New airline routes launched (22-28 March 2011)
Route of the Week:
Singapore Airlines’ Singapore-Barcelona-Sao Paulo
- Singapore Airlines on 27 March entered the South American market as it added Sao Paulo (GRU) in Brazil to its network. From its Singapore (SIN) hub, the airline now operates three times a week via Barcelona (BCN), where it connects with Star Alliance partner Spanair. The aircraft used on the 10,900 and 8,750-kilometre routes are 278-seat 777-300ERs. The airline has served Barcelona since 2006 via Milan Malpensa, but this is the first time the Spanish airport is connected non-stop with Singapore and the first time since VASP’s non-stop flights in 1995-1998 that flights operate non-stop to Sao Paulo. The airline’s service to Barcelona from Singapore via Milan Malpensa continues four times a week to keep its daily frequencies to the Spanish airport. Although Singapore Airlines faces no direct competition on either route, Iberia will launch a seasonal service between Barcelona and Sao Paulo in June this year. Bey Soo Khiang, Singapore Airlines’ SEVP Marketing & Corporate Services, commented: “Singapore Airlines has been eyeing opportunities in the fast-growing South American market for some time. We are pleased to be able to add a sixth continent to our route network and be the only airline offering direct flights between Southeast Asia and Brazil.”
Cake of the Week:
Vote for your favourite!
The bakers were busy this week with the official start of the 2011 summer season. In fact, there were so many fantastic celebrations that we couldn’t decide who should be awarded Cake of the Week, so we are inviting you to vote for your favourite.
The rest of this week’s new routes
- Aegean Airlines, the Star Alliance airline investigated in last week’s top story on Greece, on 27 March began operating two routes to its new focus city Larnaca (LCA) in Cyprus. From Heraklion (HER) on the Greek island of Crete, the airline now flies three times weekly and from London Heathrow (LHR), flights are operated daily. Both routes are served with 168-seat A320s. Both routes face competition from Cyprus Airways, which flies four times weekly on the Heraklion route and 17 times a week to London Heathrow, where also British Airways competes with a daily service.
- Aer Arann launched two routes from the Irish regional airports in Galway (GWY) in the west of the country and Waterford (WAT) in the south to London Southend (SEN), both on 27 March. The Galway route operates eight times a week, while the Waterford service has 14 weekly frequencies. Both routes are operated with 50-seat ATR42 aircraft. Aer Arann’s CEO Paul Schütz said: “Our new services provide Irish customers with unique, hassle-free convenience and direct access to central London. Likewise UK customers will have Ireland on their doorstep with direct access to Waterford and Galway. We welcome the ongoing development of London Southend Airport and we look forward to providing passengers with potentially excellent onward connections to Europe.”
- Aer Lingus launched seven new routes on 27 March, four with the mainline fleet of 174-seat A320s and three operated as Aer Lingus Regional with Aer Arann’s 50-seat ATR42s. Dublin (DUB) got three and Shannon (SNN) two new routes, all to city destinations, while Belfast International (BFS) and Cork (ORK) each got a Spanish sunshine route. See the downloadable spreadsheet for full route details.
- Air Arabia Maroc on 27 March launched a new route between Tangier (TNG), the Moroccan city at the Strait of Gibraltar, and Montpellier (MPL) in the south of France. Flights operate once a week with the airline’s 168-seat A320 aircraft. This is the airline’s third route to Montpellier, already serving the city from Casablanca and Fes. Later in the week, two additional routes between Morocco and Montpellier are added, bringing the number of routes to five.
- Air China on 27 March added its third German destination as the Chinese Star Alliance member began serving Düsseldorf (DUS) from Beijing (PEK). This means that the airline now serves its German alliance partner Lufthansa’s three hubs, as Air China already serves Frankfurt and Munich. The new service is operated three times weekly with 311-seat A330-300 aircraft. The last time the route was operated was in 2008, then served by airberlin.
