New routes launched during the last week
(Saturday 5 December – Friday 11 December)

Route of the Week:
WestJet’s Toronto to Cozumel

Thanks to ASUR’s Alejandro Vales for these very fresh photographs. You can read about great route ideas at six ASUR’s airports in The Route Shop.
Mariachi at both ends: Passengers travelling on WestJet’s inaugural flight from Toronto to Cozumel were sent off from Canada by a local mariachi band and then greeted on the tarmac in Cozumel by a local band, which even included a guitarrón player.
  • WestJet is also this week’s busiest airline for new route launches with 10 new routes to Mexico
Start date From To WF
9 Dec 09 Regina (YQR) Cabo San Lucas (SJD) 1
6 Dec 09 Regina (YQR) Cancun (CUN) 1
7 Dec 09 Regina (YQR) Mazatlan (MZT) 1
8 Dec 09 Regina (YQR) Puerto Vallarta (PVR) 1
10 Dec 09 Saskatoon (YXE) Mazatlan (MZT) 1
11 Dec 09 Saskatoon (YXE) Puerto Vallarta (PVR) 1
7 Dec 09 Toronto (YYZ) Cancun (CUN) 5
10 Dec 09 Toronto (YYZ) Cozumel (CZM) 2
8 Dec 09 Vancouver (YVR) Puerto Vallarta (PVR) 2
7 Dec 09 Winnipeg (YWG) Cancun (CUN) 2
Source: WestJet
Image: WestJet at Regina
Regina (YQR) airport in Saskatchewan, the big winner at the Canadian end, handled just over one million passengers in 2008 while Saskatoon (YXE) John G Diefenbaker airport, the largest in the state of Saskatchewan, processed 1.14 million.

Cake of the Week:
Air Pacific’s Nadi to Hong Kong

Image: Cake of the week - Air Pacific
Cake of the Week is – yes – a cake from last week! Hooray!! The world’s 1,500 airports this week failed to muster enough resources to bake anything decent, but last week’s launch of flights on Air Pacific between Nadi in Fiji and Hong Kong are celebrated here with a beautiful cake packed with Fijian fruits which Air Pacific’s CEO John Campbell tells still tastes just as good. Very significantly, as John helps himself to a big slice, he is watched and applauded by none other than Fiji’s Prime Minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama (far left).

And the Least Convincing Santa of the Week is…

Image: Santa easyJet
… Mike Morton, Airport Director, Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield, celebrating five new low price routes with a brand new easyJet A319 and easyJet crew. Starting in April 2010 easyJet will serve Amsterdam, Barcelona, Faro, Palma and Prague with 21 departures per week from the South Yorkshire Airport and expects to carry around 300,000 on the five routes in the first year of operation, making it DSA’s largest low cost carrier. We only usually write about route launches when they actually happen but Neil Pakey, deputy CEO of Peel Airports, rang us up and more or less dictated this news to us: “There is a clear message in this that local people want to fly from their local airport and not have to trek to Heathrow or across the Pennines in needless car or train journeys. Regional airports are vital to the economic prosperity of city regions and we welcome easyJet’s massive multi-million pound investment.” (Merry Christmas guys – we know you have worked hard to get these routes.)

