Route of the Week:
Kingfisher Airlines’ Bengaluru to Mysore
Vijay Mallya, Chairman & Managing Director of Kingfisher Airlines, and the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri B S Yeddyurappa, arrived on the inaugural flight between Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Mysore on 1 October. The airport has just been renovated to accommodate ATR aircraft and the local government has lobbied for the service.
- Kingfisher Airlines launched a new domestic service on 1 October between Bengaluru (BLR) (also known as Bangalore) and Mysore (MYQ), a mere 150 kilometres away. This is the first commercial flight operating into Mysore in decades and the airport has just been renovated in order to accommodate ATR aircraft. The new route, which will be flown with ATR72s, is scheduled to operate six times a week. The local government is guaranteeing the profitability of the route and would cover any potential losses made by the airline. The airline’s CEO Vijay Mallya said: “I am delighted that we have commenced flights between Bengaluru and Mysore. The launch of this new route is an important milestone for Kingfisher Airlines and a very special moment for me personally given the place of pride that Mysore has in our glorious State. Our convenient flights will make it easier for people to travel to and from Mysore and connect with the vast network of Kingfisher Airlines via Bengaluru. Linking Mysore via air with Bengaluru and other key cities in India will provide an impetus to tourism, trade and commerce and make Mysore an even more attractive destination for the IT industry, tourists and others.”
Cake of the Week:
American Eagle’s Miami to Gainesville
When American Eagle was welcomed to Gainsville, Florida, the airline’s mascot ‘RJ’ had to fight University of Florida Gators’ mascots over a piece of the cake. Supporting RJ were fellow American Eagle employees Dale Morris, managing director state and community affairs, and Curt Bass, schedules analyst as well as University of Florida alumni. From 1 October, the airline feeds its Miami hub with two daily flights from the northern Florida city.
- American Eagle launched two new routes on 1 October. From New York LaGuardia, NY (LGA), the airline now connects with Minneapolis/St Paul, MN (MSP) 28 times a week with 63-seat CRJ700s. This service faces competition from Delta’s 54 weekly flights. The airline also began flying between Miami, FL (MIA) and Gainesville, FL (GNV), the university city in the north of the state. The 14 weekly flights aboard 64-seat ATR72s reinstate services on the route that was last operated by Continental in 2008. The only competing commercial air services at Gainesville today are feeding Delta’s Atlanta and US Airways’ Charlotte hubs.
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Airphil Express, previously Air Philippines, on 1 October launched daily flights between Manila (MNL) and Zamboanga (ZAM) on the island of Mindanao in the south of the Philippines, intending to increase the frequency to twice-daily in December. On the route, the airline competes with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific that each flies twice a day.
- Alaska Airlines on 1 October launched a daily service between San Diego, CA (SAN) and Kahului, HI (OGG). Flights are operated with 737-800s. This makes the southern California city the sixth Alaska Airlines destination to be linked with the Maui airport. At the same time, the airline – which has increased its network to Hawaii greatly in the last months – launches a Hawaiian-themed menu for its flights to the island state.
Celebrating the first Trieste-Milan Linate flight, the AZ1350 on 4 October: Present at the gate were Guido Improta, Alitalia’s institutional relations director; Sergio Dressi, president Trieste Airport; Riccardo Riccardi, regional transport minister, and Paolo Rovis, Trieste City Council member in charge of tourism. The promotional sign on the right reads ‘Linate or Genoa? You only have to choose.’ (Photo: Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia – ARC)
- Alitalia doubled its route network out of Trieste (TRS) on the Italian border to Slovenia in the northeast of the country when it launched two new routes on 4 October. The airline now flies 12 times a week to the city airport Milan Linate (LIN) as well as five times weekly to Genoa (GOA), the port city in the northwest region of Liguria. Both routes are operated with 90-seat CRJ900s. Other routes served by Alitalia from Trieste are to Rome Fiumicino and Naples.
- Armavia on 28 September launched its first route to the UK, as it began flying once a week between its Yerevan (EVN) base and Birmingham (BHX). 134-seat A319 aircraft are assigned to the 3,700-kilometre route. With Birmingham’s large population of South Asian origin, the airline hopes to tap some of the VFR market by scheduling its new flight to create a connection with its services to Delhi. Illarion Gharibyan, Armavia’s deputy director general, also pointed out the point-to-point market potential: “There are 20,000 people in the UK of Armenian descent and people can currently only access flights to Armenia from Heathrow so the Birmingham operation will provide more choice for those wanting to reach Yerevan.”
Cutting the ribbon for Continental Connection’s new service between Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport and Cleveland. This is the only scheduled service to the West Virginia airport, which until now has been connected with United’s Washington Dulles hub.
- Continental Connection launched a new service to Parkersburg, WV (PKB) on 1 October. The airline now serves the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport, which – as the name suggests – is located on the border to Ohio, from its Cleveland, OH (CLE) hub, a distance of 230 kilometres. The 24 weekly flights, which are operated by Gulfstream International Airlines’ Beechcraft 1900D, replace United Express’s flights to Washington Dulles that had operated since January 2008, but were suspended the day before the launch of Continental’s services.
