New airline routes launched (14 – 20 December)

Route of the Week:
Kenya Airways’ Nairobi to Rome Fiumicino

At the Kenyan end, the country’s tourism minister, Najib Balala, celebrated the new Kenya Airways route to Rome with the Italian ambassador to Kenya, Pierandrea Magistrati, who waved their countries’ flags. The delighted crew prepared for the first passengers to board, which included a number of dignitaries.

On arrival in Rome, after a speech by Sergio Berlenghi, Aeroporti di Roma’s Head Of Planning and Airport Marketing Development, the ribbon was cut by Bram Steller, Kenya Airways’ COO; Najib Balala; Sergio Berlenghi; and Clemente Senni, Alitalia’s VP Communication and External Relations.

The Malindi route was celebrated with a cake

The Malindi route was celebrated with a cake, here seen cut by Mohamed S. Hamo, Kenya Airways’ Coastal Region Sales Manager; Nita Nagi, Area Manager Kenya; Malindi’s Mayor Samson Mapinga; and Bram Steller.

  • Kenya Airways launched two new routes from its Nairobi (NBO) hub in the last week. The SkyTeam carrier got connected with partner Alitalia’s Rome Fiumicino (FCO) hub with three weekly 767-300ER flights on 16 December. The airline has served the Italian capital in the past, but after operating to Rome for decades, flights were suspended in 1998. The previous day, Kenya Airways relaunched domestic services to Malindi (MYD) on the Kenyan coast. Flights now operate six times weekly with E-170 aircraft. The airline last served the route until November 2008. Flights are now operated in competition with Fly540’s daily service.

Cake of the Week:
Aer Lingus’s Shannon to Paris CDG

This amazing Eiffel Tower cake was baked to celebrate Aer Lingus’ entry to the Continental European market from Shannon. The cake was lit by Declan Power, Shannon Airport’s Aviation Marketing Manager, as he was joined by Alan Long, Aer Lingus’ Manager Shannon, and Isabel Harrison, Shannon Airport Aviation Marketing.

  • Aer Lingus on 17 December began operating its first route from Shannon (SNN) in western Ireland to continental Europe since it dropped its Düsseldorf route in 2002. The airline has now relaunched its route to Paris CDG (CDG), which it dropped in 2001. Flights will operate three times a week with 174-seat A320 aircraft. The route was last operated by Air France, which dropped the route in October last year.

The rest of this week’s new routes

A mariachi band celebrated the arrival of AeroMexico in Montreal.

A mariachi band celebrated the arrival of AeroMexico in Montreal. Joining the celebrations were Manual Montelongo, Director Mexico Tourism Board; Edgardo Flores Rivas, Mexican Consul General to Montreal; Jaime Bernal, AeroMexico’s Director of International Airports; and Luce Bureau, Montreal Airports’ Director Airline Development as well as the flight crew.

  • AeroMexico on 15 December resumed its route from Mexico City (MEX) to Montreal (YUL), which the airline now serves daily with 737 aircraft, competing with Air Canada’s also daily flights. The Mexican airline previously operated the route between April 2009 and January this year.
  • Aigle Azur launched its first service to Iraq as it began flying between Paris CDG (CDG) and Baghdad (BGW) on 19 December. The two weekly A319 flights reinstate services between France and Iraq, which have not been linked by air since Air France dropped its route on the same airport pair in 1990.
  • Air Arabia relaunched its route between its Sharjah (SHJ) base in the UAE and Afghanistan’s capital Kabul (KBL) on 16 December. Its A320s will operate the route four times a week. The airline last flew the route in 2006. While the route faces no direct competition, five airlines fly to nearby Dubai. Pamair flies 21 times a week, Safi Airways 14 and Ariana Afghan Airlines 10, while Kam Air and low-cost competitor flydubai each serve the indirectly competing route with daily flights.
  • Air Canada launched a new routes out of Montreal (YUL) on 19 December. The airline now operates a weekly service to West Palm Beach, FL (PBI), the airline’s sixth Florida destination out of Montreal after Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Miami, Tampa and Fort Myers. The route, which is operated with 146-seat A320s, was last served by the airline in 2006.
Air Macau

