New airline routes launched (7 – 13 December)

Route of the Week:
United’s Washington Dulles to Lagos

Two ribbons cut: In Washington, the ribbon was cut by Ambassador Adebowale I. Adefuye, the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, who was flanked by Charles Duncan, United Airlines’ VP Transatlantic Sales, and Chris Browne, VP and Airport Manager, Washington Dulles International Airport. On arrival in Lagos, the Ambassador and Charles were joined by Richard Aisuebeogun, Managing Director Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria; Harold Demuren, Director General Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority; Fidelia Njeze, Nigerian Minister of Aviation; Joseph D. Stafford, US Consul General in Lagos; and Anne Ene-Ita, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Aviation.

  • United Airlines expanded its young African network as it added flights to Lagos (LOS) to its recently launched Accra (ACC) service from Washington Dulles, DC (IAD). The 183-seat 767-300ERs will operate the route on a daily basis. Other services between the US and the Nigerian city are non-stop, on Delta six times weekly from Atlanta and on Arik Air three times a week to New York JFK. Speaking in Nigeria, Charles Duncan, United’s VP Sales Transatlantic, Middle East and India, said: “I am grateful to the Aviation Minister and all of our partners here who made launching the new service to Washington possible. This service will facilitate stronger commercial and cultural ties between the United States and Nigeria, while making travel more convenient and more accessible to our customers in Africa and the Americas.”

Cake of the Week: Auckland’s Jetstar from
Melbourne and Thai from Bangkok

As Jetstar’s new flight from Melbourne arrived in Auckland, it was welcomed with this spectacular star-shaped cake. Jetstar’s Auckland Airport Manager, Margaret Staite, did the honours, watched by a hungry Skycare Ground Handling reception team consisting of Serah Lupo, Training Manager; Pete Yap, COO, and Kim Holder, Manager Cabin Crew.

  • Jetstar, the Australian low-cost carrier analysed this week, launched two new services in the last week. From Brisbane (BNE) on the east coast, it launched a domestic service to Perth (PER) on the west coast. The daily services compete with Virgin Blue’s two daily flights and parent Qantas’s four flights a day. From Melbourne (MEL), the expansion was international, as the airline launched daily flights to Auckland (AKL). Although Auckland already is an important destination for Jetstar, which also flies domestically in new Zealand, the airport has not been connected with Jetstar’s main base in Melbourne prior to now. Competition comes from Qantas’s 20 and Air New Zealand’s 17 weekly flights as well as each daily services on both Virgin Blue and Emirates. Both new routes are operated with 177-seat A320 aircraft.

Also December 13: OK, we’re just a tad late reporting this route: Bangkok-Auckland opened in 1960 and to celebrate this half century, Auckland...baked another cake of course!!! Dr Piyasvasti Amranand, President Thai Airways (centre), cuts himself a nice big slice watched by Kevin Bowler, CEO Tourism New Zealand (left), and Simon Bowler, CEO Auckland Airport, at a reception at the superb Villa Maria Estate - just 3km from the international terminal. Besides the big cake, Thai celebrated by announcing that the route will go daily from July 2011 - having gone from four-weekly to five only last July. Angel: Brandi and Janelle from
WestJet’s Ottawa-Las Vegas

Richard Bartrem, WestJet’s VP Communications and Elvis lookalike, was joined by showgirls Brandi and Janelle as celebrations were due for WestJet’s first flight to Las Vegas from Canada’s capital Ottawa. After shaking hands with Michael Crockatt, Ottawa Airport Authority’s VP Business Development and Marketing, ‘Elvis’ and the girls were joined by the WestJet Ottawa team; Johanne Beaudry (station manager), Katie Hall, Laurie Antonakos and Lauren Bussieres.

  • WestJet launched three new routes in the last week. On 9 December, the Canadian low-cost carrier began flying from the country capital Ottawa (YOW) to Las Vegas, NV (LAS) twice weekly. The last time the two airports were connected was the winter 2007-2008, when Air Canada operated the route. From Quebec City (YQB), the airline launched two routes. On 11 December, a weekly service launched to Cancun (CUN) in Mexico, the next day followed by another weekly service to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL). The latter route competes with Air Transat’s two weekly flights, while Cancun never has been served from Quebec before. “We are thrilled to be able to offer the people of Quebec City and its surrounding area the chance to escape to two fantastic sun destinations this winter,” said Hugh Dunleavy, WestJet EVP Strategy and Planning. “There is a strong demand in the Quebec City region for affordably priced travel to sun destinations.”

The rest of this week’s new routes

  • Adria Airways in the last week launched a secondary base in Pristina (PRN) in Kosovo, opening three new routes to Germany. On 10 December, it launched daily flights to Munich (MUC), followed by two flights a week to Düsseldorf (DUS) the following day and three weekly flights to Frankfurt (FRA) on 12 December. All three routes are operated with the airline’s new 135-seat A319s. Notably, the three airports are all hubs for Adria’s Star Alliance partner Lufthansa. While the Frankfurt route is uncontested, the Düsseldorf and Munich services face competition. From Düsseldorf, airberlin flies three times a week and Munich Airlines and Germania each weekly, while from Munich, Munich Airlines flies once weekly. Adria already operates one route, between Vienna and Frankfurt, which is not from its main Ljubljana base in its home country Slovenia.