- Air France launched two routes in the first two days of the summer season. On 27 March, the airline connected its Paris CDG (CDG) hub with Billund (BLL) in the Danish mainland. The 19 weekly flights are operated by Brit Air with 50-seat CRJ100s, competing with Cimber Sterling’s 13 flights a week. Billund Airport’s CEO Kjeld Zacho Jørgensen commented: “We are delighted to welcome Air France to Billund Airport, and I am sure that the new worldwide connections via Paris Charles De Gaulle will be of significant importance for the development of West Denmark.” The following day, the SkyTeam carrier extended three of its weekly flights betwieen Paris and Bangkok (BKK) to continue to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh (PNH). Notably, this comes after the airline dropped services to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi at the start of the winter season.
- AirDo, the Japanese low-cost carrier, on 27 March launched 21 weekly flights between Tokyo Haneda (HND) and Tokachi-Obihiro (OBO) with its 126-seat 737-500s. Competition comes from JAL’s 28 and ANA’s also 21 flights a week.
- Alaska Airlines launched two new routes between the San Francisco Bay area and Lihue, HI (LIH) on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Altogether, flights are operated daily. On 27 March, three weekly flights launched from San Jose, CA (SJC) and on the following day, four flights a week began from Oakland, CA (OAK). 157-seat 737-800s will be used on both routes. “The Hawaiian Islands are among the most popular leisure destinations that Alaska Airlines serves,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ VP marketing. Indirect competition at San Francisco International Airport comes from United Airlines’ eight weekly flights.
- Alitalia launched three routes on 27 March. From Florence (FLR) in Tuscany, the airline now operates 138-seat A319s to Amsterdam (AMS), where it connects with SkyTeam partner KLM, 14 times weekly as well as on a domestic service to Catania (CTA) in Sicily five times a week. Notably, Meridianafly used to operate the route to Amsterdam until the end of the winter season. On the Catania route, the two airlines now compete, with Meridianafly operating four times a week. The airline’s Rome Fiumicino (FCO) hub also expanded. Alitalia’s 90-seat CRJ900s now fly six times weekly to Toulouse (TLS) in southern France. Air France competes with daily flights and easyJet with three flights a week.
- Bangkok Airways, the Thai regional carrier recently analysed, continued its international expansion. After having just entered the Indian market, Bangkok Airways now flies between the capitals of Thailand and Bangladesh; Bangkok (BKK) and Dhaka (DAC). The daily service is operated with 162-seat A320s. Biman Bangladesh and Thai Airways also operate each seven weekly flights, while further competition comes from GMG Airlines’ three flights a week and a weekly service on Druk Air.
- Belle Air, the Albanian low-cost carrier, launched three weekly flights between its Tirana (TIA) base and Brussels (BRU). On 28 March, the airline began operating Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with its fleet of 180-seat A320s. Notably, Albania is a member of NATO, whose headquarters are located close to Brussels Airport. Although currently uncontested, Jetairfly will compete on the new route between June and September.
- Blue Air, the Romanian low-cost carrier, resumed services between Bacau (BCM) and Paris Beauvais (BVA) on 27 March. The airline, which last operated the route in the summer of 2007, now flies twice a week with 148-seat 737-300 aircraft, complementing its service from Bucharest Baneasa.
- Blue1, the Finnish Star Alliance carrier, on 27 March took on Finnair and KLM as it launched 12 weekly flights between Helsinki (HEL) and Amsterdam (AMS). The airline’s increasing fleet of 115-seat 717s is used on the new route. SkyTeam member KLM operates 28 flights a week on the route, while oneworld airline Finnair competes with 13 weekly flights. Thus, all three alliances now have a presence on the route.
- bmibaby, the low-cost subsidiary of the British airline bmi, launched a new domestic service between Belfast City (BHD) in Northern Ireland and London Stansted (STN). Flights operate 16 times weekly with 148-seat 737-300s. The route was previously operated by Ryanair, but the Irish LCC dropped it at the end of the last summer season. Indirect competition does, however, come from parent bmi’s 39 weekly flights to London Heathrow, flybe’s 27 flights a week to London Gatwick and easyJet’s 18 weekly flights to London Luton. From Belfast International, further indirect competition comes from Aer Lingus’ 28 flights a week and easyJet’s 26 and 25 weekly flights to London Gatwick and London Stansted. This is the first time bmibaby operates to the London area since the airline’s flights from London Gatwick from Cork, Prague and Durham Tees Valley in 2004-2006.
