New airline routes launched (5 – 11 April 2011)

Route of the Week:
China Southern’s Guangzhou to Auckland

Si Xianmin, Chairman China Southern Airlines, handed an aircraft model to New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key at the event welcoming the Chinese SkyTeam airline to Auckland – its first destination in New Zealand. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, they were joined by Xu Jianguo, Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand, and Joan Withers, Auckland Airport’s chairwoman. Meanwhile, the crew were treated with China Southern cupcakes.

  • China Southern expanded into a new country market as the airline connected its Guangzhou (CAN) hub with Auckland (AKL), the airport analysed this week. On 8 April, the Chinese airline began flying to the New Zealand airport three times a week using 218-seat A330-200 aircraft. The SkyTeam member, which currently is expanding in Oceania, already serves three Australian airports, but this is the first time an airline from Mainland China serves New Zealand. Air New Zealand does, however, also fly between Auckland and Mainland China, serving both Beijing and Shanghai Pudong. As New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key welcomed the first flight, he said: “China Southern’s network extends to 64 of China’s 94 airports which will provide a substantial pool of potential travelers to New Zealand. This is a huge development, with Auckland Airport advising the service is expected to bring an additional 25,000 visitors per year to New Zealand and generate 75 million NZ dollars to the New Zealand economy.”

Cake of the Week:
American Airlines’ New York JFK to Budapest

American Airlines was welcomed to Budapest where the oneworld airline connects with its alliance partner Malév. The Hungarian capital is the airline’s ninth European destination and American’s only in CEE.

Admiring the cake with decorations of both New York’s and Budapest’s Statues of Liberty were John Boetcher, American Airlines’ Managing Director Strategic Alliances EMEA & India; Kam Jandu, Budapest Airport's Aviation Director; Kurt Stache, American Airlines’ VP International; Martin Gauss, CEO Malév Hungarian Airlines; and Patrick Bohl, Budapest Airport’s Head of Airline Strategy and Development. (Budapest Airport photo)

As American Airlines’ 777-200ER arrived at Shanghai Pudong, disembarking passengers were handed souvenir boxes. The crew then posed for a picture together with American Airlines’ Managing Director Greater China Li Zihuang (left) and VP Asia & Pacific Theo Panagiotoulias (right). Li and Panagiotoulias were then joined by the captain and Li Shiqin, Deputy Managing Director Shanghai Pudong Airport, in cutting the ribbon for the new route.

  • American Airlines launched two new intercontinental routes on 5 April. With its 225-seat 767-300ER aircraft, the oneworld airline flies daily from its New York JFK (JFK) hub to the Hungarian capital Budapest (BUD) where it connects with its alliance partner Malév’s network. Malév itself used to operate the route between 1993 and 2008. The new service, which was reported on in at the time of its announcement, from June competes with Delta’s also daily summer season flights. This is American Airlines’ ninth European destination and its first route to Central and Eastern Europe since its services to Moscow Domodedovo 2008-2009. American also served Riga and Warsaw between 2000 and 2001. Kurt Stache, American Airlines’ VP International, commented: “We are delighted to be launching this new route into Hungary and to be strengthening our existing European operations.” The same day, American Airlines launched its second route to Shanghai Pudong (PVG) as the airline began flying daily from Los Angeles (LAX) with 247-seat 777-200ER aircraft. The service competes with China Eastern’s also daily flights. Qiu Shaofang, the Chinese Consul General to Los Angeles, said: “American’s flight from Los Angeles-Shanghai will not only benefit the people of our two countries, but also play a positive role in enhancing the friendship of our two peoples and promoting the economic  and tourism cooperation between our two nations.”

The rest of this week’s new routes

  • Air Bagan, the Burmese regional airline, on 11 April began operating its second route to Thailand. The airline now flies twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, from its Rangoon (RGN) base to the Thai island of Phuket (HKT), complementing its only other international service to Chiang Mai. Fokker 100 aircraft are used on the route that was last operated by Austrian Airlines 2002-2004.

Celebrating the new AirTran route between Tampa and San Juan with a cake were the airline’s Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Scheduling John Kirby and Joe Lopano, CEO Tampa International Airport.

  • AirTran launched two new routes in the last week, one of which is to a new destination. On 5 April, the airline that is set to merge with Southwest added twice-daily services to San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico from Tampa, FL (TPA). This makes the Florida airport AirTran’s fourth base to be connected with Puerto Rico after Orlando, Atlanta and Baltimore/Washington. The launch happens just as American Airlines suspended its daily service on the route. In May, jetBlue will also launch a twice-daily service on the same route. On 7 April, AirTran added a new destination to its network as it began flying daily between Baltimore/Washington, MD (BWI) and Bermuda (BDA), the British island in the Atlantic. The route was last operated during last summer’s peak season by USA 3000. Both of the new routes launched operate with 137-seat 737-700s.

