Route of the Week:
AirTran’s Atlanta to Nassau
|The Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marching Band greets yesterday’s arrival from Atlanta. The Bahamas minister of tourism and aviation, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, and AirTran’s Matthew Klein, director of pricing and distribution, make the traditional exchange of gifts watched by Janice Antonson, VP Marketing & Communications Nassau Airport Development Company. Photos by Derek Smith. (anna.aero is very grateful to Shonalee Johnson, manager, communications, Nassau Airport Development Co. who stayed up overnight to make sure you got to see these pictures in time.)|
- AirTran has launched four new routes this week from three of its hubs. Orlando (MCO) is now linked with Key West (EYW), while all three hubs Orlando, Atlanta (ATL) and Baltimore/Washington (BWI) receive services to Nassau (NAS) in the Bahamas. Both Key West and Nassau are new destinations to AirTran. The Atlanta service is operated daily; all others four times weekly. Key West receives its first service from Orlando, while AirTran will experience competition on the Nassau routes. From Orlando, the route is also served by Bahamasair and JetBlue, from Atlanta, competition is provided by Delta and from the Washington area, US Airways provides indirect competition from Washington Reagan.
Cake of the Week
flybe’s Newquay to London Gatwick
|OK, this is not a new birth, but a one-year-old. Newquay and Flybe have just celebrated a year of London Gatwick services. Mike Rutter, Flybe’s CCO tells us: “We’re pleased the airport marked this anniversary of our direct route announcement – and with such a magnificent cake later enjoyed by our passengers ¬- since Flybe entered the market (in competition with Air Southwest) the number of passengers flying to Gatwick has increased 57%, a real and tangible benefit for Cornwall.”|
|Arrival in Kinshasa – an important development that gets an audience with none other than Adolphe Muzito, Congo’s Prime Minister. A press conference was held with Tareq Shadi, head of European stations (far left), Mahmud Berbash, station manager at Kinshasa (left), Saeed Vazir, owner of Jeffery Travels and GSA of Afriqiyah in Kinshasa (far right) and Mohamed Elmishikhy, international relations and organisation manager (right).|
- The fast-growing Libyan airline Afriqiyah, one of two state-owned carriers in Libya, has launched a new thrice-weekly service from Tripoli (TIP) to Kinshasa (FIH) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congolese capital city, which has a population of an entire 10 million, will be served with the airline’s 112-seater A319s. Afriqiyah has several further route launches announced for the coming year, including Beijing and Manila.
|The first international flight ever at Rotorua: Upon landing on the airport on New Zealand’s North Island on arrival from Sydney, the Air New Zealand passengers and crew were greeted with a water cannon salute followed by a Maori challenge and welcome. Thanks to Jacky James at Shine PR for this assistance. Crazy Jacky is doing an Ironman quest which you can read all about at www.ironjack.co.nz.|
- This week has seen a historic trans-Tasman launch from Rotorua (ROT). Air New Zealand is now linking the city on New Zealand’s North Island twice weekly with its first international destination – Sydney (SYD). The airport recently had its runway extended to accommodate aircraft of the size of the A320 that will be used for this service. Air New Zealand already operates domestic services from across the country to Rotorua under its regional Air New Zealand Link brand. Rotorua Airport’s CEO George White comments: “We have been working towards this for nearly a decade. It has taken a while, but it has been important for us to get it right,” he says. The airport’s chairman Neil Oppatt shared some of the forecasted economic benefits: “Our estimates indicate that the Trans Tasman flights will ultimately translate to an increased household income of between $1.8 and 12.3 million across the board, and potentially the creation of between 70 and 130 new jobs”.