- British Airways moved two routes between London Gatwick (LGW) and London Heathrow (LHR) on 27 March. The airline’s 28 weekly flights to Malaga (AGP) in Spain now operate from Gatwick, competing with easyJet’s 35, Aer Lingus’ 19, Monarch’s 13 and Thomson Airways’ three weekly flights. Making a move in the opposite direction, BA’s 12 weekly 132-seat A319 Luxembourg (LUX) flights now operate from Heathrow. Indirect competition is at London City, where Luxair offers 24 and Air France (CityJet) 18 weekly flights. Another change to an existing service is that, as of the same day, BA serves Buenos Aires (EZE) daily non-stop from Heathrow. The Argentinean capital was previously served with a stop in Sao Paulo. 229-seat 777-200ERs are used on the route. An entirely new route also launched by BA on 27 March is the airline’s return to the Moroccan market; three weekly flights to Marrakech (RAK) from Gatwick. Like the Malaga route, the service is operated with 145-seat 737-400s. Competition comes from easyJet’s 12 weekly flights, Royal Air Maroc’s six and Thomson Airways’ two flights a week. Last time BA served Morocco was in 2008 when the airline dropped the same route as well as services to Casablanca and Fes.
- bmi British Midland International, as the airline now calls itself, at the start of the summer season took over two routes between the UK and Basel (BSL) in Switzerland from its fellow Lufthansa Group airline Swiss. From Manchester (MAN) in the north of England, the airline now flies five times weekly, replacing Swiss’ four weekly flights. From London Heathrow (LHR), with 19 weekly flights, the airline replaces Swiss’ service previously operated to London City. Both routes are operated with A319 aircraft. Competition on the Heathrow route comes from British Airways’ 28 flights a week, while easyJet indirectly competes at Gatwick with 15 weekly services.
- Camair-Co, the start-up national airline in Cameroon analysed in greater detail this week, on 28 March launched operations – instantly with an intercontinental service. The airline now flies six times weekly from its Douala (DLA) base via the country capital Yaoundé (NSI) to Paris CDG (CDG). Flights are operated with a 767-300 aircraft previously in service with Cameroon Airlines, the country’s previous state carrier that was declared bankrupt in 2008. Competition on the Yaoundé to Paris sector comes from Air France’s three weekly flights. The French national carrier also operates daily non-stop flights between Paris CDG and Douala. The new airline’s CEO is Alex van Elk who was the start-up CEO of Arik Air in neighbouring Nigeria. Later in the week, the airline continues its launch as it starts intra-African operations with a 737-700.
- Cathay Pacific, which already serves Jakarta (CGK) from its Hong Kong hub, resumed services to the Indonesian capital from Singapore (SIN) on 28 March. Flights operate three times weekly, seasonally until 12 August. The airline has operated the route in the past; 1985-1994 and most recently 1998-2005. Competition on the 880-kilometre route comes from 11 airlines with a combined 216 flights a week (see spreadsheet for details).
- Chalair Aviation on 27 March took over the 565-kilometre domestic route between Lyon (LYS) and Le Havre (LEH). Up until now, the route had been operated by Airlinair on behalf of Air France. Flights operate 15 times weekly with Beechcraft 1900D. This is the only scheduled commercial service at the airport serving the French port city.
- Cirrus Airlines on 28 March began flying six times weekly between Dresden (DRS) and Vienna (VIE) using Dornier 328 aircraft. The route was previously operated by Austrian Airlines until the Star Alliance carrier dropped it in January this year.
- Czech Connect Airlines continued its expansion of routes between Czech regional airports and Russia. On 23 March, the airline launched a weekly service between Karlovy Vary (KLV), the spa town in the west of the Czech Republic, and Ekaterinburg (SVX) in the Russian Urals. Flights operate with 737-300 aircraft and compete with Ural Airlines’ also weekly flight, which also launched in the last week.
- Delta Air Lines launched five new routes on 26 March. Both Miami, FL (MIA) and Boston, MA (BOS) got transatlantic services to London Heathrow (LHR), while the Florida airport also got intra-state flights to Jacksonville (JAX), Orlando (MCO) and Tampa (TPA). For full details, see the downloadable spreadsheet.
