New airline routes launched (1-7 February 2011)
Route of the Week
Skymark’s four new routes
- Skymark, the Japanese domestic low-cost carrier that recently ordered A380 aircraft for future international expansion, launched four new routes with its 177-seat 737-800s on 1 February. The only route to face direct competition is the one Skymark launches with the highest frequencies; ANA and JAL also fly between Nagoya Chubu (NGO) and Sapporo Chitose (CTS), operating with 56 and 28 weekly frequencies respectively.
|Tokyo Haneda (HND)||Nagoya Chubu (NGO)||7|
|Nagoya Chubu (NGO)||Ibaraki (IBR)||14|
|Nagoya Chubu (NGO)||Sapporo Chitose (CTS)||21|
|Sapporo Chitose (CTS)||Ibaraki (IBR)||14|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency|
Cake of the Week (and Guess the Pilot’s Age Competition)
easyJet’s Liverpool to Brussels
- easyJet on 7 February for the first time began serving the Belgian market from the UK. The airline now operates its 156-seat A319s six times weekly (daily except Saturdays) between Liverpool (LPL) and Brussels (BRU). This is easyJet’s sixth route to the Belgian capital, which now is connected with a total of 10 UK airports. Liverpool John Lennon Airport, which for long has sought the route, anticipates a high share of business travel on the new route. Brian Simpson, MEP for UK North West and Chairman of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, said: “I’m delighted that easyJet is starting flights between Liverpool and Brussels, and honoured that it chose Liverpool to launch its first British based service to the EU capital. This brings Merseyside and the wider North West region closer to Europe and will allow more choice for regular travellers such as myself.”
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Aero, the Nigerian airline formally known as Aero Contractors, on 7 February launched a daily domestic service between its Lagos (LOS) base and Enugu (ENU) in the south east of the country. The service, which is operated with 737-400 aircraft, competes with also daily flights on both Air Nigeria and Arik Air. Aero’s Accountable Manager, Capt J. Akin George, ambitiously stated: “Aero is commencing with one daily flight from Lagos to Enugu and as traffic increases on the route, we also anticipate increasing our frequency on the route. We are expanding domestically and will be expanding regionally over the next few months aiming to become the largest carrier in Africa offering the best value fares.”
- airberlin on 3 February launched a new service from Düsseldorf (DUS) to Bari (BRI) in the southeast of Italy. Flights operate twice-weekly with 150-seat A319s. Notably, the new route follows airberlin’s suspension of Bari services from Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart, which will be picked up by germanwings at the beginning of the summer season. On 7 February, airberlin also moved two of its London operations from Stansted to London Gatwick (LGW) where the airline will connect with its future alliance partner British Airways. The new routes operate from Hannover (HAJ) 13 times weekly and Nuremberg (NUE) 11 times a week, while the airline’s three other London services remain at Stansted. See video footage from the Gatwick celebrations.
- Allegiant Air on 1 February again moved its Orlando operations. Exactly a year earlier, the airline moved some of its flights from Orlando Sanford to Orlando International. Now, its flights – all operated with MD80 aircraft – are moving back to Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB), the airport analysed this week, where it now consolidates its Orlando area operations. On the day of welcoming the airline back, Larry Dale, Orlando Sanford International Airport’s President and CEO, commented: “Today we join with the Central Florida community in celebrating Allegiant’s return to Sanford! Welcome home!”
|Allentown, PA (ABE)||6|
|Des Moines, IA (DSM)||2|
|Grand Rapids, MI (GRR)||3|
|Greenvillle/Spartanburg, SC (GSP)||4|
|Huntington, WV (HTS)||2|
|Knoxville, TN (TYS)||5|
|Lexington, KY (LEX)||2|
|Springfield, MO (SGF)||2|
|Tri-Cities, TN (TRI)||2|
|Youngstown, OH (YNG)||2|
|*WF: Weekly Frequency|
- Arik Air launched a new domestic route between two Nigerian oil cities in the area around the Niger Delta on 1 February. From Port Harcourt City (PHG), the military base that was the sole airport serving Port Harcourt during the international airport’s closure, the airline now flies to Warri (QRW), 140 kilometres away. The five weekly services are operated Monday to Friday with 72-seat Q400 aircraft. This is the airline’s third route to Warri after Lagos and Abuja.
- Delta Air Lines secured local rights between Accra (ACC) in Ghana and the Liberian capital Monrovia (ROB) on 2 February. As of September last year, the airline already flies the route as an add-on to two of its three weekly flights from its main hub in Atlanta. The services operate with 215-seat 767-300 aircraft. Competition comes from Air Nigeria’s five, Kenya Airways’ three and Arik Air’s two weekly flights. Notably, Ghana has no local airline that operates internationally.
