Route of the Week:
LOT Polish’s Warsaw to Hanoi
The check-in area for LOT Polish Airlines at Warsaw offered a feast of Vietnam-themed cakes and refreshments. Excited passengers were handed goody bags. The airline has asked Warsaw Airport to prepare for lots more passengers – the flights are already almost fully booked until February!
- LOT Polish Airlines on 13 November launched three weekly flights between its Warsaw (WAW) hub and Hanoi (HAN). The flights, which operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays with 243-seat 767-300ERs, mark LOT’s return to Asia. With the exception of the short-lived Beijing route in 2008, LOT’s last Asia service was the Bangkok route that was dropped in 2000. For a full analysis of the new service, see this week’s route analysis.
Cake of the Week:
Allegiant Air’s Bozeman to Phoenix/Mesa
Allegiant was welcomed to its fifth Montana destination as Bozeman celebrated its new link with the winter sun and golf capital Phoenix/Mesa. Cutting the ribbon is Kevin Kelleher, board member Gallatin Airport Authority.
Allegiant’s Chairman and CEO Maurice Gallagher turned up to open Phoenix/Mesa's expanded terminal on 9 November. The big group of people cutting this ribbon are: Jennifer Toth, Arizona Department of Transportation; Jaime Duran, FAA Airports Division; Lynn Kusy, Gateway Airport Executive Director; Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney; Phoenix Councilwoman Thelda Williams; Mesa Mayor Scott Smith; Gilbert Mayor John Lewis; DWL Architects’ Sandra Kukla; and Sundt Construction’s Martin Hedlund.
- Allegiant Air on 12 November expanded its network out of Phoenix/Mesa(AZA). The ultra low-cost carrier now operates each twice a week to Bozeman, MT (BZN) and Idaho Falls, ID (IDA) with its MD80 aircraft. The airline already serves both airports from Las Vegas and Idaho Falls also has an Allegiant link with Long Beach.
The rest of this week’s new routes
A Christmas tree cake was baked to celebrate the fact that Riga, where the tradition originated 500 years ago, is linked with Kittilä in Finnish Lapland, where Santa Claus allegedly lives. Helena Rudusa, member of the board of Riga International Airport, and Richard Roberts, airBaltic’s SVP Strategic Network & Fleet Planning, cut the gorgeous celebratory cake.
- airBaltic on 10 November increased its presence in Finland, which is a new focus market for the fast-growing airline. It now serves Kittilä (KTT) in the north of Finland, known for its ski facilities, from its Riga (RIX) hub, with flights operating via Tampere (TMP) in southern Finland. Flights operate three times a week, twice with Fokker 50s and once with Q400s. This doubles the airline’s capacity on the Riga-Tampere sector, which it already serves thrice-weekly en-route to Rovaniemi.
- Alaska Airlines launched two new seasonal routes on 12 November. The airline launched its third Hawaiian route from Portland, OR (PDX) as it began flying four times a week with 157-seat 737-800s to Kona, HI (KOA) on the ‘Big Island’. Flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays until 9 April. The airline already serves Kona from Oakland, San Jose and Seattle. From San Diego, CA (SAN), the airline began flying daily to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) on Mexico’s east coast. The route, which was last operated by US Airways in 2008, will now be served with 737-400s until 11 April.
- Azul, the Brazilian low-cost carrier set up by jetBlue-founder David Neeleman, on 9 November launched a daily service between its base at Viracopos/Campinas (VCP) near São Paulo and Joinville (JOI), 400 kilometres to the south. Although it faces no direct competition, TAM and Gol indirectly compete from São Paulo-Congonhas with 20 and 18 weekly flights respectively, as well as TRIP’s 13 flights a week from São Paulo-Guarulhos.
This is not from the Fez launch, but of last week’s launch of flights between Lyon and Brest. easyJet’s crew were welcomed to Brest by the airport’s mascot, the manta ray. The manta ray is even featured in the airport logo.
- easyJet on 11 November launched its fifth Moroccan route out of Paris CDG (CDG), as the airline began flying three times a week to Fez (FEZ) with its 156-seat A319s. Direct competition comes from Air Arabia Maroc’s two weekly flights, while three airlines provide indirect competition from Paris Orly; Royal Air Maroc operates daily and Jet4you three times weekly while Transavia.com France flies once a week.
In spite of Idul Adha being celebrated in Indonesia at the moment, we managed to get these pictures through of the first passenger on Indonesia AirAsia’s route to Penang from Surabaya.
- Indonesia AirAsia continued its expansion out of Surabaya (SUB), Indonesia’s second-largest city. On 13 November, the airline launched three weekly flights to the Malaysian island of Penang (PEN) with its A320s. This is the first time the two airports are connected.
- JetLink Express launched two new routes to Mwanza (MWZ) on the Tanzanian coast of Lake Victoria on 15 November. The Kenyan airline now flies each daily from both its Nairobi (NBO) base and Kisumu (KIS) on the Kenyan Lake Victoria coast, two routes of 460 and 330 kilometres respectively. The Nairobi service faces competition from Precision Air’s also daily flights and two weekly flights on Fly540. We have been promised great photos from the launch celebrations in time for next week’s issue.