Air Macau celebrated its new Hefei route with a toast

  • Air Macau launched two new routes in the last week out of its Macau (MFM) base. On 15 December, the airline added a daily service to the city airport Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA), however, this is merely a move, as the airline compensates by reducing frequencies to Shanghai Pudong from three times to twice daily. Flights are operated with all A320 series aircraft, although mostly with 124-seat A319s. On 18 December, the airline launched a new service to Mainland China. Its A319s are now flown three times a week to Hefei (HFE) in the eastern part of the country.
  • Alaska Airlines continued its Mexican expansion and launched two new routes to Guadalajara (GDL) from northern California. On 15 December, San Jose, CA (SJC) got four weekly flights to the city and the following day, three weekly flights launched from Sacramento, CA (SMF). The San Jose service is operated in competition with Volaris’s daily service. Both of the new routes were operated by Mexicana until its demise in August this year.
  • Albanian Airlines on 14 December launched three weekly flights from its Tirana (TIA) base to Milan Bergamo (BGY), its fourth Italian destination after Bologna, Pisa and Turin. Flights will be operated with BAe146 aircraft, competing with Belle Air’s daily flights and also indirectly with Belle Air’s and Alitalia’s each daily flights to Milan Malpensa.
  • Allegiant Air on 15 December connected its Las Vegas, NV (LAS) base with Long Beach, CA (LGB). Four weekly flights will be operated with the airline’s MD80 aircraft, competing with jetBlue’s four daily services. Five airlines also compete indirectly with between four and 12 daily services each from Los Angeles.

The ribbon was cut for American Airlines’ new route to Barbados from Dallas/Fort Worth by Captain Myles Mitchell; Richard Sealy, Barbadian Minister of Tourism; Wellesley Joseph, American Airlines’ Country Director for Barbados; Ralph Taylor, Chairman of the Barbados Tourism Authority; George Hutson, Minister of International Business and International Transport; Brent Hardt, Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy. After speeches by Joseph and Hardt, the Minister of Tourism handed Joseph a gift to welcome the airline’s new service.

Passengers were treated with tropical fruit, juices and Brazilian music as staff and passengers joined in dancing before American Airlines’ first flight to Rio from Dallas/Fort Worth.

In Rio, airport staff welcomed passengers and crew on the inaugural flight from DFW. They sure were made to feel welcome in a true Brazilian fashion.

  • American Airlines launched three new services on 16 December, two of which were from the airline’s home in Dallas/Ft Worth, TX (DFW). Its 767-300ERs began flying three times weekly to Rio de Janeiro (GIG), the destination that it launched from JFK only a month earlier. It also launched flights with the same frequency to Bridgetown (BGI) in Barbados with 757 equipment. From Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD), the airline launched a daily service to Mexico City (MEX) with 737-800 aircraft. Competition comes from AeroMexico’s three and United’s two daily flights.

A Prime Ministerial route launch: As Miranda Sidran-Kamislic, the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Netherlands, spoke, Marcel Lekkerkerk, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol's Director Aviation Marketing; Osman Çelik, CEO Komfortour (B&H Airlines' Dutch GSA); Mihad Hajro, Chairman B&H Airlines; and Mustafa Mujezinovic, Prime Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina listened. The Prime Minister and Ambassador were then joined by Ivo van der Vlis, AMS' Senior Director Aviation Marketing, and Sweder van Voorst tot Voorst, Dutch Ambassador to Bosnia & Herzegovina, in cutting the cake.

  • B&H Airlines on 16 December expanded its network of flights to major European cities out of Sarajevo (SJJ), as it added three weekly flights to Amsterdam (AMS). Flights will be operated with its 132-seat A319 that it leases from minority shareholder Turkish Airlines. The airline previously operated the route as Air Bosna in 2002-2003.
  • Belle Air of Albania launched a weekly service between Pristina (PRN) in Kosovo and Munich (MUC) on 14 December. Flights compete with Adria’s daily flights, which launched only a couple of days earlier.
  • British Airways’ CityFlyer on 18 December launched a ski route out of London City (LCY). The airline now flies four times a week to Chambéry (CMF) in the French Alps with 98-seat E-190s.
  • Cape Air on 14 December launched 28 weekly flights between St Louis, MO (STL) and Fort Leonard Wood, MO (TBN). Flights are operated with 9-seat Cessna 402 aircraft.
  • Continental launched a seasonal service between Houston, TX (IAH) and Gunnison, CO (GUC) in the Rocky Mountains. Flights operate until 3 April 2011, mostly daily, but only four times weekly between 4 January and 16 February. The aircraft scheduled on the route are 737-700s.
  • Copa Air launched the first connection between Central America and the island of St Maarten (SXM) on 18 December, as the airline added two weekly flights with E-190s to its Panama City (PTY) network. The Caribbean island’s airport was analysed three weeks ago.
  • easyJet launched five ski routes between the UK and the Alps with its A319s in the last week, as detailed below. Lyon (LYS) received two new routes, although Geneva (GVA) got the most frequencies. Notably, this is easyJet’s first route to Leeds/Bradford (LBA).
Date Origin Destination WF*
17-Dec-10 Geneva (GVA) Leeds/Bradford (LBA) 5
18-Dec-10 Liverpool (LPL) Lyon (LYS) 2
17-Dec-10 Liverpool (LPL) Salzburg (SZG) 1
17-Dec-10 London Stansted (STN) Grenoble (GNB) 3
18-Dec-10 Lyon (LYS) Bristol (BRS) 2
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • Egyptair expanded its non-stop network between its Cairo (CAI) hub and China. As of 15 December, the Star Alliance airline serves Guangzhou (CAN) non-stop, whereas services previously operated via Bangkok. Flights operate four times a week with 777-200ER aircraft.
  • Estonian Air launched yet another new route outside its home country Estonia as it increased its presence in Vilnius (VNO), the capital of Lithuania. On 18 December, the airline launched a weekly service to Milan Malpensa (MXP) with its 737-500 aircraft. The route was operated by Star1 until its demise in October this year.