- Copa Airlines Colombia, which until yesterday was called AeroRepública, on 2 October expanded its network with two new international routes, linking its Bogotá (BOG) base with other Latin American capital cities. The airline now flies daily with 124-seat 737-700s to Mexico City (MEX), a route recently vacated by Mexicana, which flew twice a day. Competition is, however, provided by both Avianca three times a day and AeroMexico with also daily services. Copa Airlines Colombia also launched a weekly service to Havana (HAV), which it operates with E-190s. Cubana’s also weekly flight provides competition, and notably, both competing services operate on Saturdays.
EgyptAir’s returned to Copenhagen with a Star Alliance branded 737-800. The three flights a week between the capitals of Egypt and Denmark reinstate services that the airline last operated in 2005, prior to its alliance partnership with locally based SAS. Carsten Nørland, Copenhagen Airport’s VP Sales spoke to Ashraf Abdel Hafez, EgyptAir’s Country Manager for Denmark and, after a speech by Magda Metwali, EgyptAir’s GM Marketing, Nørland shook hands on the route with Egypt’s Ambassador to Denmark, Nabil Habashi.
- EgyptAir launched three new routes in the last week. From its Cairo (CAI) hub, the Star Alliance member on 1 October launched three weekly flights to alliance partner SAS’ Copenhagen (CPH) hub. The 737-800 operation reinstates EgyptAir’s services on the route, which it suspended in 2005 after decades of operations. Even more recently, the route was operated by both SAS and Sterling until 2006. The airline also launched two weekly flights between Alexandria El Nouzha (ALY) and Sudan’s capital Khartoum (KRT) on the same day. Flights, which operate with A320s, indirectly compete with Air Arabia Egypt’s four flights a week from Alexandria Borg El Arab and complement EgyptAir’s own 24 weekly operations from Cairo. From Sohag (HMB), the city half-way down the Nile, the airline also launched a weekly A320 service to Kuwait (KWI). The route, which launched on 29 September, is EgyptAir’s fifth to Kuwait.
- GoAir, the Indian low-cost carrier, on 2 October launched three new routes out of Delhi (DEL). Leh (IXL) in the northernmost, Himalayan part of the country gets a daily connection in competition with Kingfisher’s also daily, Jet Airways’ five weekly and Indian Airlines’ three weekly flights. Twice-daily flights also began to both Lucknow (LKO) and Pune (PNQ). To the former, the same frequency is operated by Indian Airlines, Kingfisher and JetLite, while IndiGo flies daily and Jet Airways six times a week. To Pune, competition comes from Kingfisher’s 21, SpiceJet’s 13, as well as Indian Airlines’, Jet Airways’ and IndiGo’s each seven flights a week.
- Hainan Airlines expanded its international Asian network out of Beijing (PEK) on 29 September as the airline added its third non-stop route to Bangkok (BKK), which it already serves from Haikou and Hangzhou. Flights operate four times a week with 164-seat 737-800s. Competition on the capital city pair route comes from Air China’s and Thai Airways’ each daily flights as well as SriLankan Airlines’ three flights a week.
- Hong Kong Airlines on 30 September became the fourth airline in the last few weeks to launch flights between Hong Kong (HKG) and Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA). The airline initially will serve the route four times a week with 164-seat 737-800s. From 31 October, the frequency increases to daily and capacity grows even further as the aircraft used then is replaced with 283-seat A330-200s. Competition comes from Dragonair, China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines, each operating the route daily.
- As Iberia upgrades its services to Panama City to non-stop from Madrid (MAD), the airline changes the routing of its services to Guatemala City (GUA). Once a week from 2 October, the airline’s A340 continues from Guatemala’s capital to San Salvador (SAL), the capital of El Salvador. From the beginning of the winter season, the frequency increases to four weekly. The airline also launched another new route on 1 October with A340 aircraft. From the Spanish capital, it now serves Cordoba (COR), Argentina’s second-largest city and Iberia’s second Argentinean destination, with three weekly flights on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. This is the first non-stop link between Europe and Cordoba since Aerolineas Argentinas dropped its Madrid service in 1984. Iberia’s first flight departed full and the airline expects to transport 70,000 passengers annually on the route, bringing its total annual passenger numbers on routes to and from Argentina above 500,000.
204 passengers arrived on Iceland Express’s very blue 757 on its first flight to Orlando Sanford. Flights will operate once a week for four weeks, competing with Icelandair to the Florida airport.
- Iceland Express expanded its North American network on 2 October as it launched a weekly service between its Reykjavik (KEF) base and Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB). Flights are highly seasonal and operate for only four weeks until 23 October with 757-200s. Competition comes from Icelandair’s two weekly flights.
- LAN Ecuador on 4 October launched a new service to Miami, FL (MIA) from Guayaquil (GYE), the largest city in Ecuador. Flights will operate four times a week, on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with 221-seat 767-300ER aircraft, competing with American Airlines’ 10 weekly flights. This is LAN Airlines’ eighth route into Miami and its second from Ecuador, from where it already flies from Quito. The airline also flies daily to New York JFK in the US from Guayaquil.