- Colombian carrier AeroRepública now operates to its first destination in Ecuador. Panama’s Copa Airlines’ sister airline now flies daily from its Bogotá (BOG) hub to Quito (UIO), the capital of its southern neighbour country, using E-190s. The Ecuadorian market is AeroRepública’s third international country market for scheduled services, as it since previously serves Panama and Venezuela.
|The passengers on airBaltic’s first flight BT693 to Paris were given Christmas tree decorations in the airline’s colours as memory of the first flight between the two cities in almost a year. airBaltic’s colours are to be seen much more in Vilnius for some time ahead, with four additional route launches in the pipeline.|
- airBaltic is again increasing its presence on the Lithuanian market. The reason given is that the airport charges have been lowered as of this month. Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) is relaunched with three weekly services out of Vilnius (VNO), starting this week. The route was operated by the airline until 25 October 2008. flyLAL also offered the route until its demise on 16 January 2009. airBaltic’s return to Vilnius is part of a range of new routes announced. Further destinations to be added in the coming month are Munich, Berlin Tegel, Amsterdam and Rome Fiumicino. The airline’s CEO Bertolt Flick comments: “We are convinced that next year the Vilnius airport will have every chance to become the most rapidly growing airport in Europe.”
- Horizon Air, the sister carrier of Alaska Airlines, has this week started two new daily services to Mammoth Lakes (MMH) in California, the popular ski resort near Yosemite National Park. The two new routes link the town with the gambling city of Reno, Nevada (RNO) and San Jose, California (SJC), from where onward connections also are offered. Both routes are operated using 76-seater Q400s and will operate until 11 April. The airline is the only scheduled carrier serving Mammoth Lakes. The other route offered is from Los Angeles, a service that was started last winter season with great success.
|Three new routes this week and more to come: Alitalia is reaffirming its position in northern Italy by launching several new routes out of the automotive capital of Turin. Read more about this and the airport in this week’s airport analysis on Turin. (Photos: Giuseppe Miglietti)|
- Alitalia has launches three new routes from Turin (TRN), marking a returned focus on Northern Italy. Amsterdam (AMS) will be served four times weekly, while Istanbul Atatürk (IST) and Berlin Tegel (TXL) will have three weekly frequencies each. All three routes will be operated using A319s. For more information, see this week’s airport analysis on Turin. (LINK)
|George Michalopoulos, commercial director Blu-express met with Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen’s CEO Gökhan Buğday and commented: “We could not have asked for a better time to start this new route – with Istanbul having been selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2010 – not to mention other important events which will take place in Turkey such as the Basketball World Championships.”|
- The Italian low-cost carrier Blu-express has this week launched flights from its Rome Fiumicino (FCO) base to the brand new terminal at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW). Relating to this, it has come to our attention that the terminal is featured in a new book, “AIRchitecture – Major Airport Terminals in Turkey”, which just has been published with the sponsorship of Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. The book, edited by M. Cemil Acar, head of department of aerodromes at the Turkish CAA, describes successful examples of terminal buildings at Turkey’s top six airports. Blu-express currently only operates one other international route, to Nice. Remaining services are Italian domestic. Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen will be served six times weekly, indirectly offering competition to Alitalia and Turkish Airlines, which both serve Istanbul Atatürk. George Michalopoulos, commercial director Blu-express commented: “We believe that Sabiha Gökçen airport will be the ideal gateway for Italian passengers coming to Istanbul as it is both very well connected to the centre of Istanbul and furthermore it is the preferred airport for many of the Italian businesses established in Istanbul and neighbouring cities such as Bursa. I would also like to underline that we are the only airline to offer an evening flight between Istanbul and Rome which is ideal for both business and leisure customers.
|This impressively well-made cake celebrates the return of flights between Cork and East Midlands, just over a year after Ryanair pulled out of the route.|
- bmibaby has reinstated services between East Midlands (EMA) and Cork (ORK), operating four times weekly on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The route was previously operated daily by Ryanair until 26 October 2008, after which it has been left unserved. Crawford Rix, MD bmibaby comments: “During the winter months we expect to carry over 16,000 passengers on the new service. In addition we have added extra services to the flying programme for the busy festive period, to enable those looking to visit friends and family, or to come to the East Midlands for a spot of Christmas shopping, the perfect opportunity to do so at a fantastic low price!”
