New routes launched during the last week (Tuesday 2 March – Monday 8 March)

Route of the Week:
AirTran’s Orlando to Des Moines

Des Moines Council Members Christine Hensley and Bob Mahaffy are presented with models of AirTran Airways’ 717s by the airline’s SVP HR Loral Blinde at the launch ceremony for the airline’s new weekend services from Orlando to Des Moines.

  • AirTran launched two weekly flights on 6 March from Orlando, FL (MCO) to Des Moines, IA (DSM) using 717s. The flights, which operate Saturdays and Sundays, will compete with Allegiant’s services (see below). Kevin Healy, the airline’s SVP marketing and planning commented: “AirTran Airways is very excited to begin service from Des Moines to one of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations. We look forward to offering our low-cost, high-quality product from central Iowa to our hometown of Orlando.”

Cake of the Week:
AnadoluJet’s Ankara to Damascus

Two cakes and a big delegation: The historical launch of three weekly flights between the capitals of Turkey and Syria – the first air service between the two cities in almost 30 years – was celebrated in Ankara by a group of dignitaries so large that two cakes were needed. Cutting the cake are Sami Alan, Turkish Airlines' president of regional flights; Syria's Ambassador to Turkey, Nidal Kabalan and his wife Wafa; and TAV Esenboğa's airport manager Nuray Demirer.

  • AnadoluJet, Turkish Airlines’ low-cost subsidiary operating on its parent airline’s TK code, launched its first international route on 4 March. The route will link the capitals of Turkey and Syria, Ankara Esenboğa (ESB) and Damascus (DAM), three times weekly on the airline’s 737-700s. This is the first link between the two cities since Swissair dropped the route in 1983.
airBaltic Flight Display

Exclusive to We managed to get hold of this picture of the departures board from moments before the first relaunched airBaltic flight from London Gatwick to Vilnius took place.

  • airBaltic has relaunched services from Vilnius (VNO) to London Gatwick (LGW) on 4 March. The two weekly services will compete with Aer Lingus’s daily flights during the first four weeks, until Aer Lingus downsizes its Gatwick base at the end of the month and drops the route. Indirect competition is provided by Star1’s five weekly flights to London Stansted and Ryanair’s flights from Kaunas to London Stansted and London Luton (12 and four a week respectively). airBaltic’s CCO Tero Taskila commented: “We see that Vilnius airport is the first in the Baltics to demonstrate recovery of local passenger traffic after 18 months of crisis. airBaltic is delighted to offer the new Vilnius-London service and will evaluate opening more directs routes from Vilnius in the future.”
  • Allegiant Air has moved its final two routes over from Orlando Sanford to Orlando International (MCO) on 4 and 5 March respectively. The airport now has twice-weekly flights to Youngstown, OH (YNG), an airport where Allegiant is the only scheduled commercial operator, and four weekly flights to Des Moines, IA (DSM), competing with AirTran’s two weekly flights that were launched this week (see above).
  • The fast-growing Russian LCC Avianova launched two new domestic routes to its network this week. Its current Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) base (soon to be moved to Moscow Sheremetyevo, where the airline will have its own, dedicated terminal) now also serves Ufa (UFA) since 5 March and Perm (PEE) since 6 March. Both routes are operated three times weekly.
  • Continental Airlines has launched three new routes from California to Hawaii on 7 March. Kahului/Maui (OGG) now sees the airline fly daily from Los Angeles (LAX) and four times weekly (Thursday to Sunday) from Santa Ana (SNA). The Orange County airport also saw the addition of a daily service to Honolulu (HNL). The Los Angeles route, which competes with United’s thrice daily and Delta and American’s each twice daily flights, is operated on 737-800s, while the two uncontested Santa Ana routes are flown with 737-700s.
  • Pluna, the national carrier of Uruguay, launched daily flights from Montevideo (MVD) to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE) on 2 March. The airline already flies on average seven daily flights to Buenos Aires’ city airport Jorge Newbery. The new 230-kilometre route will be operated with the airline’s CRJ900s, now the only aircraft type in Pluna’s fleet.