- easyJet launched three new routes in the last week. On 27 March, the airline connected its largest base at London Gatwick (LGW) with Amman (AMM), the capital of Jordan and a new market for the low-cost carrier, which also operates to Tel Aviv in neighbouring Israel. Notably, Jordan signed an Open Skies agreement with the EU only earlier this month. On the new route, the airline operates three weekly flights with its 156-seat A319s. Although the airline faces no direct competition at Gatwick on the new 3,660-kilometre route, both bmi and Royal Jordanian compete indirectly with their each daily London Heathrow operations. On 28 March, easyJet also connected Gatwick with Bologna (BLQ), its 15th Italian airport. The airline has served Bologna in the past, from London Stansted until 2005. The route was launched already in 2001 by go, the airline later acquired by easyJet. British Airways competes from Gatwick with 17 weekly flights, while Ryanair also operates between London Stansted and Bologna on a daily basis. easyJet also launched a French domestic service on 27 March. From Toulouse (TLS), the airline now flies five times weekly to Nantes (NTE). Competition comes from Air France’s 18 and Airlinair’s nine weekly flights.
- EVA Airways, the Taiwanese airline analysed last week, on 28 March launched two weekly flights across the Taiwan Strait. The flights between Taipei (TPE) and Chengdu (CTU) are operated with A330-200 aircraft. Direct competition comes from Air China’s three weekly flights and a twice-weekly service with China Airlines, while Sichuan Airlines’ service to Taipei Shongshan indirectly also competes three times a week.
- Finncomm Airlines, codesharing with Finnair, launched a new daily service between Helsinki (HEL) and Gdansk (GDN). Flights operate with ATR72 aircraft. The last time the two cities were connected was in 2007-2008 when Finnair operated to the Polish city on the Baltic coast. LOT Polish Airlines also operated the route in 1989-1990.
- Fuji Dream Airlines on 27 March began flying between Nagoya Komaki (NKM) and Kumamoto (KMJ) on the island of Kyushu in southernmost Japan as the airline took over the route from JAL’s subsidiary J-Air. J-Air had operated the route since 2005. Flights on the 620-kilometre route now operate twice-daily with the airline’s 76-seat E-170 aircraft and are still marketed as JAL services.
- germanwings on 27 March launched five new routes. Four of the routes are between the airline’s German bases and Italy, all of which operate seasonally until 11 September. Cologne/Bonn (CGN) notably stood for two of those new routes at the German end and Bari (BRI) in the south of Italy received two routes at the Italian end. Notably, the other two Italian destinations are both in the north of the country. From Berlin Schönefeld (SXF), the airline expanded its network with 12 weekly flights to Maastricht (MST) in the Netherlands, close to the German and Belgian borders. As reported earlier, the route targets domestic German traffic, but avoids the German aviation tax at the Dutch end. germanwings is not the first airline to operate between Berlin SXF and Maastricht. Back in April 2005, easyJet started double-daily flights between the two airports, before reducing frequency to daily and finally abandoning the route in January 2007. The airline’s CEO Thomas Winkelmann commented: “We are fully returning the lower costs at Maastricht-Aachen back to our passengers though lower fares. We thank Maastricht Airport for having welcomed us here with open arms.”
- Gulf Air on 28 March expanded its European network as it began serving Milan Malpensa (MXP) from its Bahrain (BAH) hub. The airline operates the route four times weekly, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Flights operate with 737-700BBJ aircraft by Privatair of Switzerland. The last time the two airports were connected, in 2001-2002, the route was also operated by Gulf Air.
- Hainan Airlines on 26 March launched four new routes out of Hefei (HFE) in the east of China, 400 kilometres west of Shanghai. All of the routes are operated on a daily basis with the airline’s 164-seat 737-800s. Two of the routes are uncontested, while the other two face multiple competing airlines. See the downloadable spreadsheet for full details.
- Hong Kong Airlines on 27 March launched another service from its Hong Kong (HKG) base to Mainland China. The airline now flies daily to Changsha (CSX) in south-central China with its 164-seat 737-800s. Competition comes from Dragonair’s also daily flights.