|Guam son Tony Babauta, assistant secretary for insular areas within the U.S. Department of the Interior, spoke at the inauguration of the new Continental service to Nadi, Fiji. The new face of the Obama administration took the opportunity to welcome the service while being home in Guam from Washington D.C. on a visit.|
- Continental Airlines’ Guam-based subsidiary Continental Micronesia has this week launched two new routes to Nadi (NAN) in Fiji. Both Guam (GUM) and Honolulu (HNL) will be served twice weekly on 155-seater 737-800s. Jim Compton, Continental’s EVP marketing commented: “We are pleased to add Nadi to our portfolio of Pacific destinations. Fiji is a popular vacation spot that attracts visitors from around the world, and we see a strong demand for leisure travel to the area.”
- Delta Air Lines has added two routes to its eastern hubs. New York JFK (JFK) has a new service four times weekly to Freeport (FPO) in the Bahamas, operated by Comair’s CRJ900s. There has also been a new route launched from Atlanta (ATL) to Brazil’s capital city Brasilia (BSB). The thrice-weekly 757 service is Delta’s fifth destination in Brazil, already serving São Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Manaus and Fortaleza. Recife has also been served in the past. No other US carrier currently serves Brasilia. Jim Cron, Delta’s SVP Global Sales and Distribution commented: “As Delta continues to grow in Latin America, this new flight to Brasilia becomes a significant step in our expansion given the governmental and diplomatic activity in Brazil’s capital”.
|easyJet has this week launched two new routes out of Lyon. The French capital of gastronomy is now linked with the capitals of both Europe and Scotland. (Photos: JF Marin/Aéroports de Lyon)|
- easyJet has launched the following five flights out of its Geneva (GVA) and Lyon (LYS) bases this week. For more information about easyJet’s Lyon base, read this week’s airline feature. (LINK)
|Upon arrival in Bahrain, flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith took the opportunity to shake hands with Ahmet Nemat Ali, assistant undersecretary for aviation services, Bahrain CAA, while the airline’s head of corporate & public affairs Yousif Mohammed Mahmoud looks on.|
- flydubai’s tenth route to be launched from its Dubai (DXB) base is to Bahrain (BAH), its second destination in the GCC countries after Doha. The route will be operated in competition with Bahrain Air, Emirates, Gulf Air and Jazeera Airways. The twice-daily service was followed by another destination launch this week. Kathmandu (KTM) will be served four times weekly in competition with Nepal Airlines.
- Jazeera Airways has launched thrice-weekly services from Kuwait (KWI) to Latakia (LTK), on the Syrian Mediterranean coast. The airline’s CEO Stefan Pichler commented: “Latakia is a city rich in history and at the same time is a top Mediterranean tourist spot, boasting long stretches of soft sandy beaches. Guests flying from Latakia can benefit from great connectivity to other destinations across our network, such as Doha, Dubai, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah and Isfahan.”
|There’s that big grin again: Jetstar Asia’s CEO Chong Phit Lian lands at Haikou: For more information about Jetstar Asia, see this week’s airline analysis.|
- Jetstar Asia has this week launched two routes to holiday islands. Services between Singapore (SIN) and Phuket (HKT) have been resumed and the airline’s first route to mainland China has been launched; Haikou (HAK) on the tropical island of Hainan. The Thai holiday destination is served twice daily, while Haikou is to be served four times weekly. Jetstar Asia’s CEO Chong Phit Lian commented: “Haikou has long been in our sights for both its appeal to the large Hainanese community living in Singapore and the broader group of Asian holiday makers looking for low fares access to the island”. This route was the winner of anna.aero’s own award – the annie – at Routes Beijing in September this year. Haikou Meilan International’s commercial director Gunnar Moller then told anna.aero: “It’s as good if not better than Phuket…there’s no crisis there – it just keeps going up.”