Jinan government officials and representatives of EVA Air launched the new service by activating the “Launch Ball”.

  • EVA Air launched a new service across the Taiwan Strait as its first of weekly A330-200 services took off on 18 December between Taipei (TPE) in Taiwan and Jinan (TNA), located between Beijing and Shanghai.
  • Frontier launched four routes in the last week. Its service between Denver, CO (DEN) and Steamboat Springs, CO (HDN) was last operated two seasons ago.
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c Competition (WF*)
16-Dec-10 Denver, CO (DEN) Steamboat Springs, CO (HDN) 7 E190 United (28)
18-Dec-10 Kansas City, MO (MCI) Fort Myers, FL (RSW) 1 E190  
18-Dec-10 Milwaukee, WI (MKE) Cancun (CUN) 2 A319 Delta (1)
16-Dec-10 St Louis, MO (STL) Puerto Vallarta (PVR) 1 A319 USA3000 (1)
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • Iceland Express launched a ski route from its Reykjavik (KEF) hub on 18 December. The airline now serves Innsbruck (INN) with a weekly 737-700 service.
  • ItAli Airlines, the Italian airline analysed this week, launched four scheduled routes on 16 December. To Rome Fiumicino (FCO), the airline launched domestic services from Genoa (GOA) in the north and Reggio Calabria (REG) in the south. Each route is operated twice daily, with the Genoa service competing with Alitalia’s 45 flights a week and blu-express’s 11 weekly flights, while the Reggio Calabria service faces Alitalia’s 19 and Air Malta’s five flights a week. ItAli Airlines’ MD82 aircraft also operate mid-day services from the two regional Italian airports. Reggio Calabria got a new connection with Milan Linate (LIN), while Genoa got another international link with Paris CDG (CDG). These two services are each operated once daily. The Paris service is operated in competition with Air France’s three daily flights, while the Linate route faces Alitalia’s also daily service.
  • on 20 December launched two seasonal ski services to Geneva (GVA). Weekly services are now operated from both Belfast International (BFS) and East Midlands (EMA).

Jetstar staff celebrated the new Singapore route from Melbourne with Richard Dalla Riva, Victoria’s trade minister; David Koczkar, Jetstar’s CCO; and Nathan Agnew, Melbourne Airport’s EGM Strategy, Asset and Planning. The airline’s CEO Australia and New Zealand, David Hall, also joined to support the staff in getting the first flight away to Singapore.

  • Jetstar launched three international routes in the last week. On 16 December, the airline connected its home base in Melbourne (MEL) with the base of its Asian sister airline Jetstar Asia; Singapore (SIN). Flights are operated daily with 303-seat A330-200s, competing with three daily flights on Singapore Airlines and each daily flights with Qantas and Emirates. Jetstar Asia’s CEO Chong Phit Lian commented: “The Melbourne to Singapore route is the third most popular international route pairing from Australia and second highest for freight uplift, with carried passenger traffic by uplift rising 9 per cent year on year into Singapore.” The airline also launched trans-Tasman flights to Queenstown (ZQN) in New Zealand from both Melbourne on 16 December and Gold Coast (OOL) the day after. Each of the two routes operates on a twice-weekly basis with 177-seat A320s. The Melbourne service competes with Air New Zealand’s two weekly flights and parent Qantas’ weekly services.
Juneyao Airlines celebrated at its Shanghai ticket office

Juneyao Airlines celebrated at its Shanghai ticket office as sales for the new route to Hong Kong started.

