World’s airlines already plan 600 new routes for 2010; easyJet and Ryanair account for 200+

Reasons for routes – exciting cities and places which will all enjoy great enterprise (and therefore new air services) in 2010: The Macau “Rabbit Building” Pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo; Dubai’s the newly-opened Burj Khalifa (the world’s “greatest building” was opened and renamed this week after “a great man” – the ruler of Abu Dhabi); and two buildings currently rising from the ground – Philadelphia’s 63-floor/460m American Commerce Center and Renzo Piano’s 72-floor/310 m London Shard.

The new year may be barely a week old, but can reveal that the world’s airlines have already revealed plans to start almost 600 new routes this year. Whether by the end of the year, that figure will have reached 2,000 new services, as it did in 2009, remains to be seen, but clearly there are plenty of airlines planning for growth and hoping to take advantage of new opportunities. Regular readers of will not be surprised to learn that two European low-cost airlines (easyJet and Ryanair) have between them already announced over 200 new routes, with Ryanair accounting for two-thirds of this figure.

Chart: New routes planned for 2010 - Announced so far to start during 2010
Source: new route database

The Dublin-based LCC will be adding Bari, Brindisi, Oslo Rygge, Malaga and Faro as new bases in 2010, bringing the total number of bases to 39. In contrast, easyJet’s 70 new routes involve the creation of just one new base, at Doncaster/Sheffield airport in the UK. European carriers feature seven times in the top 10 of airlines starting the most new routes. The remaining carriers are all from the US; American, Delta and Southwest. So far has identified over 100 airlines that have announced plans to begin at least one new route this year.

MEB3 expansion plans

Although European and North American carriers dominate the rankings for starting most new routes, it is worth taking a closer look at what the Middle East “MEB3” airlines have announced so far for 2010.

  • Emirates: new routes from Dubai to Tokyo Narita (28 March), Amsterdam (1 May), Prague (1 July) and Madrid (1 August).
  • Etihad: new routes from Abu Dhabi to Colombo (technically a resumption of services from 1 January), Nagoya via Beijing (1 February) and Tokyo Narita (28 March).
  • Qatar Airways: new routes from Doha to Ankara (5 April), Bangalore, Barcelona, Copenhagen and Tokyo Narita via Osaka.

All three carriers are taking advantage of finally being able to gain access to Tokyo’s busiest international airport, thanks to an increase in the number of available slots.

Other new route stumuli: 787 arrives end-year

This year should see the entry into service of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which made its maiden test flight just before Christmas. Although Airbus and Boeing suffered a slowdown in new orders during 2009, their order books remain healthy and 2010 should see both manufacturers delivering over 400 aircraft to their global customers, all looking for places to fly to.

FIFA World Cup in South Africa

This year’s biggest sporting event will be the football World Cup which will be held for the first time on the African continent in South Africa during June and July. Some airlines are already adding extra flights to cope with the anticipated surge in demand to attend this high-profile event featuring the teams from 32 countries. Other notable sporting events include the Winter Olympics in Vancouver (in February) and the Commonwealth Games taking place in Delhi (in October).

Heathrow’s R3 plans under threat

A general election in the UK this year may see the scrapping of plans for a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport. The opposition Conservatives, led by David Cameron (the local Member of Parliament of’s editor), are currently favourites to win and “the party of business” is apparently committed to reversing the current government’s plans for a new runway at Europe’s busiest airport, just so it can win.

However, the desire to travel remains an ingrained part of the human psyche and data from many regions at the end of 2009 suggested that 2010 should see an increase in air travel compared with 2009. So, despite fuel prices rising once more, the possibility of increased taxation, new security measures and the ever present environmental issues and silly political decisions, while airlines and airports have plenty of headaches…’s prediction for 2010 is…it’s gonna be much better than last year.


  1. Senor LT says:

    Ryanair will be the absolute winner in 2010 as well

  2. sylvia henderson says:

    Why on earth does no airline operate a service from Scotland to Rimini(Italy)?
    There used to be one from Glasgow but it was discontinued acouple of years ago.
    Are there any plans for flights on this route in the forseeable future?

  3. Sigrun says:

    The winner is airberlin – out of 15 new routes six of them are from Germany to Iceland. They should check on other airports in Iceland as well f.x Akureyri airport which is more economical and a small airport with no hassle

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