- Mahan Air of Iran has launched twice-weekly services between Mashad (MHD) in northeast Iran and Bangkok (BKK) using A310-300s. This is the first destination from Mashad to an airport outside of the Middle East and Central Asia. The airline has served Bangkok from its primary hub in Tehran since 2000 and will by the end of the year increase frequencies on this route to six weekly 747-400 services.
|Malév’s first flight from Budapest to Belgrade was inaugurated by Mirko Stefanivic, Serbia’s state secretary for foreign affairs, Malév’s CCO Karim Makhlouf, Imre Varga, the Hungarian ambassador to Serbia and Malév’s COO Géza Fehérváry. Observant readers will note that the first flight was operated with a 737 rather than the Q400 otherwise scheduled for the route.|
- Malév Hungarian Airlines has begun serving Belgrade (BEG) daily from its Budapest (BUD) hub. The route will be operated using 72-seater Q400s. The airline already serves other destinations in the area, including Pristina, Skopje, Podgorica and Sarajevo.
|Well it says ‘Republic’ on the fuselage but FLL’s Steve Belleme, who kindly took this photo especially for anna.aero, assures us that the fire truck is dousing the inaugural ‘Midwest’ flight from Milwaukee in the Florida rain.|
- Midwest Airlines has added two new seasonal routes to Florida, both operated with 76-seat E-170s. From this week until 19 April 2010, Kansas City (MCI) will be linked with Fort Myers (RSW) six times weekly, while Milwaukee (MKE) gets a daily connection with Fort Lauderdale (FLL). While the airline will operate Kansas City’s only link with Fort Myers, Milwaukee to Fort Lauderdale will be operated in competition with AirTran.
- Norwegian has started three ski routes this week. Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) will be linked with Salzburg (SZG) twice weekly, while Copenhagen (CPH) will have one weekly service. Stockholm also sees the addition of a thrice-weekly service to Geneva (GVA) on the low-cost carrier.
|Ryanair’s Brussels Charleroi-based crew celebrated the new Bordeaux route over some Bordeaux wine with the airport’s Mélissa Milioto (PR & Communication Exec.), David Gering (Commercial Director Aviation, PR & Communication) and Ingrid Tahon (Aviation Exec.).||On the Bordeaux side, the first Ryanair route was launched with an alternative to a cake: Cannelés, delicious pastries typical for the Bordeaux region. The ‘pièce montée’ is meant to symbolise the almost full load of passengers carried on the maiden flight from Charleroi.|
- Ryanair’s new route for the week is from Brussels Charleroi (CRL) to Bordeaux (BOD), which is to be operated three times weekly. This marks the airline’s first route into Bordeaux, with further routes announced to start from Bologna, Edinburgh and Porto ahead of the airport’s opening of its brand new billi terminal next year.
- Canadian leisure carrier Sunwing has this week started twice-weekly services from Montreal (YUL) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). The 737-800 operator will fly the route in competition with Air Transat’s twice-weekly services and Air Canada’s high-frequency, four daily flights.
|Is flyLAL back? No, Albanian start-up Tafa Air just hasn’t had the wet-leased aircraft repainted. The 737-300 is here seen at Friedrichshafen after its inaugural flight, targeting Albanian and Kosovan migrant communities in southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria.|
- A new Albanian-based airline, Tafa Air, began scheduled operations last week. From Tirana (TIA), the airline offers daily flights to Dortmund (DTM) and Friedrichshafen (FDH) via Pristina (PRN). Initially, two 180-seat A320s were to be used, but this seems to have been abandoned – at least for now – for wet-leasing 737-300s from ‘various’ EU airlines. Originally, Neubrandenburg airport in north-east Germany was also listed as a route (via Friedrichshafen) but this has now been removed. The airline appears to be adopting a fixed-price approach to its fares, a move which has never really worked in Europe.