As Air Astana’s Fokker 50 arrived in Yekaterinburg, the captain cut the ribbon with Dmitry Kaparulin, Air Astana’s Regional GM Russia & CIS and Yevgeniy Chudnovskiy, General Director Koltsovo airport. The airline’s staff then congratulated the first passengers to check in for the maiden flight back to Astana. At the press conference, Yevgeniy Krutov, Regional Manager Russia at Air Astana, joined Kaparulin and Chudnovskiy. The service will be operated with E-190s when they are delivered to the airline.

  • Air Astana continued its international expansion out of Kazakhstan as it on 8 December launched two weekly flights from Astana (TSE) to Ekaterinburg (SVX). Flights on the 950-kilometre route initially operate with Fokker 50s, but will be served with E-190s once these aircraft are delivered to the airline next year.
Launch ceremony for AirAsia X's first flight to Tokyo

At the launch ceremony for AirAsia X's first flight to Tokyo, Shaharuddin Mohd Som, Malaysian Ambassador to Japan; Kamarudin Meranun, Chairman AirAsia X; Azran Osman-Rani, CEO AirAsia X; and Haruhiko Shimoda, President and CEO Tokyo International Air Terminal Corporation were flanked by AirAsia X cabin crew and Japanese drummers.

  • AirAsia X became the first low-cost carrier to serve Tokyo Haneda (HND) internationally as it launched three weekly flights from its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) base on 9 December. The 383-seat A330-300 operator joins Malaysia Airlines in offering flights between Malaysia and Haneda, with the national carrier already operating from Kota Kinabalu and launching flights from Kuching early next year.
easyJet’s Manchester - Gothenburg route launch

easyJet’s Manchester base was the third airport the low-cost carrier connected with Gothenburg since its arrival at Sweden’s second city in September. The delighted crew was welcomed with the top cake of the elaborate, four-tiered cake baked to celebrate the occasion.

  • easyJet launched five new routes in the last week. Bristol (BRS) got access to both sunshine and skiing as two weekly flights were launched to Fuerteventura (FUE) on 11 December and another two weekly flights launched to Salzburg (SZG) the following day. The flights to the Canary Island compete with Thomas Cook’s and Thomson’s each daily flights, while the Salzburg route was operated by Thomas Cook last winter season and both Thomas Cook and Ryanair the winter peak season before that. From Lyon (LYS), the airline instead launched flights to capital cities. On 9 December, the low-cost carrier launched three weekly flights to Prague (PRG), followed by also three weekly flights to Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) the following day. The Prague route faces competition from Air France’s 12 weekly flights, while the Berlin route is a relaunch. easyJet operated the route 2007-2008, although then from its base at the Berlin end. From Manchester (MAN), easyJet launched its third route to Gothenburg (GOT), after the recent launches of flights from London Gatwick and Berlin Schönefeld. On 10 December, the airline launched three weekly flights, competing with City Airlines’ 11 flights a week.

As Etihad arrived in South Korea, the ribbon was cut by James Hogan, Etihad’s CEO; Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, UAE Ambassador South Korea; Bokhwam Kim, Transport Attaché, Korean Embassy to UAE; and Young-Geun Lee, EVP Incheon Airport. A cocktail function was held at Seoul’s Grand Hyatt for more than 500 Korean business leaders, celebrities, travel trade and media guests.

  • Etihad became the third and final ‘MEB3’ airline to be connected with Seoul Incheon (ICN) as it launched a service from its Abu Dhabi (AUH) hub on 10 December. The airline now flies daily to the South Korean capital with its A330-200 aircraft. Both Emirates and Qatar Airways already serve the airport daily from each of its hubs, while Korean Air flies five times weekly between Seoul Incheon and Dubai. With the new route, Etihad has launched a codeshare partnership with the South Korean Star Alliance member Asiana. Etihad’s CEO James Hogan said: “This is an important time for Etihad Airways as we start to establish our brand in the Korean market. We have held a series of important activities over the past week, which have served to build awareness of Etihad’s outstanding products and showcase the high levels of service of the World’s Leading Airline.”

In Taipei, the ribbon was cut by Lin Bou-Shiu, Chairman EVA Air; Zhou Qingxiong, President Taiwan Visitors Association; Li Wanli, Deputy Director Taiwan CAA; Wei Shengzhi, Deputy Director Taoyuan Airport; and Zheng Guangyuan, GM EVA Air. The airline was then welcomed to Zhengzhou in Mainland China. The Deputy Governor of Henan Province, Zhang Dawei, spoke to the gathered dignitaries before another ribbon was cut.