- Iberia expanded its long haul network as the Spanish national carrier launched a thrice-weekly service between its Madrid (MAD) hub and Los Angeles (LAX) on 28 March. This is the airline’s fifth US destination, and its only to the west coast, after New York JFK, Boston, Chicago O’Hare and Miami. Flights operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays with 260-seat A340-300 aircraft. The first flight took off with a 95% load factor. Speaking at the inaugural event in Madrid, Iberia’s CEO Rafael Sánchez-Lozano said: “This new flight is not merely a major contribution to holiday travel in both directions, but will also bring Spanish and Californian businesses closer together. Indeed, the possibilities that are opened for Spanish companies to invest in the Californian economy are unlimited.” The airline has operated the route in the past, between 1987 and 1993, but no other airline has attempted the route. Iberia also launched two flights to Brussels (BRU). Air Nostrum, operating on Iberia’s behalf, on 27 March began flying from both Vigo (VGO) in Galicia in northwest Spain and San Sebastian (EAS) in Basque Country in the north of Spain to the ‘Capital of Europe’. From Vigo, flights operate three times a week with a mixture of CRJ900 and CRJ200 aircraft, while the San Sebastian route is flown twice-weekly with CRJ200s. Iberia operated San Sebastian flights during the peak summer season last year and the Vigo route was last operated by Vueling during last year’s summer season.
- Jet Airways of India launched two new routes on 27 March. From Mumbai (BOM), the airline now flies daily to Damman (DMM) in Saudi Arabia, competing with Air India’s five weekly flights and three flights a week on Saudi Arabian Airlines. Domestically, the airline launched a new route under its Jet Konnect low-cost brand, flying between Delhi (DEL) and Bhubaneswar (BBI). The daily flight competes with IndiGo’s and Kingfisher Airlines’ twice-daily flights as well as Air India’s daily service. Both new routes are operated with 737-800 aircraft.
- Jet2.com, the British low-cost carrier, relaunched flights between Newcastle (NCL) in the north of England and Krakow (KRK) in southern Poland. The airline last operated the route between 2006 and 2008. easyJet flew the route more recently, ending flights in 2009. Jet2.com will now fly twice-weekly with its 148-seat 737-300s.
- Jetstar Asia expanded its network out of Singapore (SIN) to Mainland China as the low-cost airline on 22 March launched four weekly flights to Hangzhou (HGH), its seventh destination in the Greater China region and the fourth in the mainland after Haikou, Shantou and Guilin. The airline, which markets Hangzhou as an alternative airport for Shanghai, operates its 180-seat A320s on the route.
- KLM launched two routes on 27 March, one regional and one long-haul. From its Amsterdam (AMS) hub, the Dutch national carrier now flies twice-daily to Aalborg (AAL) in Denmark with 80-seat Fokker 70s operated by KLM Cityhopper. The airport in northern Jutland, the Danish mainland, is KLM’s third in Denmark after Copenhagen and Billund. The airline’s mainline fleet of 318-seat 777-200ERs the same day began operating thrice-weekly to Xiamen (XMN) on the southeast China coast. This is the only route between Europe and Xiamen and KLM’s fifth in Mainland China after Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hangzhou.
- Lufthansa on 27 March launched eight new routes, seven from Frankfurt (FRA) and one from Milan Malpensa (MXP), operating under its Lufthansa Italia name. From Frankfurt, all of the new routes operate twice-weekly. Three flights are to Italy, two to the German coasts (Baltic and North Sea), one to Split (SPU) in Croatia and one to Trondheim (TRD) in Norway. From Milan, the route is rather a daily domestic service to Catania (CTA) in Sicily. All of these new Lufthansa routes are operated seasonally. See the downloadable spreadsheet for full details. See also Rostock-Laage Airport’s video from the launch event.
- Malev, the Hungarian national carrier, on 27 March relaunched services between its Budapest (BUD) hub and Barcelona (BCN). Malev had operated the route for decades when it was dropped in 2000. The four weekly flights now launched, which the airline operate with 737-800 aircraft, compete with Wizz Air’s also four flights a week. In time for the route launch, Budapest Airport opened its modern construction ‘SkyCourt’, which connects intra-Schengen Terminal 2A with non-Schengen 2B.