  • Juneyao Airlines on 17 December entered the highly competitive market between Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Hong Kong (HKG). Flights operate daily with A320 aircraft.
  • Kingfisher Airlines on 15 December launched two daily flights between Mumbai (BOM) and Lucknow (LKO). The domestic route is served with A319 aircraft.
  • RAK Airways launched three further routes from its Ras al-Khaimah (RKT) base in the United Arab Emirates, two to Bangladesh and one to Egypt. Three consecutive days saw the launch of new flights; 15, 16 and 17 December to Dhaka (DAC), Chittagong (CGP) and Cairo (CAI). Each of the three routes operates three times weekly with 737-400 aircraft.

Álvaro Leite, Porto Airport’s Marketing Manager, and Reda El Filali, Royal Air Maroc’s Portuguese representative, celebrated the new route from Casablanca with this cake, which they were joined by Rosa Soares, Groundforce Handler, in cutting.

  • Royal Air Maroc on 18 December launched two new routes from Casablanca (CMN) to the Iberian Peninsula. Porto (OPO) and Valencia (VLC) each got three weekly flights with ATR72 aircraft.

Although not a new route, the seasonal restart of Dublin-Grenoble services was celebrated at the French end and passengers indulged in hot drinks and croissants before heading for the ski slopes.

  • Ryanair launched six new routes in the last week. The most routes, two each, were seen at Tallinn (TLL), as the airline continued adding routes to the new destination in its network, and Paris Beauvais (BVA).
Date Origin Destination WF*
14-Dec-10 Alghero (AHO) Verona (VRN) 3
14-Dec-10 Dublin (DUB) Tallinn (TLL) 3
15-Dec-10 Malta (MLA) Birmingham (BHX) 2
16-Dec-10 Milan Bergamo (BGY) Tallinn (TLL) 2
14-Dec-10 Paris Beauvais (BVA) Krakow (KRK) 3
14-Dec-10 Paris Beauvais (BVA) Santander (SDR) 3
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • SEAIR launched two daily flights between Manila Clark (CRK) and Singapore (SIN) on 16 December, using an A319 leased from Singaporean partner airline Tiger Airways. This is the airline’s first international destination. Flights compete directly with Cebu Pacific and Tiger Airways, each of which flies the route daily.
  • Skymark on 16 December launched two daily 737-800 flights between Kobe (UKB) and Nagasaki (NGS).

An entire 140 passengers travelled on Spanair’s first of weekly flights between Barcelona and Bamako in Mali, a figure that the airline’s Head of Network and Airport Development Matt Wood tells they are very pleased with.

  • Spanair expanded its African network on 18 December as the Star Alliance member launched a weekly service from its Barcelona (BCN) hub to Bamako (BKO), the capital of Mali in West Africa. The 3,350-kilometre route is served with 212-seat A321 aircraft. The only other service between Spain and Mali is Air Mali’s twice-weekly service between Madrid and Bamako, which it launched in November last year.
  • Swiss launched two daily flights between Geneva (GVA) and Madrid (MAD) on 17 December. The A320 service competes with Iberia’s 25 and easyJet’s nine flights a week.
  • TACA Peru on 15 December launched three weekly flights between Lima (LIM) and Brasilia (BSB). The link between the Peruvian and Brazilian capitals is operated three times a week with E-190 aircraft and compete with LAN Peru’s five weekly flights.
  • TAM launched a service from São Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) to the Colombian capital Bogotá (BOG) on 19 December. The A320 service is operated four times weekly in December, before increasing to daily from January. TAM competes on the new route with Avianca’s two daily flights and GOL’s five flights a week.
  • TAROM launched a weekly ski route from Bucharest Otopeni (OTP) to Salzburg (SZG) on 19 December, using its 116-seat 737-700s. Flights operate seasonally until 6 March 2011.

Passengers arriving to Phuket on Thai AirAsia’s first flight from Denpasar/Bali were welcomed by airport and airline staff, while passengers checking in were delighted to have a new connection between the two ‘paradide islands’.