- Pegasus Airlines, the Turkish low-cost carrier, on 1 October launched a new daily service between Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) and Sofia (SOF). The flights between the fast-growing Turkish airport and the Bulgarian capital – a distance of 530 kilometres – will be operated with 189-seat 737-800s. Although this is a new airport pair, indirect competition comes from Turkish Airlines’ also daily operations from Istanbul Atatürk.
- S7 on 2 October launched a new route between Bangkok (BKK) and Khabarovsk (KHV), near the Chinese boarder in the Russian Far East. Flights operate every two weeks with 767-300ER aircraft and are scheduled as part of a W routing. The airline already serves the Thai capital from Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk.
- Skymark, the Japanese low-cost carrier, on 1 October continued its expansion out of Kobe (UKB). The airline now flies 21 times a week to Kumamoto (KMJ) on the island of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands. This route has been operated by the regional carrier Amakusa Airlines, but Skymark will now be the only operator.
Ural Airlines’ first A320 from Ekaterinburg was warmly welcomed to Sofia with a fire-truck salute. A gorgeous cake was laid on display for Alexey Fomin, Ural Airlines’ deputy general director, by Sofia Airport’s Mariana Kirilova, Director Aviation Marketing & Corporate Communications, and Dimitar Bogdanov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, while Tanya Atanasova from the aviation marketing team presented the Ural Airlines crew with a bouquet made entirely of fresh fruits.
- Ural Airlines on 1 October launched a weekly service between Ekaterinburg (SVX) and Sofia (SOF). The 3,050-kilometre route will be operated on Fridays with the airline’s 159-seat A320 aircraft. This is the Bulgarian capital’s second Russian route after services to Moscow Sheremetyevo on both Aeroflot and Bulgaria Air.
vivaaerobus’ new Mexico City base, which instantly resulted in six new daily routes, was inaugurated on 1 October by Roberto Valdez, the airline’s commercial director, Héctor Velazquez, the airport’s director general, Juan Carlos Zuazua, vivaaerobus’ CEO, and Jorge Barrón, commander of the airport.
- vivaaerobus, the Mexican LCC analysed in-depth this week, on 1 October opened a virtual base at Mexico City (MEX), tapping the gap in the market left by Mexicana’s demise. Six new domestic routes, all of which used to be served by Mexicana, were launched by the low-cost carrier from the airport, each service being operated daily with the airline’s 148-seat 737-300s. These flights complement its existing two routes from its physical bases – a daily service from Monterrey and twice-daily from Guadalajara. Notably, a low-cost route between Mexico City and Oaxaca (OAX) has been sought by the southern Mexican airport.
||AeroMexico (85), Interjet (26), Volaris (14)
|Puerto Vallarta (PVR)
||AeroMexico (30), Interjet (7)
|Tuxtla Gutierrez (TGZ)
||Interjet (26), AeroMexico (25)
||AeroMexico (39), Interjet (6)
|*WF: Weekly Frequencies
A very clean A319: Volaris’ aircraft received a wash at both the Tijuana and Cuernavaca ends of the new route. The three weekly flights are Cuernavaca’s first commercial flights since 2008.
- Volaris on 1 October launched three weekly flights between Tijuana (TIJ) on the border to the US in northwest Mexico, and Cuernavaca (CVJ), a mere 50 kilometres from Mexico City. Flights operate three times a week, on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, with 144-seat A319s. This is the first scheduled service at Cuernavaca since ALMA operated two routes at the airport before ceasing operations in 2008.
airBaltic, which just won the Budgie ‘Airline Pacesetter Award’, turned 15 years old on 1 October. Bertolt Flick, president and CEO, commented: “A lot of things have changed during the last fifteen years. airBaltic has grown from two to thirty-four aircraft, the network has expanded from five routes to almost 100. The Baltic States have gone through a period of uninhibited growth, followed by a recession without precedent. However, aviation in our home markets, the Baltics and Finland, has developed and the main beneficiary is the customer.”
Ryanair has now transported 25 million passengers at Milan Bergamo! The Irish low-cost giant first served the airport on 14 February 2002 with a flight from Frankfurt Hahn that featured a wedding on board (!). After eight and a half years of operations, 11 aircraft are based at the airport, and as the 25 millionth passenger, a lucky English family won a Ryanair voucher and a free holiday offered by the airport and local tourism organisation. Most importantly, however, this giant cake was made, topped with a chocolate (!) Ryanair plane, to celebrate the event.
Ryanair celebrated its 2-millionth passenger at Kaunas, the Lithuanian airport that became a base for the airline in May this year. Laszlo Tamas (right), Ryanair’s Sales & Marketing Manager UK, Ireland & CEE, commented: “In the first 8 months of 2010, we carried already 478.000 passengers at Kaunas Airport, 74% more than in the same time last year.” A delighted airport GM Arijandas Sliupas (left) and Kaunas base supervisor Lina Barkauskaite (centre-right) celebrated with the lucky passenger.