Malaysia Airlines’ chairman, Dr. Munir Majid, and the Chief Minister of Sabah, Musa Aman, celebrated Malaysia Airlines’ new eastern hub at Kota Kinabalu, which now also is connected with Tokyo Haneda. The gentlemen were joined by the airline’s EVP Commercial Strategy, Dr. Amin Khan, Malaysia’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Abdul Rahim Bakri, Malaysia Airlines’ MD/CEO Azmil Zahruddin and Sabah's Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment, Masidi Manjun, as well as cabin crew and traditional Sabah dancers.
- Malaysia Airlines became the next airline to make use of the new runway capacity and international terminal at Tokyo Haneda (HND) as the airline launched three weekly flights from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) on the island of Borneo, complementing its existing route from the airport to Tokyo Narita. The Malaysian national carrier will also fly from Kuching, starting in January. Flights from the country capital Kuala Lumpur will, however, be operated by its competitor Air Asia X.
- Skywest, the Perth (PER) based Australian regional carrier, extended its route to Esperance (EPR) on 15 November. The airline now flies onward to Ravensthorpe (RVT) four times a week with its Fokker 50 aircraft, before returning non-stop to Perth. The airline reports that the service is underpinned by the Shire of Ravensthorpe agreeing to provide ground handling at the airport.
- Spirit Airlines on 11 November began flying between Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD) and Las Vegas, NV (LAS), neither of which is the airline’s base. The daily service, which is operated with 145-seat A319s, competes with United’s 40 and American Airlines’ 35 flights a week. Mark Kopczak, Spirit’s Senior Director Market Planning, commented: “Whether you’re looking for a leisure getaway, casino gaming or an exciting convention destination, Spirit’s ultra low fares will soon take you from Chicago to the Strip in Las Vegas in addition to the many exciting getaways we already offer throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Latin America.”
- TACA, which is invited to join Star Alliance, on 15 November added a non-stop service between Tegucialpa (TGU), the capital of Honduras, and Miami, FL (MIA). The airline has previously operated the daily E-190 service as a one-stop operation via San Pedro Sula (SAP). American Airlines provides competition, also operating the route daily.
A cake was baked as Tiger Airways arrived at its second Melbourne base. Avalon Airport’s Executive Chairman David Fox was pleased to welcome Tiger Airways Australia’s MD Crawford Rix who was equally keen to hug his tiger mascot. (Thanks to aviation enthusiast Peter Kelly and Tiger Airways for the photos)
The same day as Tiger Airways’ Avalon base launched, the airline transported its 6-millionth passenger - Nikki Hernan from Adelaide who travelled with her son Ryder and won a free flight. She was congratulated by David Fox, Crawford Rix and Justin Giddings, Avalon Airport’s CEO, as well as State MP for Lara, John Erin, and State Minister for Industry and Trade, Jacinta Allan.
- Tiger Airways Australia on 10 November launched a new base at Melbourne Avalon (AVV), the city’s secondary airport, after the airport went through a major redevelopment. This means that the Melbourne-based LCC will operate bases at both of the city’s two airports. Only the Sydney (SYD) services face direct competition, with Jetstar operating 25 flights a week on the route. From 7 February next year, Tiger Airways will double its frequencies on the route. Three of the new Avalon routes – Alice Springs, Mackay and Rockhampton – were moved over from Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, however, these routes will move back to the main Melbourne airport on 7 February. The other four destinations are served by the A320 operator from both of its Melbourne bases. No Tiger Airways routes are therefore gained or lost from the Melbourne area. Avalon Airport’s CEO Justin Giddings said: “We are pleased that Tiger Airways is commencing operations at the lowest cost airport in Australia. We are encouraged by Tiger’s early successes and aggressive growth plan, and look forward to a long and successful relationship.”
||Gold Coast (OOL)
||Alice Springs (ASP)
|*WF: Weekly Frequency
- Vietnam Airlines on 15 November expanded its Burmese network as it launched flights from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Rangoon (RGN). The new service operates four times a week with A320s. This is the first time the two cities are connected, however, the Vietnamese national airline already serves Burma’s largest city from Hanoi.
Previous weeks’ route launches
After five years, KLM returned to Budapest with three 737-700 flights a day from Amsterdam. Celebrating were Kam Jandu, Budapest Airport’s Aviation Director; Robert Milders, Dutch Ambassador to Hungary; Philippe Maudet, Air France KLM’s GM Central Europe; Luuk Heling, KLM Network Planner; Pieter Elbers, KLM SVP Network; and Patrick Bohl, BUD Head of Airline Strategy and Development. The first officer on the inaugural flight (waving the Hungarian and Dutch flags) is notably the only Hungarian national among KLM’s pilots.
Airport Ambassador Gayle Beltran, WestJet's Kelowna Station Manager Bryce Gibbs and Elvis (Darrell Roebuck) celebrated the new route from the British Columbia airport to Las Vegas with this fantastic 3D Elvis cake!
Other events in the last week
Melbourne has been given a lot of attention lately and Qantas only helped as it held its 90th birthday celebrations there. John Travolta and his 707 were guests of honour. Alan Joyce, the airline’s CEO and Tim Holding, Victoria State Minister for Tourism welcomed the celebrity with cabin crew displaying uniforms throughout the ages of Qantas. Local photographer and aviation enthusiast Peter Kelly even got a quick peek into Travolta’s jet (but no photography was allowed). “The weather was miserable but the Qantas organisation for the day was excellent,” Peter tells us. Australian Grand Prix Formula One Grid Girls, sponsored by Qantas, were also on site, showing off their uniforms in front of Travolta’s jet. (Big thanks to Peter Kelly for the pictures and info!)