Route of the Week:
airBaltic’s Riga via Tallinn to Lappeenranta
|With two stunning cakes for one route, it is a tough choice not to make them cakes of the week, but anna.aero compensates by awarding airBaltic’s service from Riga via Tallinn to Lappeenranta in South Karelia, Finland the even more prestigious Route of the Week recognition. Celebrating the route from Riga with a cake depicting the much loved Finnish children’s story character Moomintroll is Helena Rudusa, member of the board of Riga International Airport, Janis Vanags airBalic’s VP corp comms and Natalie Jane Marsans, adviser to the chairman of the board of Riga airport. In Tallinn, Janis got a second piece of cake (this time with a stunning winter theme) with Erik Sakkov, member of the board of Tallinn Airport.|
- airBaltic has begun serving Lappeenranta (LPP) in Finland from its base in Riga (RIX). Flights operate four times weekly via Tallinn (TLL) using a 737-500. The Finnish airport’s only other scheduled service is to Helsinki (just under 200 kilometres away), operated three times daily (on weekdays) by Highland Airways (of Scotland) using 19-seat Jetstream 31s on behalf of Fly Lappeenranta. It is Fly Lappeenranta’s only route and last year the airport handled just 23,000 passengers.
Cake of the Week:
Alaska Airlines’ Oakland to Kahului and Kona
|This remarkable cake commemorates the launch of Alaska Airlines’ two new services from Oakland this week to the islands of Maui and Hawai’i in the state of Hawaii. The question remains if anyone had the heart to eat any of this beautifully crafted cake or if it has been left intact for further admiration.|
- Alaska Airlines introduced two new non-stop routes from Oakland (OAK) this week. Kahului (OGG) will be served four-times weekly while Kona (KOA) will be connected with three weekly flights. Both routes will be operated with 737-800s. “Hawaii has become a major market for Alaska Airlines in just a short time, thanks to the loyalty of our customers and the great service provided by our employees,” said Steve Jarvis, vice president of marketing, sales and customer experience. “We will have 59 flights a week to the four major Hawaiian Islands, and we’re offering low fares and Alaska Airlines Vacations packages that make Hawaii travel even more affordable.”
- Air Kiribati gets its first ever mention in anna.aero thanks to the launch of international services from Tarawa (TRW) to Nadi (NAN) in Fiji. Air Kiribati’s fleet consists of a CASA C-212 and a Harbin Y-12. However, to operate this new route the airline has asked Nauru-based Our Airline (formerly known as Air Nauru) to provide a 737-300. In fact, the airline started several new connections this week which can best be summarised by revealing the aircraft’s schedule linking five separate airports together. The aircraft departs Brisbane on a Saturday morning and ends up in Nadi having stopped in Honiara, Nauru and Tarawa. On Monday, the aircraft retraces its flight in the opposite direction.
- AirAsia started the first of three new Indian destinations from its main base at Kuala Lumpur (KUL). Daily flights to Kochi (COK) began this week using an A320. No other carrier operates this route at present. AirAsia (and its partner AirAsia X) now serve over 50 destinations non-stop from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia Airlines serves 62.
- Allegiant Air has added two further routes to its expanding network with the launch of twice-weekly flights between Phoenix/Mesa (AZA) and Grand Forks (GFK) in North Dakota, and between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Grand Rapids (GRR) in Michigan. “The Allegiant Air announcement to start providing service for The Grand Forks Community to the Phoenix-Mesa area this fall is truly good news for all of us,” Rich Becker, chairman of the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority, said. “This shows that our past year track-record for providing excellent low cost service to Allegiant, plus the high passenger utilization of Allegiant air service to Las Vegas has been recognized by Allegiant.”
- Russia’s newest airline and second domestic LCC, Avianova, this week began flying between Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) and Kazan (KZN). The route will be served four times per week. This brings the number of destinations served by the airline’s two A320s to seven. Based on analysis of the airline’s on-line booking tool for this week, anna.aero estimates that the average aircraft utilisation is just under eight hours with one aircraft on the ground for several hours during the afternoon each day of the week.
|flydubai celebrated its eighth inaugural flight in less than six months this week when the airline’s first flight to Sudan touched down at Khartoum International Airport. Seen here are flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith with cabin crew before the flight departed Dubai.|
- Flydubai has started its eighth route this week with the introduction of daily services from Dubai (DXB) to Khartoum (KRT) in Sudan. Competition on the route comes from Emirates (daily flights) as well as Bahrain Air and Sudan Airways who both serve the market twice weekly. The airline began operations on 1 June this year and now serves Aleppo, Alexandria, Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Djibouti and Doha as well as Khartoum. Another new route to Baku in Azerbaijan begins later this month.
- Scotland’s very own LCC, flyglobespan, has begun weekly flights from Glasgow (GLA) to Sharm El-Sheikh (SSH) in Egypt. Flights operate every Saturday until 24 April 2010. The airline began serving the Egyptian leisure centre from Edinburgh back in November 2007. This week’s inaugural flight from Glasgow reported a 100% load factor.
- Another carrier adding flights to the Canary Islands this winter is Germanwings which has introduced weekly flights from Cologne/Bonn (CGN) to Fuerteventura (FUE). The four-and-a-half hour flight operates every Saturday during the winter season on an A319. airberlin and TUIfly also operate weekly flights on this route.
