New airline routes launched
(30 November – 6 December)
Route of the Week:
Air Astana’s Almaty to St Petersburg
- Air Astana of Kazakhstan on 2 December launched two new routes out of its Almaty (ALA) base, the larger of its two parallel hubs, as previously reported. The airline now flies three times weekly to Tashkent (TAS), the capital of neighbouring Uzbekistan. Competition comes from Uzbekistan Airlines’ five weekly and SCAT’s two weekly flights. The airline also launched two weekly flights to St Petersburg (LED) – a distance of 3,600 kilometres. Both Rossiya and SCAT operate the same route with the same frequency. Both new routes are operated with Air Astana’s A320s, but the Tashkent service will be switched to E-190s once the new aircraft are delivered to the airline.
Cake of the Week:
Germania’s Munich to Erbil and Sulaymaniyah
- Germania launched two new routes from Munich (MUC) to Iraqi Kurdistan in the last week. On 1 December, the airline began flying to Erbil (EBL), which on 6 December was followed by Sulaymaniyah (ISU). Each of the two routes is operated once weekly, scheduled overnight, with 737-700 aircraft. Lars Gäbler, Germania’s Assistant to the Managing Directors, commented: “With this new route, Germania is offering a direct connection for the Iraqi community in South Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The flight is also very well timed so that connections via Munich can be made.”
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Air China added its second route to Australia’s Melbourne (MEL) on 5 December. The Star Alliance member now flies from its main hub in Beijing (PEK) twice a week with A330s, complementing its five weekly Shanghai Pudong services. The two routes are scheduled so that Air China now serves Melbourne with daily flights. Although Air China continuously has served Melbourne since 1987, this is the first time the airport is connected with Beijing. Other Mainland Chinese carriers with daily flights to Melbourne are China Southern (from Guangzhou) and China Eastern (from Shanghai Pudong).
- Air Macau expanded its network from Macau (MFM) to Mainland China on 1 December when the airline relaunched four weekly flights to Ningbo (NGB) south of Shanghai. 124-seat A319s will be deployed on the route that the airline last operated 1998-2004.
- airBaltic on 2 December began serving its second Moscow airport as it launched three weekly flights between its Riga (RIX) hub and Moscow Domodedovo (DME). The services to the Moscow airport southeast of the city complements its existing two daily flights to Moscow Sheremetyevo, located northwest of the city.
- airberlin launched three ski routes to the Austrian alps on 2 December. From Düsseldorf (DUS), the airline now flies three times a week to Innsbruck (INN) with 144-seat 737-700s. Meanwhile, Salzburg (SZG) got four weekly connections each with 150-seat A319s from Hannover (HAJ) and London Stansted (STN).
- Airphil Express launched its second international route on 1 December. Like its first international route, this service is to Singapore (SIN), although it complements Manila services by operating from Cebu (CEB) the Philippines’ second city. The daily A320 service competes with Cebu Pacific’s also daily flights as well as six weekly flights on SilkAir.
- Alaska Airlines continued expanding into Mexico out of California as it launched four weekly flights between San Jose, CA (SJC) and San Jose del Cabo (SJD), located at the end of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, on 4 December. The city pairs with the confusingly similar names will be linked with 157-seat 737-800s. This is Alaska Airlines’ sixth route to the Mexican tourist resort. The airline used to operate the route 1996-2005 and it has since been operated by Frontier in 2007-2008.
- Alitalia on 1 December reinstated scheduled commercial services in Salerno (QSR), the Italian city located 50 kilometres south of Naples. The last operator at the airport, Air Dolomiti, suspended its Milan Malpensa and Verona services in May this year. On behalf of Alitalia, AirAlps will now fly 10 times a week from Milan Malpensa (MXP) and six times weekly from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) with 32-seat Dornier 328 aircraft.