|Ashville Regional Airport’s new twice-daily Chicago service on a 50-seat CRJ200 regional jet aircraft operated by SkyWest Airlines was celebrated by local officials and members of the Asheville Symphony. “The strength of the United code opens a vital domestic and international gateway to Asheville customers,” said Mike Thompson, SkyWest VP Market Development. “We’re pleased to bring United Airlines’ global route network to Asheville.”|
- United Airlines’ has this week launched five new routes under its United Express name, all operated by SkyWest using CRJ200s. The frequencies vary between daily and twice daily.
|17-Dec-09||United Airlines||Chicago O’Hare, IL||ORD||Asheville, NC||AVL||14|
|17-Dec-09||United Airlines||Chicago O’Hare, IL||ORD||Duluth, MN||DLH||14|
|17-Dec-09||United Airlines||Denver, CO||DEN||Louisville, KY||SDF||7|
|17-Dec-09||United Airlines||Denver, CO||DEN||Midland/Odessa, TX||MFE||14|
|17-Dec-09||United Airlines||Los Angeles, CA||LAX||El Paso, TX||ELP||14|
|We’re off to Rio: US Airways’ VP Charlotte Hub, Terri Pope, cuts the ribbon with Capt. Bill Bewley watched by other US Airways crew and supporting officials from North Carolina and Brazil. There was no cake per se but there was steak, rice and beans, tropical fruit…dancing. None of the above got in the way of the flight departing on time. (Huge thanks to US Airways’ CLT communications champion, Michelle Mohr for these great shots.)|
|To the rhythm of reggae: For the launch of services on US Airways from Phoenix to Montego Bay, celebrations were attended by city of Phoenix’s aviation director Danny Murphy, US Airways’ SVP Public Affairs C.A. Howlett, city of Phoenix’s mayor Hon Phil Gordon, Jamaica’s minister of tourism Hon Edmund Curtis Bartlett, Jamaica Vacations’ executive director Lionel Reid and Doug Parker, chairman & CEO US Airways.|
- US Airways has this week launched four new routes out of two of its hubs. Charlotte (CLT) has seen the airline’s first flight to South America with the launch of daily 204-seater 767 services to Rio de Janeiro (GIG). This launch comes ahead of TAM Airlines joining Star Alliance next year, when US Airways will have a local alliance partner on the Brazilian market. Also operating daily on 767s out of Charlotte, Honolulu (HNL) has been launched this week, while Phoenix (PHX) has seen the addition of flights to two other leisure destinations; four times weekly on A319s to Montego Bay (MBJ) for sunshine as well as twice daily on Q400s to Telluride, Colorado (TEX) for skiing. US Airways’ SVP Airport Customer Service, International and Cargo Suzanne Boda commented “2009 has been a year of ‘firsts’ for US Airways with the launch of our first-ever service to the Middle East in July and now South America. This new flight offers business and leisure customers in the United States and Brazil a convenient, competitive travel option.”
|Then there was the US Airways Charlotte Honolulu launch: Instead of ribbon, this time that’s Terri Pope cutting the lei with the brand-new City of Charlotte Mayor, Anthony Foxx and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts. As you can see, festivities did not delay departure. “Hawaii is one of US Airways’ most popular vacation destinations, and we’re pleased to provide our customers throughout the East Coast with easy access to Honolulu” said US Airways’ managing director, Network Planning Mike Britman. (Thanks again to US Airways’ Michelle Mohr for these pix.)|
|Gennady Proschikin, head of Vnukovo airport terminal, and Igor Pedan, head UTair at Vnukovo, welcome the passengers for the airline’s first of daily flights to Voronezh.|
- UTair Aviation has this week started daily flights from Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) to Voronezh (VOZ), a city of almost a million inhabitants located 480 km south of Moscow, using an ATR 42. The city may be known to anna.aero’s readers as the location of the aircraft factory that produces Il-96 airliners. The new destination adds to UTair’s already extensive domestic route network. Voronezh is UTair’s 37th non-stop domestic route out of Moscow Vnukovo.