The rest of this week’s route launches

  • Aegean Airlines is at it again. Last week it was Madrid, this week Greece’s biggest airline began serving Vienna (VIE) from Athens (ATH). The evening flight on an A320 operates daily (except Tuesday and Saturday) and will compete directly with existing daily services provided by Olympic as well as future alliance partner Austrian.
AeroGal’s executive president Gabriela Sommerfeld was welcomed by New York JFK Terminal 4’s Chief Commercial Officer Janice Holden before cutting the ribbon with the president of Delgado Travel, Hector Delgado. Holding the ribbon is the president of the airline’s parent company Synergy Group, German Efromovich and the ambassador of Ecuador to Washington D.C., Luis Gallegos. On the right is Ecuador’s secretary of tourism, Mariano Proaño.
  • Logo: AeroGalAeroGal (also known as Aerolineas Galapagos) of Ecuador has launched daily flights from Guayaquil (GYE) to New York JFK (JFK) using a recently delivered 767. The route is already served daily by LAN Ecuador, the biggest carrier in Ecuador. AeroGal’s only other service to North America is to Miami, where it competes with American Airlines. Guayaquil is Ecuador’s largest and most populous city as well as a major port. The city’s air gateway, José Joaquín de Olmedo International airport, handled almost 3.5 million passengers through its two-year-old terminal in 2008, two million on domestic flights and the rest on international services. Madrid is currently the only European destination served non-stop from the airport (by Air Comet, Iberia and LAN) though KLM operates one-stop flights via Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
  • Air Canada has opened two new routes to Hawaii from its Calgary (YYC) base. Honolulu (HNL) will be served twice-weekly while Kahului/Maui (OGG) will be served three times weekly. Both 3,000-mile routes will be operated by 767s. This brings to 11 the number of US destinations served by Air Canada non-stop from Calgary. Its other international non-stop destinations from the airport include Cancun, Frankfurt, London Heathrow, Puerto Vallarta and Varadero (Cuba). For more details of the airline’s global network see this week’s Air Canada airline profile. Furthermore, the airline has started two new weekly (Sunday) routes from Montreal (YUL) to Fort Myers (RSW) in Florida, and Fort-de-France (FDF) on the island of Martinique.
Image: Innsbruck airport welcome ceremony for the arrival of the British Airways A319
Innsbruck’s airport director Reinhold Falch and British Airways’ regional commercial manager Katja Selle arranged a surprise welcome ceremony for the arrival of the British Airways A319. Passengers and crew were greeted with traditional Tyrolean music and a small welcome drink to keep warm.
  • British Airways has resumed flights between London Gatwick (LGW) and Innsbruck (INN). Its franchisee GB Airways operated the route on its behalf until the end of the winter season 2007, but BA now returns with a five times weekly service to confront easyJet who offer 14 weekly departures. Thomas Cook Airlines also operates twice weekly flights on the route. This brings to 14 the number of routes on which British Airways and easyJet compete head-to-head from Gatwick. The others are Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Faro, Geneva, Glasgow, Marseille, Naples, Paphos, Rome Fiumicino, Salzburg, Sharm El-Sheikh, Thessaloniki and Venice.
Image: DanubeWings
DanubeWings now links the Slovakian ski destination Poprad-Tatry with Dublin as well as Basel. This rather un-exotic shot does nevertheless nicely encapsulates the creative mix of ATR72 and wet-leased CSA 737-400s.
  • Danubewings has added weekly (Saturday) flights from Poprad-Tatry (TAT) to Dublin (DUB) using its wet-leased 737-400 while also adding weekly Poprad-Tatry (TAT) to Basel (BSL) flights using its own ATR 72s. Read this week’s country feature on Slovakia for more information.
  • KLM returns to Bali with the resumption of flights from Amsterdam (AMS) to Denpasar (DPS), operating via Singapore (SIN). Initially planned as operating just three times weekly, advanced bookings have been so good that the airline now intends to add a fourth weekly frequency from mid-January. KLM has operated services to Indonesia for the past 80 years. With the addition of Denpasar to its network, KLM now serves six destinations in South-East Asia. Denpasar is KLM’s 61st long-haul destination.
Image: Qatar Airways Malbourne Launch
The two sets of flight crew that piloted Qatar Airways’ first flight to Australia on the brand new 777-200LR were proud to be part of this major step in the airline’s rapid expansion. At the packed press conference in Melbourne, Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker clearly said something funny, which made his SVP commercial ops Marwan Koleilat smile and Victoria minister for tourism Tim Holding laugh.
  • Qatar Airways has gone down under this week with the launch of non-stop flights from Doha (DOH) to Melbourne (MEL). Initially, the route will be served with three weekly flights increasing to daily from 1 January next year. Addressing the media, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “We have been eagerly planning our entry into the Australian market for several years – and we are delighted to finally arrive here in Melbourne. Qatar Airways would like to extend its appreciation and thanks to the Australian authorities that have worked tirelessly to pave the way for Qatar Airways to begin its operations. We have been in Australia for a number of years as an offline carrier with a sales office in the heart of the city of Melbourne, but today marks an historic moment as we extend our Five Star hospitality to yet another Continent in our global network. We also look forward to starting flights to Sydney next year. We believe our award-winning Five Star hospitality across both our Business and Economy cabins will appeal to the Australian market and people from around the world for this much anticipated route. Australians are well travelled and we are delighted to facilitate travel to and from Melbourne to many cities worldwide via our Doha hub in Qatar, whether people are travelling on business or leisure.”
  • Tarom has introduced thrice-weekly flights between Bucharest Otopeni (OTP) and Belgrade (BEG) using an ATR 42-500. No other carrier currently operates this route linking the capitals of Romania and Serbia. The airline has also begun a three times weekly ATR 72 service from Bucharest to Bari (BRI) in response to local rival Carpatair’s decision to start the route at the start of the winter season using Saab 2000s.
  • Transaero continues to expand its Russian domestic network. This week it began five times weekly flights from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) to Magnitogorsk (MQF) using a 737.  Magnitogorsk is a city famous for its steel plant that processed iron ore from the nearby Magnitnaya Mountains. It is located on the Ural River some 1,400 kilometres south-east of Moscow, close to the border with Kazakhstan. UT Air already operates daily flights between the two cities but using Moscow Vnukovo airport.
Image: Viva Macau’s CEO Reg Macdonald
Viva Macau’s CEO Reg Macdonald arrived in Melbourne to attract Australians to Macau’s entertainment and casinos with these elegant showgirls as well as transporting tourists and business passengers from the Pearl River Delta to Melbourne. Again, our sincere thanks to photographer and aviation enthusiast Peter Kelly who covers great Melbourne route launch events like this.
  • Logo: Viva Macau AirlinesViva Macau has begun twice-weekly flights from Macau (MFM) to Melbourne (MEL) using a 767. This is the second new airline this week to serve Melbourne’s expanding Terminal 2 after Qatar Airways’ launch earlier in the week. Reg Macdonald, Viva Macau CEO, said “After an intensive search across the globe, Viva Macau is adding Melbourne, Australia, to our growing network. The introduction of Viva Macau direct services and our value-for-money fares between Macau and Melbourne will provide a great link for tourism and trade between these two exciting cities – Macau as the hottest destination in Asia and Melbourne as Australia’s expanding cultural and events hub – and further link our hinterland of China and expanding network with Melbourne.” He added, “Melbourne won out against numerous other points under consideration. We were impressed by Melbourne’s attractiveness as a tourist destination and market with great potential, and by the coordinated and proactive approach of the Melbourne airport and government. We are very excited about the addition of Macau-Melbourne as a great new route for Viva Macau.”


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