New routes launched during the last week
(Tuesday 9 March – Monday 15 March)

Route of the Week: American Eagle’s San Juan,
Santo Domingo and Santiago to Port-au-Prince

Of huge economic significance, but with no grand celebration: American Eagle’s launch of services to Port-au-Prince was low key in wake of the recent earthquake devastating Haiti. Route of the Week is awarded for American Airlines’ relief and commitment to the Haiti market, which it has served since 1971.

  • American Airlines, which already serves Port-au-Prince (PAP) in Haiti from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and New York JFK, has added new ATR72 services to the Caribbean city under the American Eagle brand out of its San Juan (SJU) base in Puerto Rico on 12 March. Non-stop flights now operate daily, while there also are daily flights flying via Santo Domingo (SDQ) and three weekly flights via Santiago de los Caballeros (STI), both in the Dominican Republic. Ralph Latortue, Consul General of Haiti in Florida for the Southern US commented: “We are very grateful to American Airlines and American Eagle for their continued commitment to Haiti. Not only are they the first passenger airlines to return to Haiti, they were the first commercial airlines to start bringing relief supplies to help our people.”

Cake of the Week:
V Australia’s Melbourne to Johannesburg

V Australia’s first venture into Africa was celebrated by Chris Woodruff, CEO Melbourne Airport; Lonne Baudinette, cabin crew; Brett Godfrey, CEO Virgin Blue Airlines Group; Sydney Moland, cabin crew and Scott Swift, executive GM V Australia. FIFA World Cup’s mascot Zakumi made friends with the cabin crew and Bangu Masisi, GM South African Tourism Australasia, before presenting the most elaborate cake seen in a very long time, almost as stunning as the cabin crew (although the presence of a tiger confuses the team). Thanks to aviation enthusiast Peter Kelly (, V Australia and Melbourne airport for all providing photos.

  • The fast-expanding long haul arm of the Virgin Blue Group, V Australia, has launched its first route to Africa. On 13 March, the first of two weekly 777-300ER flights took off from Melbourne (MEL), destined for Johannesburg (JNB). All other services between Australia and mainland Africa also serve Johannesburg. Qantas flies six times weekly from Sydney, while South African Airways operates six weekly flights to Perth. Virgin Blue Group’s CEO Brett Godfrey said the airline will be looking to increase frequencies and commented: “V Australia has been very well received by travellers in both the US and Australia since we launched the airline earlier this year and we are already seeing encouraging signs from Australians wanting to travel to Johannesburg, for the World Cup, business and leisure reasons.”

Our man in Melbourne, Peter Kelly, also attended the celebrations held upon V Australia’s return to Melbourne. The airline’s first flight from Johannesburg carried none other than Sir Richard Branson himself, who proudly announced that a third weekly frequency will be added on the route once further aircraft are delivered to the airline. The delegation, which included the airline group’s CEO Brett Godfrey, the Victoria trade minister Jacinta Allan and cabin crew wearing red, mushroom shaped hats (!?), were greeted to Australia by Elliot the koala, who is happy that the airline raises money in-flight for his favourite charity, the Australian Koala Foundation. Thanks for the photos Peter!

Honorary Cake of the Week:
Air Asia X’s first birthday at London Stansted

Air Asia X’s first year at London Stansted

It’s not a new route, but because of lobbying from readers in Essex, this week offers an Honorary Cake of the Week, which commemorates Air Asia X’s first year at London Stansted. On 11 March, Nick Barton, London Stansted’s Commercial & Development Director celebrated the moment with Jinda Bisran and Tim Claydon from Air Asia X as well as Stansted Airport’s MD David Johnston, who is seen cutting the cake. During its first year, Air Asia X transported more than 221,000 passengers between the London airport and Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur. Well done!

A Hawaiian theme at San José airport: Alaska Airlines’ employees decorated the airport gate area and arranged Hawaiian music and dancing for the spectators before joining in themselves. The flights to Kahului/Maui and Kona were both even blessed by a Hawaiian priest (the man wearing a suit and green leaves).

  • Alaska Airlines has launched two Hawaiian routes from San José (SJC) in California. From 11 March, Kahului/Maui (OGG) is served three times weekly and from 12 March, Kona (KOA) receives four weekly flights. The two routes, both operated with 737-800s, are uncontested, but Hawaiian Airlines also serves San José from Honolulu with five weekly flights on 767-300s. Having launched Hawaiian services only in October 2007, the airline’s VP marketing, sales and customer experience, Steve Jarvis, commented: “In just two years, Hawaii has become a major part of our route network”.
  • Turkish Airlines’ low-cost brand AnadoluJet, which won last week’s Cake of the Week, continues its expansion with the introduction of six weekly flights from Ankara Esenboğa (ESB) to Denizli (DNZ) on 14 March. This is the second air service into the south western Turkish city, which also has a link on Turkish Airlines to Istanbul.

A traditional Japanese ribbon cutting took place at Ibaraki airport for the first commercial service at this new airport, which counts as Tokyo’s third. Asiana now flies daily from Seoul Incheon. Thanks to Mitsuya Yuasa for the pictures.

