New routes launched during the last week
(Saturday 21 November – Friday 27 November):

Route of the Week:
United Airways’ Dhaka to London Gatwick

Prior to United Airways’ first departure from London Gatwick to Dhaka, passengers and the crew gathered in the check-in area for a photo opportunity to commemorate this historical moment in the young airline’s history.
  • United Airways of Bangladesh (not to be confused with United Airlines of the United States) has launched its first intercontinental flight – a twice-weekly service from the country capital Dhaka (DAC) to London Gatwick (LGW). The service is operated using an MD83, stopping en route in Dubai (DXB) and Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen (SAW). The airline is in the process of acquiring another MD83 and by April 2011, it plans to operate a 767-300ER on the London route. At that point, the route will only require a stop in Dubai. Biman Bangladesh Airlines currently provides competition with its service to London Heathrow (LHR). The first flight out of London Gatwick this week was fully booked, an achievement for an airline that only recently has expanded internationally. We are grateful to Mr Shahjahan Hasib, United Airways’ director international operations for supplying us with information and photos.

Cake of the Week:
Star1’s Vilnius to Milan Malpensa

The young Lithuanian airline Star1’s staff treated passengers with Italian nibbles and prosecco when checking in at Vilnius airport for the airline’s first flight to Milan Malpensa. With only a tiny bit of imagination, the plate of buns turns into a cake, making it worthy of winning Cake of the Week. Read more about Star1 in this week’s airline analysis.
  • Lithuania’s Star1 Airlines this week restarted Lithuanian air links with Italy, which had not existed since April this year when airBaltic suspended its Vilnius (VNO) to Milan Malpensa (MXP) route as part of downscaling its Vilnius base. The route had previously also been operated by flyLAL. Star1 will fly the route twice weekly out of its Vilnius base. See this week’s airline analysis for more information about Star1 Airlines. The route launch was welcomed by Sergio Baronchelli, president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania who said that “direct flights to Milan, which is a major business centre in Italy, are of utmost importance for the members of our Association in order to maintain mutually beneficial close business relationships”.
  • The South African low-cost carrier 1time (see this week’s airline analysis) has commenced flights from its Johannesburg (JNB) base to Livingstone (LVI) using its 132-seat MD87 aircraft. The Zambian city by the Victoria Falls will be served in competition with British Airways’ daily flights (operated by Comair) and South African Airways’ eight weekly flights.
  • Two airlines have this week started weekly services between Düsseldorf (DUS) and Dubai (DXB). Both Lufthansa and airberlin will operate this service on Thursdays, meaning that Düsseldorf now has four departures to Dubai that day of the week; the other two being on Emirates. Both the Lufthansa and airberlin flights are full charter services operated on behalf of the German cruise company AIDA and are not to be found in the airlines’ schedules.
Image: Ryanair @ Bratislava
Bratislava airport was decorated with French flags to celebrate the new Ryanair route to Paris Beauvais, one of three new Ryanair routes launched across Europe this week.
  • Ryanair has this week launched three new routes, two of which are between Spain and Italy. Madrid (MAD) to Trapani (TPS) is operated four times a week while the Pisa (PSA) to Gran Canaria (LPA) route (one of Ryanair’s longest at 4h 20 min and 2,900 km) is operated twice weekly. The third Ryanair route this week is between two airports of which neither is a base. The capital cities of France and Slovakia are linked with a four times weekly Paris Beauvais (BVA) to Bratislava (BTS) service. SkyEurope used to operate between Bratislava and Paris Orly from August 2003 until the carrier’s demise earlier this year.
Image: Air Asia X celebrate new route
Mohammed Al Bulooki, VP airline marketing and aeronautical revenue Abu Dhabi Airports Company, and Azran Osman-Rani, CEO Air Asia X, celebrated the new route with a lot of local flavour (we appreciate that it must have been difficult to get this perfect photo when animals were involved). It should also be very clear what the lowest fare is on the new flights.
  • AirAsia X has launched its five-times weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Abu Dhabi (AUH). The route is operated in competition with Etihad, which operates six flights a week.
  • Arik Air of Nigeria has started serving London Heathrow (LHR) from Abuja (ABV) five-times weekly. The almost 4,800 km route is operated using 737-800 aircraft in competition with British Airways’ daily flights with 777 aircraft. Arik Air already serves Heathrow from its main hub in Lagos. The African oil nation, the most populous country in Africa, has strong cultural and VFR links with the UK.
V Australia’s first flight to Asia, Brisbane to Phuket, was seen off from Brisbane by Thai ladies in traditional costume. VIP guests included INXS musician Kirk Pengilly, surfer Layne Beachley, TV presenter Tania Zaetta and fashion designer Peter Morrissey.
  • Phuket (HKT) has this week got another new route from Australia. Last week’s Pacific Blue route from Perth is this week complemented by its sister airline V Australia’s new twice-weekly service from Brisbane (BNE). V Australia is the only airline to fly the route, which is operated using the airline’s 777-300ER aircraft configured in three classes. Virgin Blue’s CEO Brett Godfrey commented “With our first flight full to overflowing it’s obvious that Queenslanders have been waiting sometime for a direct service to Phuket and V Australia is pleased to be filling that gap.” There has been a recent Thai focus in Brisbane, as we only recently reported on Thai Airways having upgraded its Bangkok to Brisbane route to a non-stop service.
Image: Porter Aircraft
Now 21 weekly! (and previously seasonal and only at weekends). Photo efficiently provided by Jackie Lamothe, advisor, strategic planning and development, Aéroport international Jean-Lesage de Québec.
  • Porter Airlines has launched a route from its Toronto City (YTZ) base to Quebec (YQB) with 21 weekly departures. The Q400 operator has previously operated the route seasonally and on weekends only, but with the route now upgraded to year-round, high frequency service, we at consider it worthy of being referred to as a new route.
Exclusive photos directly from Kansai International Airport this morning: Jeju Air’s launch of services from Seoul Gimpo. We have been informed that the sign reads “Congratulations to Jeju Air; inauguration of daily KIX-Gimpo service”. Local media attended and filmed the aircraft taking off.
  • Jeju Air of South Korea today (Friday) started daily 737-800 services from Seoul Gimpo (GMP) to Osaka Kansai (KIX). The airline’s only other route to Gimpo is from its main base on Jeju Island, making this week’s route launch the airline’s first international route from Gimpo, an airport that only offers domestic services and regional flights to city destinations in Japan and China. Jeju Air does also serve Osaka Kansai from Seoul Incheon.

Last week’s launch…

Image: TACA launch to Cancun
Last week’s TACA launch to Cancun was celebrated in San Salvador. Mexico’s ambassador to El Salvador, Leandro Arellano, and Ricardo Granillo, TACA’s regional sales director, cut the ribbon for the inaugural daily A320 service.


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