- Emirates on 2 February became the first Gulf carrier to fly to Basra (BSR), the city in oil-rich southern Iraq, as it launched four weekly flights. From its Dubai (DXB) hub, the airline now operates 237-seat A330-200s on the 960-kilometre route on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while Monday services are served with the two-class version of the same aircraft, with 278 seats. Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Emirates’ chairman and CEO, said: “Basra is a significant market for Emirates. The city’s recent growth has paved the way for numerous multinational companies and industries to invest in infrastructure and we have seen strong potential from a number of our markets. Since the 2009 oil field bid, traffic from the US and Europe into Basra has increased significantly and we are ready to capitalise on this growth.” Tim Clark, Emirates’ president, continued: “Our strong forward bookings for Basra indicate the high demand for services to this destination, particularly from the corporate sector as the city rebuilds. Iraq is a key destination for Emirates and we expect our operations to Basra to thrive alongside the city’s growth.”
- Ethiopian Airlines on 2 February launched a new route to its third Sudanese destination as it began operating four weekly flights between its Addis Ababa (ADD) hub and Malakal (MAK) on the Nile. Flights operate with 78-seat Q400 aircraft. This is the first time the airport is connected with an international destination since Sudan Airways operated a few services to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia in 1982-1983.
- Firefly, Malaysia Airlines’ regional subsidiary, launched two new domestic routes from its secondary base in Penang (PEN), the island off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia, on 1 February. With its fleet of 72-seat ATR72s, it now serves Kota Bahru (KBR) and Kuantan (KUA), both on the opposite coast. Flights operate four and three times weekly respectively.
- Iberia on 1 February expanded its Brazilian network as it launched a new route from its Madrid (MAD) hub to Fortaleza (FOR), continuing onward to Recife (REC), both in the north of the country. With 254-seat A340-300s, flights operate three times weekly, on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Iberia is the second network carrier to serve the two Brazilian cities with European services after TAP Portugal, although flights to Fortaleza are also operated by Air Italy and Arkefly. Iberia currently offers two daily return flights between Madrid and São Paulo as well as one daily flight to Río de Janeiro. In 2010, the Spanish airline carried 492,000 passengers between Europe and Brazil, nearly 7% more than in the previous year. The first flight on the new route also had a promising start with a load factor of over 90%.
- Nas Air, the Saudi Arabian low-cost carrier, added its third route to Dubai (DXB) on 2 February. The airline now flies four times weekly, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from Dammam (DMM) in the oil-rich eastern part of the country. The flights, which are operated with 180-seat A320s, compete with Saudi Arabian Airlines’ 12, Emirates’ seven and Malaysia Airlines’ two weekly flights. Nas Air already serves Dubai from its bases in Riyadh and Jeddah.
- niki, the Austrian airline cooperating with airberlin, on 3 February launched a new Spanish route as it connected its Vienna (VIE) base with Valencia (VLC), Spain’s third-largest city. Flights operate twice weekly with a mix of A320 and E-190 aircraft. The route was last operated by Iberia in 2008.
- Star Peru, the low-cost carrier in Peru, the country analysed this week, on 2 February launched a new domestic route. The airline now flies three times weekly between Trujillo (TRU) and Talara (TYL), both in the northwest of the country. The 450-kilometre route is operated with the airline’s fleet of BAe 146 aircraft.
- Tiger Airways Australia on 7 February entered the busy route between Sydney (SYD) and Brisbane (BNE) as the airline launched 19 weekly flights between the two airports with its 180-seat A320s. Competition on the route, which saw well over four million passengers last year, comes from Qantas’ 138, Virgin Blue’s 126 and Jetstar’s 25 weekly flights. Sydney Airport’s CEO Russell Balding said: “The Sydney-Brisbane route is one of the busiest in Australia so passengers will benefit from the additional choice that Tiger Airways provides.” Brisbane Airport has kindly informed us of how the airport has remained open during the Queensland flood crisis and how major tourist destinations have recovered well and again welcome visitors. Brisbane Airport donated AU$250,000 and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol AU$125,000 to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal. Staff have also volunteered to donate a day of their annual leave, which will raise close to an additional AU$100,000 to the fund.
- WestJet added its fourth route to Palm Springs, CA (PSP) on 2 February when the airline began flying to the desert city famous for its leisure activities from Toronto Pearson (YYZ). The twice-weekly 737-700 service is the first time the two airports are connected. Thomas Nolan, Executive Director, Palm Springs International Airport, said: “This new Toronto service should be a welcome complement to their existing service here because it will be this airport’s first direct flight to eastern Canada. Thank you to all of our Canadian visitors and residents for making our wonderful Coachella Valley their destination of choice, and we are anxious and well poised for continued growth in this sector of our market.”
Other celebrations in the last week