Route of the Week:
Hainan Airlines’ Beijing to Toronto
Lloyd McCoomb, President and CEO of Greater Toronto Airports Authority, exchanged gifts with Hainan Airlines’ President Wang Yingming to celebrate the new Beijing-Toronto route. The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, although not physically able to attend, congratulated Hainan Airlines on the launch in a special congratulation letter, pointing out that it suitably now also is the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and China.
- Hainan Airlines became the first Chinese carrier to serve Toronto (YYZ) on 27 November when it launched flights from Beijing (PEK). The airline will operate the route three times each week using an A340-600. Air Canada already operates the route daily and also operates daily flights to Shanghai Pudong from Toronto. Travel time is around 13 hours. Other non-stop flights between Canada and China include Air Canada and Air China both operating daily flights from Vancouver to Beijing, and Air Canada and China Eastern both operating daily flights from Vancouver to Shanghai. There are currently no non-stop flights from Montreal to China.
Cake of the Week:
British Airways’ London Heathrow to Gothenburg
Peter Rasmussen, British Airways’ Regional Commercial Manager Northern Europe, and Brett Weihart, Gothenburg Landvetter Airport’s Deputy Managing Director & Director Aviation Business, celebrated the new link to London Heathrow with this magnificent double-decker bus cake. anna.aero’s unsubstantiated theory is that one of the figurines (the one with blonde hair) is supposed to be London’s charismatic mayor Boris Johnson, an ardent double-decker bus supporter.
In connection with the route launch, BA had a real double-decker bus travel around the city of Gothenburg (also known as ‘Little London’) playing music by the Beatles, promoting the new route to weekend shoppers who were handed flyers and had the chance to win free flights.
- British Airways on 28 November began twice daily flights from London Heathrow (LHR) to Gothenburg (GOT) using an A319. The route is already served twice-daily by SAS. Indirect competition is provided by easyJet which serves Gothenburg daily from London Gatwick, and Ryanair which operates double-daily flights from London Stansted to Gothenburg Save airport. An analysis of the history of the UK – Gothenburg market can be found here.
The rest of the week’s new routes
Celebrating the launch of twice-weekly services to Arvidsjaur in northern Sweden from Hannover Airport are Anika Gerstenkorn from the airport’s communications department, airberlin’s station manager Kristof Böttcher and Claus-Peer Zeise (centre), airberlin sales, as well as the airberlin crew.
- airberlin introduced twice-weekly (Monday and Friday) flights between Hannover (HAJ) and Arvidsjaur (AJR) using a 737-700 on 29 November. Arvidsjaur is located in northern Sweden and is used by car companies for extreme winter testing. Hannover is the nearest airport to Wolfsburg, the home of VW. airberlin is also offering connecting flights to Arvidsjaur via Hannover from Stuttgart (home of Daimler-Benz and Porsche), Munich (home of BMW) and Vienna. Last year, Arvidsjaur airport handled 42,664 passengers and must be one of the few airports in Europe which reported its busiest month in February.
Hamburg Airport’s Head of Aviation Marketing Jörgen Kearsley presented easyJet’s crew with flowers and the trademark Hamburg cake! The new route from Manchester operates daily and is easyJet’s fourth to the wealthy north German city. (Photo: M Penner)
- Despite the introduction of the new eco-tax in Germany and an increase in APD in the UK, easyJet has this week launched two new routes between the UK and Germany on 26 November. To the delight of budget-conscious Airbus employees, the carrier has started daily flights between Manchester (MAN) and Hamburg (HAM) using an A319, a route currently served up to three times daily by Lufthansa Cityline with smaller CRJ700s. The other new route is between Edinburgh (EDI) and Cologne/Bonn (CGN), which will be served with four weekly flights this winter. This is a route that germanwings operates during the summer (five times weekly) but not during the winter.
- Fast-growing flydubai has added two more unusual destinations to its network from Dubai (DXB). The latest route additions are Abha (AHB) in Saudi Arabia and Sulaimaniyah (ISU) in Iraq. Abha is served daily as of 23 November while Sulaimaniyah is connected with just two weekly flights from 24 November. The Iraq route will depart Dubai at 22:15, arriving in Iraq at 00:25 the following morning. The return flight departs Sulaimaniyah at 01:10 and arrives in Dubai at 04:40 local time. According to OAG schedule data, competition on the route will be provided by Iraqi Airways who also operates the route twice weekly. These routes become the airline’s 26th and 27th destinations, with another (Ashgabat) starting next week.