As American Eagle added Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield, the capital of Illinois, to its network, Deb Mahler, American Eagle’s Regional Sales Manager and Mark E. Hanna, the airport’s Executive Director, displayed the cake baked to welcome the new Dallas/Fort Worth route. The two were then joined in cutting the ribbon for the route by Gary Plumber, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce; Tim Farley, Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Joe Overbeck, Managing Director American Eagle Southeast Region.

  • American Eagle, American Airlines’ regional brand, also launched new routes on 5 April. Out of eleven new domestic routes, nine were launched from Los Angeles, CA (LAX), the base analysed in this issue’s airline analysis, meaning that these services also provide feed to the airline’s new Shanghai service. All but one of the new routes launched face competition. The exception is the route between Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (DFW) and Springfield, IL (SPI), which never previously has been served by any airline. Frank Vala, Springfield Airport Authority Chairman, commented: “We have a great working relationship with American Airlines. And we will continue to support this new service with station staffing and complete ground handling support as we have in recent years.” The most competitive of the new routes is the one between LA and Phoenix, AZ (PHX), on which American faces four other airlines, none of which operates at a lower frequency than the new entrant.
Origin Destination WF* A/c Competition (WF*)
Dallas/Ft Worth, TX (DFW) Springfield, IL (SPI) 14 ERJ145
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Albuquerque, NM (ABQ) 21 EQV Southwest (28), United (18)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Boise, ID (BOI) 14 ERJ145 United (12)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) El Paso, TX (ELP) 14 ERJ145 Southwest (20), United (14)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Houston Intercontinental, TX (IAH) 21 CRJ700 Continental (72)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Oklahoma City, OK (OKC) 7 CRJ700 United (13)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Phoenix, AZ (PHX) 28 CRJ700 Southwest (72), US Airways (45), Delta (28), United (28)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Sacramento, CA (SMF) 28 ERJ145 Southwest (53), Delta (28), United (26)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) 21 ERJ145 Delta (53), Southwest (21), United (20)
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Tucson, AZ (TUS) 21 ERJ145 Southwest (34), United (20)
New York JFK, NY (JFK) Nashville, TN (BNA) 7 ERJ145 Delta (7)
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • Armavia, the Armenian airline, on 5 April launched its second German destination as it began serving Munich (MUC) from its Yerevan (EVN) base. The route, which follows the airline’s services to the German country capital Berlin, initially operates once weekly, but frequencies quickly increase to three times a week. The airline’s 132-seat A319s are used on the route. The route was previously operated by Lufthansa between 2005 and 2009.
  • Avianova on 9 April began serving its first destinations in Siberia. The Russian low-cost carrier now flies to two new destinations in the western part of the region, in Ural Federal District. From its Moscow Sheremeteyvo (SVO) base, Avianova now flies three times a week to Surgut (SGC), a distance of 2,140 kilometres. The aircraft then continues to Tyumen (TJM), a 650-kilometre sector. The following day, the airline also launched non-stop flights three times a week on the 1,700-kilometre route from Moscow Sheremetyevo to Tyumen. All three routes face competition. Nordavia, the airline just sold by Aeroflot, flies daily between Sheremeteyvo and Surgut, while Aeroflot’s daily flights to Tyumen also compete directly. The regional flight is operated in competition with UTair’s twice-daily services. Indirect competition is also available from the other Moscow airports. UTair flies to both destinations from both Moscow Domodedovo and Moscow Vnukovo, while S7 flies to both Siberian airports from Domodedovo. The fellow low-cost airline SkyExpress also flies between Vnukovo and Tyumen four times a week. Flights operate with Avianova’s A320s, which now only have 159 seats after a restrictive change in Russian customs legislation. Vladimir Gorbunov, Avianova’s General Director, said: “Entering Western Siberia market, Avianova maintains its status of being the fastest growing airline in Russia. We are glad to start cooperation with our new partners – the airports of Tyumen and Surgut, which share our desire to make air transport not only the fastest and the most convenient, but also the most affordable way of travel in Russia.” The airline’s CEO Andrew Pyne continued: “It’s not just an expansion of the Avianova route network. Today we are fundamentally changing Russia’s scale and the distances between the cities: now one can travel by air to the cities of Western Siberia from Moscow not only faster but cheaper than travelling by train.”

