Route of the Week:
Pacific Blue’s Brisbane to Hamilton
|Kiwiana characters launch Pacific Blue’s new services from Brisbane to Hamilton. They were born in Otorohanga- the official Kiwiana town of New Zealand, situated in the Waikato Region (same region as Hamilton).|
|Passengers on Pacific Blue’s recent inaugural Dunedin-Queenstown service also helped to raise over $1500 (£750) for the yellow-eyed penguin Trust (making fools of themselves clearly for a good cause).|
- Pacific Blue has added two further international routes connecting Australia and New Zealand. Sydney (SYD) is now connected to Queenstown (ZQN) with two weekly flights while Brisbane (BNE) is linked with Hamilton (HLZ) three times per week. Air New Zealand (five weekly flights) and Qantas (three weekly flights) already operate between Sydney and Queenstown, while no other carrier operates the Hamilton to Brisbane route.
Cake of the Week:
jetBlue’s Boston to Baltimore/Washington
- jetBlue has entered the highly competitive Boston (BOS) to Baltimore/Washington (BWI) market by starting four daily flights with its 100-seat Embraer E190s. America’s two other major LCCs also operate in the route; AirTran with 57 weekly flights and Southwest with 32. Southwest only entered the market last month when it started operations at Boston for the first time. In August jetBlue carried almost 2.2 million passengers, an increase of 4.4% on the last August. The number of flights increased by 7.7% but the average sector length flown has fallen almost 6% to 1,079 miles. The average load factor fell slightly from 87.1% a year ago to 86.6%. In the first eight months of 2009 jetBlue’s passenger numbers have remained unchanged at 15.4 million.
|St Etienne airport’s President, Andre Mounier hosts the inaugural ceremony for Ryanair services to Porto.|
- Ryanair returns to Saint Etienne (EBU) airport near Lyon this week. It will operate twice weekly (Wednesday and Sunday) flights to Porto (OPO). Saint Etienne was last used by the airline in 2005 when it ceased its London Stansted service which had begun back in May 1998. This brings to 17 the number of destinations served by Ryanair from its new Porto base. In 2005 Saint Etienne airport handled over 100,000 passengers (mostly on the Stansted route) but in 2008 the figure had fallen to below 10,000 the majority on charter flights.
- Aegean Airlines has begun serving Istanbul (IST) from its base at Athens (ATH). Flights operate daily using an A320. The route is already served twice daily by Olympic while Turkish Airlines operates 18 weekly flights between the two cities. Athens airport reported a 2% increase in passenger numbers in July, though this was driven primarily by an increase in domestic traffic of 8.3%. International traffic was down 1.2%. Aegean recently reported passenger growth of 9% for the first six months of 2009, carrying almost three million passengers. Domestic demand was up 3% to 1.7 million passengers but international traffic increased by an impressive 20% to 1.3 million. According to the airline international traffic at Greek airports during this period was down 10% indicating that Aegean has gained considerable market share over its competitors. International growth was supported by the launch of new routes to Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Paphos, Paris and Venice. At the start of the winter season London flights will transfer from Stansted to Heathrow. In May the airline was accepted as a future member of the Star Alliance.
- Aer Lingus has launched another new route from its new base at London Gatwick (LGW). Vilnius (VNO), the capital of Lithuania, will initially be served with three weekly flights before increasing to daily at the start of the winter season. The only other scheduled service between the UK and Vilnius is provided by Lithuanian start-up airline Star1 which began four-times weekly flights from London Stansted in July using a 737-700. Vilnius has been served by Aer Lingus since May 2007 from its home base in Dublin. This summer the airline is operating three weekly flights from the Irish capital. As the airline has increased its short-haul flying activity it has reduced its long-haul (transatlantic services). Last August long-haul flights accounted for 45% of the airline’s ASKs (available seat kilometres). Last months this proportion had fallen to 38%. So despite a 7.7% increase in passenger numbers in August to 1.09 million, capacity as measured by ASKs was down 0.7%. Network load factor increased by 2.4 percentage points to 83.0%.
- AirAsia added three new routes to its network this week. From Kota Kinabalu (BKI) in Malaysia it has begun daily flights to Brunei (BWN). The scheduled flight time is just 40 minutes as the two airports are just 165 kilometres apart. Also started this week are two more routes from Malaysian regional airports to Singapore (SIN). Miri (MYY) will get four weekly flights while Tawau (TWU) will be linked thrice-weekly. AirAsia now serves 14 destinations from Singapore; seven in Malaysia, five in Indonesia and two in Thailand, generated over 400 weekly flights to and from Singapore. Kathleen Tan, Regional Head of Commercial, AirAsia, said “We are proud to open-up new markets as these sectors are not served. Students, families and foreign workers can now take advantage of our low fares and renew their social ties more frequently or even indulge in leisure holidays to both countries. There are countless attractions in East Malaysia and Singapore as it entails a wonderful journey of discovery into its culture, heritage and adventure. Our recent initiative to remove the administration fee reiterates AirAsia’s commitment to offer big value so everyone can fly following our move to abolish fuel surcharge last year.”
- Air India Express has added another route to the Middle East. From this week the airline is flying three times per week between Amritsar (ATQ) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) using a 737-800. Ahmad Al Haddabi, Senior Vice President of Airport Operations at ADAC, said: “ADAC is delighted to offer its customers greater connectivity and to be part of the growth of our long standing airline customer. India is one of our largest markets and passenger traffic is increasing every month, showing that there is strong demand for this service. ADAC is extremely pleased to support the growth of another low cost carrier at Abu Dhabi International Airport, giving our passengers even more reach and options for travel.” Air India and Air India Express now connect Abu Dhabi with nine destinations in India with 36 weekly flights.
- Bahrain Air is complementing its existing thrice-weekly service to Jeddah with a new four-times weekly service between Bahrain (BAH) and Riyadh (RUH). There will be a single flight on Wednesdays and Fridays and two flights on Sunday. Gulf Air currently operates 10 weekly flights between the two cities while Saudi Arabian Airlines offers three weekly flights. Bahrain Air now serves 17 destinations non-stop from Bahrain with two further destinations, Baghdad and Najaf.
- SkyExpress of Russia (not to be confused with now defunct SkyEurope of Slovakia) has begun another route from its base at Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) airport. It will now serve Krasnodar (KRR) daily. This was one of four routes launched last week by Avianova, a new Russian low-cost carrier. This brings to 10 the number of domestic destinations served by Sky Express which began operations in January 2007. In the first six months of 2009 the airline carried 301,286 passengers, making it Russia’s seventh busiest domestic airline. Aeroflot and S7 both carried just over 1.4 million passengers during the same period followed by UTair with 1.34 million. SkyExpress has also carried over 75,000 passengers in the first half of this year on international charter flights. The airline operates a small fleet of 737-300s and -500s.