- niki on 28 March connected the capitals of Austria and Spain within its network. The Austrian airline cooperating with airberlin now operates daily between Vienna (VIE) and Madrid (MAD) using its 180-seat A320s. Competition comes from Iberia’s twice-daily flights.
- Olympic Air on 27 March launched three routes out of its Athens (ATH) hub. The two domestic flights notably both compete with Aegean, as the two airlines reshape their networks, while the regional service to Belgrade (BEG) faces competition from Jat Airways. All three routes are operated with 78-seat Q400 aircraft.
- People’s Viennaline, the start-up airline with the unusual name, launched operations on 28 March. Flights now operate 17 times weekly between Vienna (VIE) and Altenrhein (ACH) in the northeast of Switzerland. Initially intended as an airport funded and operated replacement for Austrian Airlines pulling out of the route, the airline has come to face Austrian Airlines reconsidering its decision and People’s Viennaline therefore competes with Austrian’s 18 flights a week that are operated by Tyrolean Airways. People’s Viennaline’s E-170 is leased from Finnair.
- Philippine Airlines on 27 March connected the capitals of the Philippines and India as it began flying three times a week between Manila (MNL) and Delhi (DEL). Flights operate with 302-seat A330-300s. The historical route is not only the first ever between the two airports, but the first time the two countries have are linked by air since Swissair operated between Mumbai and Manila in 1991-1992.
- Ryanair launched 35 new routes on 27 and 28 March. Although not a base, the Spanish island of Ibiza (IBZ) got the most new routes with six services ranging from northern European airports in the UK, Ireland Germany and Sweden to fellow Mediterranean destinations Cagliari (CAG) on the Italian island of Sardinia and a domestic service to Malaga (AGP) on the mainland. Notably, two Swedish airports receiving Ryanair services are new to the airline’s network. Karlstad (KSD) and Skellefteå (SFT) are now connected with Girona (GRO), while a third Swedish regional airport, Kristianstad, was dropped as Ryanair decided to downsize its Girona base. For full details about Ryanair’s new routes, see the downloadable spreadsheet.
- SAS launched three new routes in the last week; two from Oslo (OSL) and one from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). From the Norwegian capital, the airline on 27 March began operating four times a week to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO). Aeroflot competes with daily flights. The following day, the airline launched six weekly flights to Munich (MUC), competing with Lufthansa’s 21 and Norwegians four weekly flights on the same route. Both Oslo routes are served with 123-seat 737-600s and complement its flights to the capitals of Russia and Bavaria from both Copenhagen and Stockholm Arlanda. From Stockholm Arlanda, the pan-Scandinavian national carrier launched two weekly flights to Venice (VCE) with its MD80s, complementing its Copenhagen services.
- Sichuan Airlines on 27 March launched three domestic routes from Chongqing (CKG) in southwest China. All three routes are operated on a daily basis and none face direct competition. See the downloadable spreadsheet for full details.
- SkyWork Airlines on 27 March connected its base in Bern (BRN), the capital of Switzerland, with London City (LCY). Flights are initially operated with 31-seat Dornier 328 aircraft, six times weekly – daily except Saturdays. Because of strong forward bookings, the aircraft will already on 4 April change to Q400s and frequencies will increase to 11 times a week in September. The route was last operated by Darwin Airline, which dropped its services in 2007. No services other than seasonal ski flights have been operated between the Swiss capital and the UK since. Matthew Hall, London City Airport’s CCO, commented: “We are delighted to see the return of Bern to the LCY portfolio and feel that as expansion of London continues to moves towards the East of London, our Swiss passengers will see the demand for business travel connections increase.” The first flight carried 25 passengers, a load factor of over 80%.
- Skymark on 27 March launched a daily domestic service between Kagoshima (KOJ) in the south of Japan and the island of Amami Oshima (ASJ) located between Japan’s main islands and Taiwan.