Brussels Airlines’ crew handed out the Belgian chocolates offered by Brussels Airport as the airline launched new routes to both Agadir and Marrakech in Morocco ahead of the Belgian Easter school breaks.

  • Brussels Airlines launched three sunshine routes from its Brussels (BRU) hub in the last week, just in time for the Easter holidays. The airline now flies weekly to each Marrakech (RAK) and Agadir (AGA) in Morocco from 9 and 10 April respectively. Flights operate with A319 aircraft and the Marrakech service competes with Royal Air Maroc’s five weekly flights and two flights a week on Jetairfly, while the Agadir route is operated in competition with Jetairfly’s four weekly flights.
  • Airlinair reinstated domestic services between the French capital and La Rochelle (LRH), the port city on the Atlantic coast, as it on 8 April launched 11 weekly flights from Paris Orly (ORY) with 19-seat Beechcraft 1900D aircraft operated by Chalair Aviation. This is the first time the two airports (and cities) are connected since Air Atlantique’s flights that ended in 2004.

  • Condor, the German leisure airline in Thomas Cook Group, on 9 April began flying between Frankfurt (FRA) and Split (SPU) on the Croatian coast. The airline flies once a week with 174-seat A320s, competing with Croatia Airlines’ daily service and Lufthansa’s two flights a week.
  • flydubai launched flights to its fourth Egyptian destination on 6 April when the airline launched two weekly flights between Dubai (DXB) and Sohag (HMB) along the Nile in central Egypt. Flights operate twice a week with the airline’s 189-seat 737-800s. The airline’s previously launched Egyptian destinations are Alexandria, Luxor and Assiut. Dubai is the third destination now served from Sohag’s Murbarak International Airport since its opening last year. Previous routes are from Cairo and Kuwait.
  • on 6 April began flying between Manchester (MAN) in the north of England and Paphos (PFO), the Cypriot airport primarily served with leisure traffic. The two weekly flights, which are operated with 757-200s, face competition from easyJet’s six, Thomson’s four, Thomas Cook’s three flights a week and Monarch’s one weekly flight.
  • Jetairfly, TUI Travel’s Belgian leisure airline, on 8 April began serving the Greek capital Athens (ATH) from Brussels Charleroi (CRL). Flights operate three times a week with 737-500 aircraft, increasing to four weekly flights in July and August. Although this is the first and only flight between the two airport, indirect competition at Brussels Airport comes from Aegean and Brussels Airlines, which operate each twice-daily.
  • Montenegro Airlines expanded its network on 8 April as the national airline of the former Yugoslavian country on the Adriatic coast connected its base in the country capital Podgorica (TGD) with Milan Malpensa (MXP) in the north of Italy. Flights operate three times a week with 102-seat Fokker 100s. This is the airline’s second Italian destination after Rome, however, the airline previously served Milan Malpensa with a few flights in 2008 and 2009.
  • Nok Mini, an airline previously known as SGA Airlines, now partnering with the Thai low-cost carrier Nok Air, launched two new regional routes with its new fleet of 34-seat Saab 340s. From its base at Bangkok Don Muang (DMK), the previous main airport for Bangkok, the airline launched three weekly flights to Loei (LOE) in the north of the country on 8 April and the following day four flights a week to Mae Sot (MAQ) in the northwest.
  • Qatar Airways on 6 April launched a route to its 100th destination as the airline began flying from its Doha (DOH) hub to Aleppo (ALP), the largest city in Syria. The route follows the airline’s existing service to the country capital Damascus. Flights operate four times a week with 144-seat A320 aircraft. At the inaugural event, Qatar Airways’ SVP Commercial Ali Al Rais said: “Aleppo is an attractive tourist and business destination, and is an economic driving force behind Syria’s textile, manufacturing and trading industries. The city is also a destination that has long been on Qatar Airways’ list of under-served markets, where we have wanted to expand to. We are grateful to the authorities for their support in welcoming our expansion in Syria.”
  • Ryanair launched its Lanzarote (ACE) base in the last week, as detailed in this week’s airline analysis. Its 189-seat 737-800s are now operated on ten new routes, four of which face competition.
Date Destination WF* Competition (WF*)
08-Apr-11 Eindhoven (EIN) 2
08-Apr-11 Karlsruhe-Baden (FKB) 2
06-Apr-11 Knock (NOC) 1
09-Apr-11 Leeds/Bradford (LBA) 2 (2), Thomas Cook (1)
08-Apr-11 Santander (SDR) 2
06-Apr-11 Santiago de Compostela (SCQ) 2 Air Europa (2)
08-Apr-11 Seville (SVQ) 2 Iberia (2), Air Europa (1)
07-Apr-11 Valencia (VLC) 2
09-Apr-11 Venice Treviso (TSF) 1
05-Apr-11 Zaragoza (ZAZ) 2 Air Europa (1)
*WF: Weekly Frequency

