with Finnair and flown by an ATR72. Norrköping’s only other international routes are currently operated by Cimber Sterling to Copenhagen and Munich. It becomes the third Swedish airport to be served from Helsinki after Gothenburg and Stockholm. Helsinki airport director Juha-Pekka Pystynen says, “The route further improves Sweden’s already smooth connections to the world and especially Asia. It also offers Finnish companies fast and efficient connections to Sweden’s business centres.” According to Pystynen, the Swedes have quickly learned to use Helsinki Airport as a transit stop on trips to Asia. “They form the largest foreign passenger segment using the airport. Last year, Swedish passengers took well over half a million flights to Helsinki Airport.” he says.
|On arrival in Djibouti (in the Horn of Africa), Ghaith Al Ghaith (flydubai’s CEO) and Djibouti Minister of Equipment and Transport, H.E.M Ali Hassan Bahdon officially open their latest service from Dubai. Pictured with them are flydubai cabin crew members.|
- One of this year’s fastest-growing new airlines, flydubai, has added Djibouti (JIB). The three and a quarter hour flights will operate every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday to and from Dubai (DXB). Djibouti, a former French colony bordered by Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, already has flights to Dubai operated by Daallo Airlines, Djibouti Airlines and Jubba Airway.
|Jet Airways kicks off in Kochi with an inaugural reception – led by A.C.K. Nair – airport director, in the presence of Dinesh Kumar, senior manager, CIAL; Anil Srinivasan, Jet Airways’ station manager (Kerala) and Raghu Vancheeshwaran, Jet Airways’ airport manager.|
|Arriving in Sharjah… the start of new daily services.|
- Jet Airways continues to expand its network to the Middle East with the launch of daily flights from Kochi (COK) to Sharjah (SHJ) using a 737-800. This is the airline’s first route to Sharjah and fourth to the Middle East from Kochi after Doha, Kuwait and Muscat. The Kochi to Sharjah route is already served by Air Arabia (twice daily), Air India Express (daily) and Indian Airlines (daily).
- LAN Peru has introduced twice-weekly (Wednesday and Sunday) services from Lima (LIM) to Punta Cana (PUJ) in the Dominican Republic. The route will be served by a 767-300. The only other link between Lima and the Dominican Republic is operated by thrice-weekly by TACA to Santo Domingo.
- Pacific Blue, the New Zealand based subsidiary of Australia’s Virgin Blue has added two further routes between Australia and New Zealand. Starting this week there are now thrice-weekly services between Dunedin (DUD) and Brisbane (BNE), and between Hamilton (HLZ) and Sydney (SYD). Both routes will be flown with 737-800s.
|Tarom is the only carrier to connect Bucharest Otopeni with Lyon. Toasting the newly created service: Bernard Bernand, director, Aéroports de Lyon and Gabriela Bordea, Tarom’s executive vp, marketing & sales (Copyright: JF Marin / Aéroports de Lyon).|
- Tarom may be struggling to fill more than half of its seats this year but that has not prevented the airline with going ahead and launching a new route from its Bucharest Otopeni (OTP) base. This week saw the start of five-times weekly services to Lyon (LYS), a route not currently served by any airline. A previously announced new route to Zagreb appears to have been shelved for now.
- TUIfly.com has decided to take on both Austrian and germanwings by launching non-stop flights between Cologne/Bonn (CGN) and Vienna (VIE). On weekdays there will be two daily flights with an additional service on Sunday. Both Austrian and germanwings serve the route with three daily flights. For germanwings it was one of the airline’s launch routes back in October 2002. According to destatis data the route experienced passenger numbers of 308,000 in both 2007 and 2008.
- Turkish Airlines continues to expand its global presence. This week it started flights to Jakarta (CGK) in Indonesia from Istanbul (IST). The five-times weekly flights go via Singapore and will be operated by a mix of A330s and A340s.
- United has had a busy week at Chicago O’Hare (ORD). It launched three new routes to El Paso (ELP) in Texas, Little Rock (LIT) in Arkansas and Huntsville (HSV) in Alabama. The first two will be operated by partner SkyWest while the Huntsville route will be flown by Mesa. All three routes will use either CRJ-200s or CRJ-700s and will be served either twice or three-times daily. Interestingly all three routes are already served by American Airlines for whom Chicago is also a major hub. Last month United also began two new routes from California to Pittsburgh (PIT). Daily flights from Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) began in mid-August replacing daily service provided up until then by fellow Star Alliance member US Airways on both routes.
- Air Arabia has started twice-weekly (Tuesday, Saturday) flights from Sharjah (SHJ) to the holy city of Medina (MED). “Air Arabia is pleased to introduce service to Medina during the Holy Month of Ramadan,” said AK Nizar, Head of Commercial Department, Air Arabia. “There is an extremely high level of demand among Muslim pilgrims for value-for-money service to Medina, especially during Hajj. We are confident that Air Arabia’s direct flights to Medina will offer greater convenience for all those travelling to the city, especially pilgrims performing Hajj and Umrah, the Islamic pilgrimage.” Medina, with a population of 1.3 million, is one of the largest cities in western Saudi Arabia. Every year over three million people visit Medina as part of Hajj, the largest annual pilgrimage in the world.
- Kenya Airways has launched flights from Nairobi (NBO) to Sir Seretese Khama International Airport serving Gaborone (GBE) in Botswana. The thrice-weekly flights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays will be flown by a 737 and operated as a codeshare with Air Botswana. Group CEO Titus Naikuni also expressed optimism that this new route, “will enjoy support from the people of Botswana who can now enjoy the tremendous advantage of our network and that of our Skyteam partners.”