- Asiana launched its second route to Hong Kong (HKG) on 6 December. The South Korean Star Alliance member now flies six times a week (every day except Tuesdays) with A320s from Busan (PUS) in the southeast of the country, complementing services from Seoul Incheon. The 2,050-kilometre route faces competition from both Dragonair (oneworld) and Korean Air (SkyTeam) that each fly daily, meaning that the route now is offered by all of the three major alliances.
- Bangkok Airways, the airline analysed last week, on 2 December linked two of its own airports. The regional airline now flies its ATR72s four times a week between Trat (TDX) near the border to Cambodia and the island Koh Samui (USM), from there heading on to Phuket (HKT).
- Cape Air expanded its network out of Boston, MA (BOS) on 1 December as the airline launched three daily flights to Augusta, ME (AUG) with 9-seat Cessna 402 aircraft. The route, which is subsidised under the US government Essential Air Service programme, is taken over from US Airways, which until 30 November had Colgan Air operate the route on its behalf with larger, 33-seat Saab 340B aircraft.
- China Southern launched two new routes in the last week. On 1 December, the airline launched a service within Mainland China; from Guilin (KWL) in the south of the country to Beihai (BHY) on the south coast, just over 400 kilometres away. The 737-800 service operates five times a week in December, but increases to daily next year. The route was previously operated by Hebei Airlines, but was dropped in August this year.
- Eagles Airlines, the successor of Alpi Eagles, launched two new routes in the last week with its 100-seat Fokker 100s. On 2 December, the airline connected its main base in Venice (VCE) with Rome Fiumicino (FCO). The eight weekly flights compete with Alitalia’s 53 and easyJet’s 12 flights a week. The Italian capital’s airport, which was analysed two weeks ago, then got a further new route with the airline. Flights to the capital of Kosovo, Pristina (PRN), launched on 4 December. The two weekly flights are uncontested, with Belle Air last operating the route during last summer’s peak season.
- easyJet launched five new routes in the last week, four of which are with its Swiss operation out of Basel (BSL). Dresden (DRS) is a new airport in the easyJet network and was launched from Basel on 3 December. The same day saw the launch of four weekly flights to Edinburgh (EDI), followed the next day by two flights a week to Gran Canaria (LPA). The Las Palmas service faces competition from airberlin’s and TUIfly’s each weekly flights. On 5 December, the airline also launched its third route to Tel Aviv (TLV). Basel’s three weekly flights follow London Luton and Geneva. From Paris CDG (CDG), the airline expanded its network to Ljubljana (LJU). On 2 December, easyJet launched three weekly flights with its A319s, competing with Air France’s 13 and Adria Airways’ eight weekly flights. This is easyJet’s second route to Ljubljana, which it also serves from London Stansted, but the airline also flew from Berlin Schönefeld between 2004 and 2006.
- flybe launched a new domestic route on 6 December. From Manchester (MAN) in the north of England, the airline now serves Aberdeen (ABZ) in Scotland with 18 weekly flights. 78-seat Q400s are used on the route, competing with bmi Regional’s 30 flights a week. Mike Rutter, flybe’s CCO, commented: “As a business, we are always keen to respond to our customers’ needs and we have been pleased with the initial support for this new route. Strong forward ticket sales show that the service is clearly appealing to the business sector as it enables people to take advantage of a full business day with a convenient and time-efficient ‘day return’ schedule.”
- flydubai launched its first destination in Turkmenistan on 30 November, when it began flying its 737-800s from Dubai (DXB) to Ashgabat (ASB). The two weekly flights are uncontested.
- Jat Airways on 2 December launched a new route between Slovenia and Italy as the Serbian national carrier launched a new stopping service. The airline now flies from its Belgrade base via Potoroz (POW) on the Slovenian Adriatic coast to Rome Fiumicino (FCO). The four weekly flights, which are operated with 66-seat ATR72 aircraft, are the first connection between the coastal town and neighbouring Italy.
- Jazeera Airways became the third airline on the route between Kuwait (KWI) and Sohag (HMB) in Egypt as it launched three weekly flights on 1 December. The Egyptian airport was opened only in May this year, but already offers flights on the same route with both EgyptAir and Kuwait Airways, each operating twice-weekly.