Spanair’s chairman Ferran Sorriano cut the ribbon for the Star Alliance airline’s new flight to Berlin Tegel together with Till Bunse, Berlin Airports’ Area Manager Marketing and Public Relations, and Manuel Butler Halter, Tourism Director at the Spanish Embassy to Germany. (Photo: Günter Wicker/Berlin Airports)

  • Spanair continued its German expansion as the Star Alliance airline connected its Barcelona (BCN) hub with Berlin Tegel (TXL) on 5 April. Flights operate four times a week with A320 aircraft, competing directly with airberlin’s 10 flights a week. easyJet also provides indirect competition at Berlin Schönefeld with two daily flights.
  • Spring Airlines, the Chinese low-cost carrier, on 8 April launched a daily service between Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Macau (MFM) with its 174-seat A320s. This is the airline’s first route to the Special Administrative Region that used to be a Portuguese colony. Competition comes from Air Macau’s 11 weekly flights and China Eastern’s also daily service.

Other celebrations in the last week

American Eagle on 5 April took over American Airlines’ route between Miami and La Romana in the Dominican Republic. Cutting the ribbon for the change in operation were Pedro Fabregas, President American Eagle Executive Airlines; Jim Moses, American Airlines’ Managing Director Passenger Service Miami Hub; Ricky Deane American Eagle’s VP Miami Hub and Florida; Marilyn DeVoe, American Airlines’ VP Miami Hub; Ken Pyatt, Deputy Director Miami-Dade Aviation Department; and Galo Beltran, American Eagle’s Director of Business Planning Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.

Glasgow Prestwick celebrated that Wizz Air now has served the Scottish airport for five years, baking a cake to mark the occassion. Pieter Srebo from Kilmarnock and his daughter Veronica were given free flights when they checked in for the morning flight to Warsaw. They were joined by Polish singers and dancers, Prestwick check-in staff, the Polish Consul General Tomasz Trafas and Glasgow Prestwick’s CEO Iain Cochrane.

Ryanair’s big route offering this summer out of London Stansted Airport

Ryanair’s big route offering this summer out of London Stansted Airport was celebrated by the airport’s Airline, Route and Marketing Manager Paul Haynes and the airline’s Sales & Marketing Executive UK & Ireland Laura McCormack.

Celebrations for previous weeks’ route launches

Celebrating Aegean Airlines’ new base at Larnaca in Cyprus were Costas Alexandrou, Aegean’s International Sales Manager; Ken Hassard, Hermes Airports’ Executive Manager Commercial and Marketing Dept; Alfred van der Meer, CEO Hermes Airports; Eftichios Vasilakis, Aegean’s Vice Chairman; and Maria Kouroupi, Hermes Airports’ Manager Marketing.

Celebrating Aegean Airlines’ new base at Larnaca in Cyprus were Costas Alexandrou, Aegean’s International Sales Manager; Ken Hassard, Hermes Airports’ Executive Manager Commercial and Marketing Dept; Alfred van der Meer, CEO Hermes Airports; Eftichios Vasilakis, Aegean’s Vice Chairman; and Maria Kouroupi, Hermes Airports’ Manager Marketing.

As Vueling arrived to Zurich from its Barcelona base on 27 March, the low-cost carrier’s aircraft was saluted by the airport fire brigade. Taking the opportunity to pose in front of the aircraft were Natalie Zalan, Zurich Airport’s Key Account Manager Airline Affairs, and Javier Suarez, Vueling’s Senior Manager Network Planning. Two days later, the twice-daily route was complemented by a service from Santiago in Galicia, which flies three times a week, and a third Vueling route will in September arrive to the Swiss city from Amsterdam.

As Blue1 arrived in Amsterdam, the Finnish Star Alliance airline invited VIPs to dinner at the Amsterdam restaurant ‘Open’, where the airline focused on its status as the preferred carrier for and sponsor of ‘Helsinki, World Design Capital 2012’. Marcel Lekkerkerk, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s Director Aviation Marketing, handed over a gift to Juha Järvinen, Blue1’s VP Commercial, at the event.


Comments are closed