- Saudi Arabian LCC Sama has re-started flights between Riyadh (RUH) and Sharjah (SHJ), having previously operated the route until mid-February this year. Flights now operate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and will compete against Air Arabia’s daily service and Nas Air’s five times weekly service. Sama already serves Sharjah three times weekly from Jeddah, where Air Arabia and Nas Air both operate daily flights.
|The new Condor service to Nassau is celebrated in Frankfurt by Bahamas Tourist Office Germany’s MD Thomas Herzog and Deputy Director Tommy Thompson as well as Heiner Wilkens, chairman of Condor, Petra Kaiser purser at Condor and Peter Schmitz, COO Fraport.|
- Condor has started a weekly service from Frankfurt (FRA) to Nassau (NAS) in the Bahamas. The Friday service is Germany’s only scheduled link with the Bahamas.
- Spirit Airlines has started service to its fourth destination in Colombia after Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin. This week it began twice-weekly flights from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Armenia (AXM) using an A319. “We are looking forward to liberating even more Colombians from high fares, not only in Armenia, but the surrounding cities of the region that are within driving distance of Armenia such as Pereira,” says Spirit’s Chief Marketing Office Barry Biffle. “We are excited to introduce our passengers from North America to Colombia’s renowned coffee triangle,” says Marilyn Manrique, Spirit Pricing Analyst and Armenia Native.” “On behalf of all of the citizens of our city and myself, I would like to express the enormous pleasure we feel knowing that for the first time in history we are receiving international commercial flights in Armenia,” said Ana Maria Arango Alvarez, Mayor of Armenia. “Air operations from the United States will invigorate the tourism and economy of our region, consolidating Armenia and Quindío as a competitive tourist destination.” “As Governor of the Department of Quindío, I celebrate the arrival of Spirit Airlines to our region,” said Julio César López Espinosa, Governor of Quindío. “With this important achievement we will contribute to Colombia’s strength as a world-class tourism destination, attracting a great number of international visitors to the country, and ensuring that Armenia, Quindío and other departments and municipalities strengthen their local economies.”
|We have no idea what this Dutch news coverage says about Turkish Airlines’ launch of services to Amsterdam from the newly renovated Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen airport, but they all seem to have a great time and the Turkish ambassador to the Netherlands even attended the celebrations.|
- Turkish Airlines has responded to the rapid growth of low-cost rivals Pegasus and SunExpress by expanding its network from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW), Istanbul’s second, but fast-growing airport. Until now, the national carrier had only operated domestic flights from the airport but this week saw the launch of seven international routes and an additional domestic route. Amsterdam (AMS), Cologne/Bonn (CGN), London Stansted (STN), Moscow Domodedovo (DME) and Stuttgart (STR) will all be served daily, while Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) gets four weekly flights and Hannover (HAJ) three. All of these routes (except Moscow) are already served by either Pegasus and/or SunExpress. Adana (ADA) gets a double-daily service to compete against Pegasus’ three daily flights.
|With seats on Virgin Atlantic’s new San Juan service being allocated to Virgin Holidays’ cruise passengers, there was reason for Virgin Holidays’ MD Leslie Peden and staff to celebrate with a cake in their dedicated London Gatwick lounge, the v-room.|
- Virgin Atlantic has added San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico to its route network. Weekly flights began this week from London Gatwick (LGW) via Antigua (ANU). Steve Ridgway, Chief Executive of Virgin Atlantic commented: “We are delighted to be flying to Puerto Rico, popularly known as the Island of Enchantment, this winter. This colourful, diverse and culturally unique island is a welcome addition to our Caribbean programme. From the stunning beaches and tropical rainforests to the charming colonial city of San Juan, there is something for every holidaymaker. The launch of these services allows our sister company Virgin Holidays to offer a range of fantastic cruise holidays from the island, meaning that even more Virgin travellers can enjoy what this beautiful island has to offer.”
- WestJet has added another six new ‘winter sun’ routes to its network this week. Puerto Vallarta (PVR) in Mexico will be served from Abbotsford (YXX), Comox (YQQ) and Prince George (YXS) while Punta Cana (PUJ) in the Dominican Republic can now be reached from Ottawa (YOW) and Thunder Bay (YQT). Finally, Victoria (YYJ) is now linked to Honolulu (HNL). All of these routes operate weekly (Saturday).
|To the sound of steel pans: The first passengers to Aruba were sent off from Stockholm with both cake and a Caribbean music performance by the Swedish steel band Hot Pans.|
- Thomas Cook Airlines Scandinavia this week started flying between Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) and Aruba (AUA). The service will operate once every two weeks on behalf of its Swedish tour operator Ving, using an A330-200. This is the Ving’s first destination in the Lesser Antilles, already serving the Caribbean through the Dominican Republic.
News from last week…
|While Ryanair announces its complete withdrawal from Basel, easyJet has identified potential in the market and last week launched nine-times weekly services to Düsseldorf. This is also easyJet’s first route to the German airport.|
|Targeting football fans, business and leisure: easyJet also launched Manchester-Munich services last week. Here, the easyJet crew is welcomed to Munich by the airport’s airline liaison manager Oliver Dersch.|