- Jet Airways and its low-cost subsidiary JetLite launched a new daily service each out of Delhi (DEL) on 5 December. The full-service airline expanded its European network and began flying to Milan Malpensa (MXP), a route that last was operated by Alitalia 2004-2008. 220-seat A330-200s will be deployed on the route to the northern Italian city, which counts as Jet Airways’ 24th international destination. Meanwhile, JetLite connected Delhi with Chandigarh (IXC), 235 kilometres to the north. Flights are operated with 737-800s and compete with Kingfisher Airlines’ four daily flights as well as each daily flights on Indian Airlines, Go Air and parent Jet Airways.
- LAN Perú on 1 December connected its Lima (LIM) base with Rosario (ROS) in Argentina, making it the first airline in the LAN group to serve the city located 300 kilometres from the country capital Buenos Aires. The 2,850-kilometre route, LAN Perú’s third to Argentina, is operated five times weekly with 144-seat A319 aircraft.
- Mahan Air, the private Iranian airline, on 6 December launched a service out of its Tehran (IKA) base to its second destination in Thailand after Bangkok. Flights to Phuket (HKT), the airline’s 16th international destination, will operate weekly on Tuesdays and will increase to twice weekly as soon as the required government permissions are obtained. 243-seat Airbus A300-600 aircraft are used on the route
- Mihin Lanka, the SriLankan state-owned low-cost carrier, launched three new routes out of its Colombo (CMB) base on 2 December with its two A320 and A321 aircraft. Three fellow Asian capital cities now have welcomed the airline. The Bangladeshi country capital Dhaka (DAC) and the Indonesian capital Jakarta (CGK) each get three weekly flights, while Malé (MLE) is served four times weekly. The service to the Maldives enters a highly competitive market; SriLankan Airlines flies 32 times a week and Emirates daily, while China Eastern, Oman Air and Jetairfly fly one to three times a week.
- Nas Air, which now is Saudi Arabia’s only low-cost carrier, on 2 December expanded its Indian network as it launched three weekly flights between its main base in Riyadh (RUH) and Delhi (DEL), its fourth Indian destination and a previous duopoly route. The operator of 180-seat A320s, which already serves Mumbai, Cochin and Calicut in India, competes on the new route with the two countries’ national carriers. Saudi Arabian Airlines, which has served the route since 1981, flies six times a week, while Air India, a regular operator on the route since 1999, offers two weekly flights.
- Norwegian on 2 December entered the Swedish domestic trunk route between the country capital’s main airport Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) and Malmö (MMX), Sweden’s third city. Flights will operate with 186-seat 737-800s 17 times a week, three times daily on weekdays and twice on Sundays. Direct competition comes from SAS, which flies 53 times a week, while Malmö Aviation flies 91 times a week to Stockholm’s city airport Bromma. Further indirect competition comes from Copenhagen, from where Arlanda is served by SAS with 76 flights a week as well as Norwegian itself 24 times weekly. Previous operators to have taken on the SAS/Malmö Aviation duopoly include FlyMe (2004-2007) and Sterling (2007-2008).
- Okay Airways on 5 December expanded its network out of its Tianjin (TSN) base near Beijing as it launched a stopping service to Xian (XIY), the site of the Terracotta Army, continuing on to Nanning (NNG) in the south of the country. Flights operate daily with 737-800 aircraft. The first sector, between Tianjin and Xian, competes with Tianjin Airlines’ twice-daily, Shanghai Airlines’ daily and Xiamen Airlines’ four weekly flights, while the second sector, from Xian to Nanning, faces Tianjin Airlines twice daily.
- Oman Air on 3 December added its fifth European destination as it extended its four weekly flights from Muscat (MCT) to Munich (MUC). The 216-seat A330-200s now continue to Milan Malpensa (MXP). Other European destinations served by the airline are London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris CDG.