  • EVA Air launched a new service across the Taiwan Strait on 10 December. From its Taipei (TPE) base, the airline now flies twice a week to Zhengzhou (CGO) in the eastern part of Mainland China. The airline, which serves the 2h 40min route with 252-seat A330-200s, faces competition from Mandarin Airlines, the regional subsidiary of local competitor China Airlines, which also flies twice a week, and China Southern that flies once weekly.
  • flybe, the British regional airline analysed this week (LINK), expanded its network into Nantes (NTE), the western French city that it began serving from London Gatwick in July, as it launched flights from Manchester (MAN). Services operate four times a week with 78-seat Q400 aircraft as of 7 December. The route was last operated in 2006 by Aer Arann.

A new sight at Kansai: Hong Kong Express’s 737-800s will from now on be spotted daily at the Japanese airport.

  • Hong Kong Express resumed services between Hong Kong (HKG) and Osaka Kansai (KIX) on 11 December. Having suspended the route in March last year, flights now operate daily with 164-seat 737-800s, competing with Cathay Pacific’s 20, All Nippon Airways’ seven and Air India’s three flights a week.

A cake was baked to celebrate Ryanair’s arrival to Estonia’s capital. All in one day, the airport welcomed flights from Stockholm Skavsta, Oslo Rygge and Düsseldorf Weeze - and five more routes are already lined up.

  • Ryanair launched four new routes in the last week, all on 13 December. One of the routes is between two non-base airports; Paris Beauvais (BVA) and Gothenburg City (GSE). The airports are now connected three times a week, indirectly competing with Air France’s 19 weekly flights between the cities’ main airports. The remaining three routes are all operated from Ryanair bases to a new destination; Tallinn (TLL). The Estonian capital is now served from Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) four times a week, competing indirectly with Estonian Air’s 16 flights a week to Stockholm Arlanda. From its new Oslo Rygge (OSL) base, the airline flies three times a week in indirect competition with Estonian Air’s four weekly flights and Norwegian’s three flights a week to Oslo Gardemoen. From Düsseldorf Weeze (NRN), Ryanair now flies three times weekly.

TransAsia’s Chairman Lin Mingsheng met with Hua Jianhui, Deputy Governor of Anhui Province, to celebrate the new route. At the inauguration ceremony, the gathered crowd was addressed by Anhui Airport Authority’s Chairman Jiang Houyu.

  • TransAsia Airways on 7 December launched a weekly service between Taipei Songshan (TSA), the Taiwanese capital’s city airport, and Hefei (HFE), located 400 kilometres west of Shanghai. Flights operate with A321 aircraft. Indirect competition comes from China Eastern’s also weekly flights to Taipei Taoyuan.

Ukraine International, the first Ukrainian airline to serve Sri Lanka, was welcomed to Colombo. Flights operate twice a week from Kiev via Abu Dhabi.

After a lamp-lighting ceremony, passengers were welcomed with traditional music and dancing. Flowers were hung around the thrilled arriving passengers’ necks.

  • Ukraine International launched two new routes from its Kiev Borispol (KBP) base to South Asian destinations in the last week. On 9 December, the airline began flying to Goa (GOI) in India twice a week, followed on 12 December by Colombo (CMB) in Sri Lanka, also twice-weekly. This makes the airline the first Ukrainian carrier to serve Sri Lanka. Both routes operate with 1-hour technical stop overs in Abu Dhabi (AUH) with 189-seat 737-800 aircraft.

Louisville’s Mayor Jerry Abramson spoke as he welcomed Vision Airlines to the Atlanta route, which breaks the Delta non-stop monopoly. He was followed at the podium by David Meers, Vision Airlines’ SVP. The airline’s new Louisville ticket desk staff was thrilled to pose for a picture. Arriving passengers were treated to breakfast of muffins, Danish, coffee and juices and goodie bags filled with Vision Airlines information, toys and trinkets were given to all passengers.

  • Vision Airlines, which predominantly does charter operations, launched a new scheduled route domestically within the US on 13 December. The airline now flies twice-daily between Atlanta, GA (ATL) and Louisville, KY (SDF) with 30-seat Dornier 328 aircraft. Competition on the route comes from Delta’s 61 flights a week. “Vision Airlines is excited to offer this new, low-cost air service to the communities of Louisville and Atlanta. It is our desire to continue to grow our service and route structure and offer tremendous value to the business and leisure traveler,” said David Meers, Senior Vice President for Vision Airlines.
  • Volaris, the Mexican low-cost carrier, on 13 December launched its fourth international destination and its first not to be to the US state of California. From Guadalajara (GDL), the airline now flies seasonally to Chicago Midway, IL (MDW) until the end of January. Its 144-seat A319s will be flown daily on the route until the end of the year. In January, frequencies are then dropped to three weekly flights. Indirect competition, to Chicago O’Hare, comes from AeroMexico’s five weekly flights.

Previous weeks’ route launches

Eagles Airlines launched its new service to Rome

As Eagles Airlines launched its new service to Rome, which it then connects with Pristina in Kosovo. Flights to Tirana will be launched later on. Federico Scriboni from Rome’s airport marketing team held a press conference with Eagles Airlines’ Mauro Calvano, CEO, and Mauro Gagliano, commercial director.


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