The daily connection was celebrated by Qatar Airways’ airport services manager Rome, Roberto Giuntoli, and country manager Italy, Morena Bronzetti, as well as Sergio Berlenghi, head of strategic planning and airport marketing development ADR (Rome Airport Company). The crew joined in for the celebrations, which importantly included this stunning cake!

  • This is not a new route, but noteworthy enough to receive a mention. From 2 March, Qatar Airways’ route from Doha (DOH) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) is upgraded from four weekly to daily flights. The route is operated with a mixture of A330-300s and A330-200s.

Lappeenranta’s airline development company Fly Lappeenrannan’s CEO Juha-Pekka Paananen and Paula Puranen welcomed the first passengers arriving to Lappeenranta from Weeze, while Ryanair’s Nordic sales & marketing executive and chief leprechaun Erik Elmsäter and a crew member provided moral support. At Weeze, the first two passengers Pauline Fer and Andrey Nad were seen off by Ryanair’s sales & marketing executive Alexandra König (left).

  • Finland’s national broadcaster YLE showed that the first flight was indeed very popular with RussiansRyanair has started seven new routes this week. One of the airports served is new to the airline. Lappeenranta (LPP) in Finland, located close to the border to Russia (soon to be referred to as ‘St Petersburg North’?), is to be served twice-weekly from Weeze (NRN), a route that is expected to rely on the Russian community living in the Düsseldorf area. An excellent report by our colleagues on Finland’s national broadcaster YLE showed that the first flight was indeed very popular with Russians.
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c
02-Mar-10 Alicante (ALC) Venice Treviso (TSF) 3 B738
02-Mar-10 Brussels Charleroi (CRL) Kaunas (KUN) 3 B738
02-Mar-10 Rome Ciampino (CIA) Krakow (KRK) 3 B738
03-Mar-10 Alicante (ALC) Kerry (KIR) 2 B738
03-Mar-10 Brussels Charleroi (CRL) Krakow (KRK) 3 B738
03-Mar-10 Rome Ciampino (CIA) Seville (SVQ) 4 B738
04-Mar-10 Weeze (NRN) Lappeenranta (LPP) 2 B738
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • Vietnam Airlines has launched four weekly flights that link the capitals of Vietnam and Myanmar (Burma). On 2 March, the first Fokker 70 between Hanoi (HAN) and Yangon (RGN) took off and will from now on operate Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Viking Hellas, the start-up airline analysed a month ago, launched its third Iraqi route from Athens (ATH) on 3 March. The launch of a weekly service to Sulaimaniyah (ISU) coincides with the addition of yet another frequency to Manchester.

Welcoming vivaaerobus’s first international passengers at Hermosillo. The new Las Vegas connection is the airline’s second international route.

  • On 4 March, vivaaerobus launched three new routes, of which two are to Cancun (CUN). Notably, the two weekly flights from Hermosillo (HMO) to Las Vegas (LAS) mark the launch of the airline’s second international route. vivaaerobus already serves Las Vegas from Monterrey.
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c
04-Mar-10 Guadalajara (GDL) Cancun (CUN) 2 B737
04-Mar-10 Hermosillo (HMO) Las Vegas, NV (LAS) 2 B737
04-Mar-10 Veracruz (VER) Cancun (CUN) 2 B737
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • WestJet launched three Hawaiian routes from Edmonton (YEG) and Calgary (YYC) in the last week, each operating weekly on winglet-equipped 737-700s. Both airports get a connection with Kahului/Maui (OGG), while Calgary also gets a service to Honolulu (HNL). The routes will only operate for approximately six weeks until the airline’s winter schedule ends.


  1. cem sayer says:

    It is mentioned above in your article that Ankara Damascus is the first international service by AnadoluJet from Ankara. In fact it is the second one after Ercan in Cyprus.

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