- Ryanair launched two new routes on 1 December, both within southern Europe. From its Girona (GRO) base in northeast Spain, the low-cost carrier now flies twice-weekly to Larnaca (LCA) in Cyprus. Notably, this is the only scheduled service between Spain and Cyprus. Last time the two countries were connected was in 2000, when both Iberia and Syrian Arab Airlines flew to Larnaca from Madrid. From its base at Rome Ciampino (CIA), a new route with two weekly frequencies was also added to the Greek island of Rhodes (RHO). Last summer, Blue Panorama operated to Rhodes from Rome Fiumicino, but the island has not been connected with the Italian capital since September.
- SEAIR of the Philippines resumed its domestic route between its Manila (MNL) base and Taytay (RZP) on the island of Palawan. As of 1 December, flights operate daily with 32-seat Dornier 328s. The airline last operated the route, the airport’s only service, in June 2009.
- Strategic Airlines of Australia on 3 December launched two weekly flights between Townsville (TSV) in Queensland and Denpasar (DPS) on the Indonesian island of Bali using A320 aircraft. The airline already serves the popular destination for Australians from Brisbane, Perth and Port Hedland.
- TACA Peru launched two new routes out of its Lima (LIM) hub on 1 December. Daily flights are now operated to Miami, FL (MIA), a distance of 4,200 kilometres, with 150-seat A320 aircraft. This is the future Star Alliance member’s first US route, although its fellow airlines in Groupo TACA already serve the Florida airport from six Latin American airports. Competition on the route comes from oneworld members American Airlines (14 flights a week) and LAN (12 flights a week). The same day, TACA Peru also launched flights to Mendoza (MDZ) in Argentina, its second destination in the country after Buenos Aires. This is the first time the Argentinean airport is connected with Peru. It is otherwise dominated by domestic services, but also offer flights to neighbouring Chile. TACA Peru’s new route is operated four times weekly with A320s.
- TAM launched two new routes to Miami, FL (MIA) in the last week. On 1 December, the Brazilian airline launched three weekly flights from Belo Horizonte (CNF) in the southeast of the country. The following day, four weekly flights from the country capital Brasilia (BSB) launched. Both routes are operated with 205-seat 767-300ER aircraft and compete with American Airlines, which serves both routes with each four weekly flights.
- TAME, the national carrier of Ecuador – the country analysed in this week’s issue, launched two new routes to Panama City (PTY) on 1 December. The airline now serves the capital of Panama from both Quito (UIO) and Guayaquil (GYE). Three flights a week are operated from each of the two airports. Both routes also compete with Copa Airlines, which serves each route with two daily flights. Panama City becomes TAME’s second international destination after Cali in Colombia.
- Thai AirAsia launched two new Indian routes out of its Bangkok (BKK) base on 1 December. The airline now serves both Delhi (DEL) and Kolkata (CCU), each daily with 180-seat A320 aircraft, although the Delhi route begins with four flights a week until 14 December. The low-cost carrier enters two highly competitive routes. The Delhi services face five competing airlines, although no other LCC. Thai Airways, Air India, Cathay Pacific, Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines each operate between six and 14 flights a week on the route. To Kolkata, Thai AirAsia faces Thai, Kingfisher and Jet Airways, which each fly the route with the same frequency – daily.
- Virgin America, the airline analysed this week, expanded its two bases in San Francisco, CA (SFO) and Los Angeles, CA (LAX) by adding twice-daily flights from each base to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). San Francisco flights, which launched on 6 December, are operated with 119-seat A319 aircraft, and compete with American Airlines’ 62 and United’s 13 flights a week. Los Angeles flights began on 1 December and are operated with both A319s and 149-seat A320s. Competition comes from the same two airlines, with American Airlines flying an entire 110 times a week and United 14 times weekly. Texas Governor Rick Perry said: “Texas’ status as a national economic leader and diverse business hub has attracted the attention of companies all over the country and all over the world. Virgin America’s entrance into the DFW market gives Texas consumers another strong and innovative option for travel to California and beyond, while also making it easier for Californians to do business and see the sights in the Lone Star State.”