  • On 11 March, Asiana launched daily A320 flights from its Seoul Incheon (ICN) hub to the new Japanese airport in Ibaraki (IBR). This is the first commercial service to the previously all-military airport, which serves both the Ibaraki Prefecture and as a secondary airport for Tokyo, 80 kilometres away from the airport – a distance not dissimilar to that from the city’s main international airport Narita. This is Asiana’s 17th Japanese destination and the 9th with daily frequencies or more.
  • easyJet launched two additional routes from its Rome Fiumicino easyJet launched two additional routes from its Rome Fiumicino (FCO) base on 12 March. Initially four weekly services, but from the start of the summer season increasing to six weekly, will be operated to Nice (NCE) in competition with Alitalia’s two daily flights and four weekly on Meanwhile, Malta (MLA) gets four weekly flights that are upgraded to daily at the end of the month. This service competes with Alitalia’s also daily and Air Malta’s eight weekly flights.

Germania ad

  • Germania has launched two new routes from Germany to Beirut (BEY). Flights from Berlin Tegel (TXL) began on 13 March as twice-weekly, but increase to three weekly at the start of the summer season, while Düsseldorf (DUS) received weekly flights starting from 11 March. The routes used to be served by the now bankrupt airline Blue Wings, although the part Russian-owned airline used Berlin Schönefeld for its Berlin service. During the summer months, Germania will face competition on the Berlin route from Middle East Airlines’ Schönefeld services, while the Düsseldorf service is uncontested.

Pegasus Airlines received an Evian welcoming to Paris Orly. The daily flights between Istanbul and Paris mark the only competition to the two national carriers’ duopoly between the two world cities.

  • On 10 March, the Turkish low-cost carrier Pegasus launched daily flights between Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) and Paris Orly (ORY) using 737-800s. The airline is the only to serve the airport pairs, but faces indirect competition from services between Istanbul Atatürk and Paris Charles de Gaulle operated by Turkish Airlines four times daily as well as thrice-daily on Air France.

A press conference was held for the launch of Safi Airways’ fourth route. Speaking were Safi Airways’ director of sales and marketing, Thomas J. Bommer, the MD of airline’s Qatari GSA Fahd Travels, Fahd Al-Darwish, and the airline’s marketing officer Dubai, Faruk Ahamed.

  • Safi Airways of Afghanistan has launched its fourth destination after Frankfurt, Dubai and Kuwait. On 13 March, the airline’s first flight took place between Kabul (KBL) and Doha (DOH). The route will be operated twice-weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays with 737-300s. This is the airline’s first route not to be operated in competition with the national carrier Ariana Afghan Airlines. Safi Airways’ director of sales and marketing Thomas J Bommer commented: “Our inquiries found that Qatar has more than 7,000 Afghans living here, apart from the fact that a considerably large number of UN officials engaged in official duties in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries are using Doha as a transit to travel to such destinations.”

Patti Miller at Boise Airport went out and got these great photos taken exclusively for us from the concourse rooftop for Southwest’s launch of daily flights from Denver. Thanks Patti!

  • Southwest Airlines has launched six new routes, all with daily frequencies beginning on 14 March. Five of the routes are from its Denver (DEN) base, while the sixth one departs from Chicago Midway (MDW).
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c Competition (WF*)
14-Mar-10 Denver (DEN) Boise (BOI) 7 B73G United (34), Frontier (13)
14-Mar-10 Denver (DEN) Detroit (DTW) 7 B73G Delta (27), Frontier (20), United (14)
14-Mar-10 Denver (DEN) Hartford (Bradley) (BDL) 7 B73G
14-Mar-10 Denver (DEN) Ontario (ONT) 7 B73G United (20)
14-Mar-10 Denver (DEN) Washington Dulles (IAD) 7 B73G United (57)
14-Mar-10 Chicago Midway (MDW) Ontario (ONT) 7 B73G

UNI Air’s new route from Taipei to Fozhou is one of the many recent cross-strait services started as part of liberalisation on flights between Taiwan and mainland China. From 15 March, the route operates twice weekly.

  • UNI Air has launched another cross-strait route this week with its first flight from Taipei (TPE) to Fozhou (FOC) on 15 March. The two weekly MD90 services that will operate Mondays and Fridays indirectly compete with the four weekly services each operated by Xiamen Airlines and TransAsia Airlines in and out of Taipei Songshan Airport.

Welcoming Wizz Air to its new home at Wroclaw with a cake and fire-truck salute. Wizz Air's new Wroclaw base was launched in the past week with five routes in one go, more than doubling its route network from the airport.

  • Wizz Air set up its 12th base on 12 March. Wroclaw (WRO) was originally scheduled to start in July this year, but the market potential seem to have been to great for the airline to want to wait that long. On the launch date, each twice-weekly services started to Forlì (FRL), Eindhoven (EIN) and Doncaster/Sheffield (DSA). The latter route is relaunched, having previously been operated by the airline between February and October 2008. On 13 March, three weekly flights were also launched to Milan Bergamo (BGY), followed by a twice-weekly service to Cork (ORK) taking off the following day.

Other recent events with gorgeous cakes

New terminal has been opened at Toronto City Airport

A new terminal has been opened at Toronto City Airport (YTZ), the home of Porter Airlines. Geoffrey A. Wilson, CEO Toronto Port Authority; Laura, CSR at Porter Airlines and Robert Deluce, CEO Porter Airlines, cut the cake to commemorate the event.

Before you accuse of promoting narrow-minded national stereotypes, we want to point out that this was sent to us by Ryanair. Edinburgh Airport’s MD Gordon Dewar celebrates the 4-millionth Ryanair passenger, apparently ‘Laura the Leprechaun’ – how clichéd is that???

Ryanair 4-millionth passenger


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