- Skyways, the Swedish regional airline, on 28 March began its international expansion. From Jönköping (JKG) in south-central Sweden, the airline now flies five times weekly to Berlin Tegel (TXL), a distance of 580 kilometres. Although initially operated with the airline’s Fokker 50s, 48-seat ERJ-145s are in the process of being added to the fleet and will be used on the route. Skyways’ CEO Lars-Åke Bertilsson commented: “This will be a very attractive alternative for passengers to and from Southern Sweden as it will be possible to connect to other airlines in Berlin. Skyways has a cooperation with Air Berlin which makes it possible to check in all the way to the final destination when connecting via Berlin.”
- Southwest on 27 March launched two new routes to Newark, NJ (EWR) as slots were freed up as a result of the United-Continental merger. The airline now flies 34 times a week from Chicago Midway, IL (MDW) and 14 times weekly from St Louis, MO (STL). The latter route faces competition from Continental’s 43 weekly flights.
- Spring Airlines, the Chinese low-cost carrier, on 27 March launched a daily service between Shijiazhuang (SJW) south of Beijing and Guangzhou (CAN) in the southern Pearl River delta. Flights compete with China Southern’s also daily flights.
- SriLankan Airlines relaunched daily services between its Colombo (CMB) base and Kochi (COK) in India on 27 March. The route was previously operated by the airline between 2003 and 2009.
- Swiss on 27 March launched two routes from Basel (BSL) with its 97-seat RJ100s operated by Swiss European Air Lines. The airline now serves the capitals of Denmark and Italy; Copenhagen (CPH) six times weekly and Rome Fiumicino (FCO) daily. The airline already serves both airports from its Zurich base. Both of the new routes are operated in competition with easyJet.
- TAP Portugal on 28 March extended its German network out of its Lisbon (LIS) hub as it launched five weekly flights to Düsseldorf (DUS). This is the airline’s fourth German airport, after Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg where the Star Alliance airline connects with its alliance partner Lufthansa. Düsseldorf International Airport’s CEO Christoph Blume commented: “As well as this direct connection, the options of connecting flights from Lisbon to Brazil and Latin America are a real bonus for travelers from North-Rhine Westphalia.”
- Turkish Airlines launched its third Spanish route on 27 March when it connected its growing Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub with Valencia (VLC) in Spain. The Star Alliance airline already serves Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. Flights on the new route operate four times weekly with 124-seat A319 aircraft. Istanbul Airlines operated 13 flights on the same route in 1999, but other than that, it is the first route between Turkey and Valencia.
- Ukraine International on 27 March launched two new routes, one domestic to Dnepropetrovsk (DNK) and one to Samara (KUF) in neighbouring Russia. See the downloadable spreadsheet for full details.
- Ural Airlines was the second airline to this week launch a weekly service between Ekaterinburg (SVX) in Russia and Karlovy Vary (KLV) in the Czech Republic. The airline thus competes with Czech Connect Airlines’ also weekly flight.
- Velvet Sky, the start-up South African low-cost carrier analysed in this week’s issue, on 22 March launched operations as it began flying from Johannesburg (JNB) to Durban (DUR) as well as Cape Town (CPT). Further details are available in the downloadable spreadsheet and the dedicated article about the airline.
- Vision Airlines, as previously reported, on 28 March launched its base at Fort Walton Beach (VPS) in northwest Florida, instantly resulting in five new routes. See the downloadable spreadsheet and our previous article for full details.
- Vueling launched two routes in the last week. From Alicante (ALC), it began operating four times weekly to Amsterdam (AMS) on 28 March. The route is in fact a relaunch, having been operated in the summer of 2007. Competition comes from Transavia.com’s 12 weekly flights. From Barcelona (BCN), the Spanish low-cost airline on 27 March began operating to Zurich (ZRH) 14 times a week, competing with Swiss’ 28 weekly operations.
- WindJet on 27 March opened its new base at Rimini (RMI), the tourist resort in the north of Italy, on the Adriatic coast. The low-cost carrier instantly launched five new routes in the first two days of operations. A separate article analysing the new WindJet base is published in this week’s issue and the five routes launched during the week covered in our new route report are detailed in the downloadable spreadsheet.
- Wizz Air launched three new routes on 27 March, one each from Brno (BRQ) in the Czech Republic, Bucharest Baneasa (BBU) in Romania and Poznan (POZ) in Poland. Two routes are to Italy and one to Spain. See the downloadable spreadsheet for full details.