- Jeju Air this week introduced two new services between South Korea and the Philippines using its 737-800s. The low-cost carrier started flying five times per week between Seoul Incheon (ICN) and Manila (MNL) on 24 November and twice-weekly between Busan (PUS) and Cebu (CEB) the following day. The Seoul to Manila route is already keenly contested with Asiana, Korean Air and Philippine Airlines all operating the route twice-daily and Cebu Pacific also offering daily flights between the two cities. On the Busan to Cebu route, Jeju Air faces competition from Cebu Pacific, which operates four weekly flights.
Kim Jae-kun (front left), the CEO of Jin Air, and guests from the air travel industry handed flowers to the crew as the low-cost carrier first flew to Macau. The overnight service from Seoul Incheon competes with Air Macau.
- Another low-cost carrier from South Korea operating 737-800s, Jin Air (a subsidiary of the national carrier Korean Air), also began a new route from Seoul Incheon (ICN) this week. The airline on 29 November began operating five flights per week to Macau (MFM) in direct competition with Air Macau. Jin Air’s flights depart Seoul at 23:00 arriving in Macau at 01:50 the following morning. The return flight departs Macau at 02:50 and arrives back in Seoul at 07:20.
The new Qatar Airways service was celebrated in Nice by Gilles Bonnaud, Ambassador of France to the State of Qatar; Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker; Hervé de Place, President Nice Côte d’Azur Airport; and Eric Didier, Qatar Airways’ Country Manager France & Benelux.
- Qatar Airways chose to start services to Nice (NCE) in France from its Doha (DOH) base via Milan Malpensa (MXP) on 24 November. An A330-200 will operate the service three times weekly. Qatar Airways already serves Paris twice-daily so Nice thus becomes the airline’s second destination in France. On board the maiden flight to Nice was Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker, who led a high-profile delegation and key media from across the Middle East and later thanked the authorities for their support in facilitating the latest route developments in France. “Qatar Airways appreciates the support provided by the French government to further consolidate our presence in France, where we have grown as an airline of choice over the past 10 years,” he said. “The Doha – Nice route launch coincides with Qatar Airways’ 10 years of flying to France and we are delighted to start on this occasion flights to Nice as our 95th destination.” The President of the Directory of the Côte d’Azur Airports, Hervé de Place added: “I am very pleased with Qatar Airways’ new route from Nice to Doha and I thank the airline for the trust they have put in Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. These new flights will allow our region to increase its economic and tourism ties with the Middle East and even onwards to Asia Pacific.”
Shanghai Airlines last week launched daily flights from Shanghai Pudong to Tangshan. Welcoming the first flight at Tangshan Airport (which only opened in July) are Yang Logbo, commissioner of Tangshan Transport Agency; Xin Zhichun, deputy mayor of Tangshan City; and Liang Yongchang, chairman of China Eastern Airlines’ Hebei Office. Notably, the airline has not yet repainted the aircraft to reflect that it no longer is a Star Alliance member.
- Shanghai Airlines (recently merged with China Eastern) on 23 November started daily flights between Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Tangshan (TVS), located east of Beijing, using a 737-800. For the first time, people in Tangshan can now catch a direct flight from Tangshan to Shanghai. The flight leaves Shanghai Pudong Airport at 09:10 and arrives at Tangshan Airport at 11:05. The returning flight departs from Tangshan Airport at 11:55, and arrives back in Shanghai at 13:50. Since the opening of Tangshan Sannuhe Airport on 13 July 2010, the airport has served over 22,300 passengers with an average load factor of over 76%.
Celal Özuğur, General Director of State Airport Operations, and Ang Beng Siong, Singapore Airlines’ GM Turkey, cut the cake for the new non-stop service between Singapore and Istanbul Atatürk, while the airport operator TAV’s GM Istanbul, Kemal Ünlü, the crew and other dignitaries looked on.
- Singapore Airlines on 22 November launched a non-stop service from its Singapore (SIN) hub to Istanbul Atatürk (IST). Four flights a week will be operated with 777-200ER aircraft, competing with as well as complementing alliance partner Turkish Airlines’ five weekly flights. Singapore Airlines has served the Turkish city since 1988, but flights have been operated as one-stop services via Dubai. The flight time for the new non-stop service is 2 hours 25 minutes shorter than before
Other celebrations in the last week
Wizz Air welcomed its millionth passenger for 2010 at Budapest Airport; 19 year old student Lili Anna Marton, who was on her way to Milan. Along with the crew, Balazs Varro, Wizz Air’s head of communications, and Patrick Bohl, Budapest Airport’s head of aviation development, welcomed the surprised passenger who enjoyed a glass of champagne and received gifts, including a free return ticket for future use.
As the Mexican ultra low-cost carrier vivaaerobus celebrated its fourth birthday with this cake made from cupcakes, the airline also took the opportunity to launch the Christmas present of the year (?) – the airline’s 2011 cabin crew calendar. Proceeds go to Alianza Anticáncer Infantil, a children’s cancer charity.