|A view from both ends of a fantastic new route: the Sydney send off and the arrival in Fiji’s Nadi. (Not everyone is this glad to see the police greet an aircraft, although this crew member is making the friendly form of “V” sign).|
- V Australia, a frequent route launcher over the last few weeks, has now begun serving Nadi (NAN) from Sydney (SYD). The destination is new to V Australia, but the daily 777 service takes over from sister airline Pacific Blue’s also daily 737-800 services, while Pacific Blue still serves Nadi from Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne. The new route is operated in competition with Air New Zealand and Air Pacific.
|At Kelowna in British Columbia, the addition of WestJet services to Mexico was celebrated with a popular Mexican travel exhibition|
- WestJet continues its launch of seasonal leisure routes from cold, wintery Canada. This week has seen launches to Florida, Mexico, Hawaii and Vegas. The Montreal (YUL) routes to Cancun (CUN) and Las Vegas (LAS) will even be operated year-round. Dr Hugh Dunleavy, WestJet’s EVP strategy and planning commented: “This is a strategic expansion of new routes within our network and an extension of flight offerings to some of our key winter routes that remain popular destinations through the summer season”.
|Montreal’s new WestJet link to Las Vegas was celebrated by Normand Boivin VP ops and aviation development at Aéroports de Montréal with Elvis look-a-likes Richard Sadlier (green Elvis), WestJet’s manager customer service & experience, and Richard Bartrem (blue Elvis), WestJet’s VP culture & comms|
|17-Dec-09||WestJet||Montreal||YUL||Las Vegas, NV||LAS||5|
|Even more Hawaii – there was yet more pageantry and dressing up for the new Lihue launch from Vancouver. We wish we knew who these cuties were but anna.aero is very grateful to WestJet’s Angela Braun for sending us these memories.|
|It was too cold in Gdansk for a water cannon salute, but deicing fluid did just as well to see Wizzair’s inaugural flights off. The new aircraft based at the airport allows four new routes to be launched this week.|
- Wizz Air has had its third A320 based at Gdansk (GDN) this week, which has allowed the airline to launch four new routes out of the old Hanseatic city. Three further routes have been launched out of Poland, all from the airline’s Wroclaw (WRO) base, while one new route has been opened out of the airline’s Transylvanian base at Cluj Napoca (CLJ).
|12-Dec-09||Wizz Air||Cluj Napoca||CLJ||Grenoble||GNB||1|
|17-Dec-09||Wizz Air||Gdansk||GDN||Milan Bergamo||BGY||2|
|18-Dec-09||Wizz Air||Gdansk||GDN||Paris Beauvais||BVA||2|
|17-Dec-09||Wizz Air||Wroclaw||WRO||Oslo Torp||TRF||3|
|18-Dec-09||Wizz Air||Wroclaw||WRO||Paris Beauvais||BVA||2|
|Igor Kravchuk, deputy director general JSC Vnukovo Handling, and first deputy director general Yakutia Airlines, Pavel Udod, greeted the first passenger from Moscow Vnukovo to Ulan-Ude, Mrs Elena Dankevich and her 5-year-old son. For speeches, the gentlemen were joined by the airline’s representative at Vnukovo, Vassily Makarov, the first deputy permanent representative of Yakutia to the president of Russia, Boris Labardin, and head of the plenipotentiary mission of Buryatia to the president of Russia, Anatoly Lehatinov.|
- Yakutia Airlines has opened a new route from Moscow Vnukovo (VKO). The capital of Russia’s federal state Buryatia, Ulan-Ude (UUD) by the famous Lake Baikal, will be served twice-weekly. The 4420-kilometre route will be operated using 737-300s. This winter, Yakutia Airlines serves seven domestic non-stop destinations from its secondary hub at Moscow Vnukovo: Yakutsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Blagoveschensk, Neryungri, Bratsk, Noyabrsk and Kasnodar. Thanks to Andrey Sokolov for supplying us with photos and information.