  • Thai AirAsia expanded its Phuket (HKT) network by adding a route to Denpasar (DPS) on the Indonesian island of Bali on 17 December. Four times a week, the airline’s A320s will operate the route between the two tourist islands, which never previously have been connected by air.
  • launched a weekly ski service from Eindhoven (EIN) to Salzburg (SZG) on 18 December.
  • UNI Air launched a new service across the Taiwan Strait on 20 December, between Taichung (RMQ) and Ningbo (NGB). Flights operate weekly with MD90 aircraft.
  • United on 16 December launched two seasonal ski routes from its California bases on 16 December. Los Angeles, CA (LAX) got connected with Jackson Hole, WY (JAC), while San Francisco, CA (SFO) got an intra-state service to Mammoth Lakes, CA (MMH). Both routes are operated daily with SkyWest’s CRJ700 aircraft.
  • Vietnam Airlines on 16 December launched its second route to Beijing (PEK). The SkyTeam airline now also serves the Chinese capital from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN), complementing its Hanoi services. The new route is operated three times a week with A321 aircraft. The route was last served by Air China in 2006-2007.
  • Virgin America continued its expansion as it launched five weekly flights between San Francisco, CA (SFO) and San Jose del Cabo (SJD) in Baja California, Mexico on 16 December.
  • WestJet launched three routes to winter sun destinations in the US in the last week, each operating weekly.
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c
18-Dec-10 Edmonton (YEG) Orlando, FL (MCO) 1 B73G
18-Dec-10 Regina (YQR) Phoenix, AZ (PHX) 1 B73G
17-Dec-10 Saskatoon (YXE) Phoenix, AZ (PHX) 1 B73G
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • Wind Jet on 20 December launched a weekly service between Forlì (FRL) in northern Italy and the resort Sharm El-Sheikh (SSH) in Egypt. A320 aircraft will be operated on the route.

Wizz Air Captain Gábor Lezsovits and his crew were sent off from Budapest on the inaugural flight to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen with this spectacular cake, delivered by Budapest Airport’s Timea Pálffy, Airline Marketing Manager, and Kam Jandu, Director Aviation.

The crew could not get enough of celebrations, so the Budapest-Istanbul route was also welcomed at the Turkish end. On arrival at Sabiha Gökçen Airport, the crew were presented with flowers, while arriving passengers were given gifts as a memory of the first flight.

Peter Weindhandl, Managing Director Malmö Airport, inaugurated Wizz Air’s first route from Belgrade, which becomes the airline’s fifth to the South Sweden airport analysed in this issue.

Ralf Schmid, Managing Director Memmingen Airport

Ralf Schmid, Managing Director Memmingen Airport, held a press conference together with Wizz Air’s Attila Dankovics, Head of Marketing, and Varró Balázs, Corporate Communications Manager, about the airline’s expansion between the Ukraine and the Bavarian airport. Not only did the route from Lviv launch in the last week, but Kiev services have increased from three to four weekly.


  • Wizz Air launched the most new routes in the last week; an entire eight new A320 services saw the light of day. The airline’s new Belgrade (BEG) base expanded with two new services, including Malmö (MMX), the airport analysed this week. Notably, the service between London Luton (LTN) and Brno (BRQ) in the Czech Republic connects two airports, neither of which is a Wizz Air base, although Luton is the airline’s busiest airport from where a number of ‘W routings’ are operated. On the route between Bucharest Baneasa (BBU) and Larnaca (LCA), the airline attacks its struggling competitor Blue Air. Although Wizz Air already serves Antalya in Turkey, the service between Budapest (BUD) and Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) is its first to the country’s largest city and also the route with the highest frequency to launch in the last week.
Date Origin Destination WF*
15-Dec-10 Belgrade (BEG) Malmö (MMX) 2
15-Dec-10 Belgrade (BEG) Rome Fiumicino (FCO) 3
16-Dec-10 London Luton (LTN) Brno (BRQ) 3
18-Dec-10 Bucharest Baneasa (BBU) Larnaca (LCA) 2
17-Dec-10 Budapest (BUD) Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) 4
18-Dec-10 Kiev Borispol (KBP) Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) 2
18-Dec-10 Lodz (LCJ) Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) 2
18-Dec-10 Lviv (LWO) Memmingen (FMM) 2
*WF: Weekly Frequency

Other celebrations in the last week

Porto Airport welcomed its 5-millionth passenger on 15 December as Telma Ferreira landed on’s flight from Funchal in Madeira. The lucky passenger wins a free return ticket to Paris. The Airport Director, Fernando Vieira, was delighted that the airport for the first time has reached the five-million mark in a year and was joined in the celebrations by Carlos Madeira, Deputy CEO of ANA.

Previous weeks’ celebrations

Air Macau celebrated its new route to Ningbo with a toast on 12 December.


  1. Alt says:

    Belavia also started weekly Minsk-Ashgabat from 14th of December.

    • Thank you for pointing that out, Alt. Indeed, we had missed that route, which is operated once a week with 737-500 aircraft. Turkmenistan Airlines previously operated the route, but dropped it in October.

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