New airline routes launched (12 – 18 April 2011)

Route of the Week:
Volaris’ Guadalajara to Fresno

The ribbon for Volaris’ new route to Fresno was cut by the airline’s CCO Holger Blankenstein, assisted by Fresno City Manager Mark Scott; Carlos Garcia, Mexican Deputy Consul; Reyna Torres Mendivil, Mexican Consul; council members Blong Xiong and Clint Olivier; Russell C. Widmar, Fresno’s Director of Aviation; and Arturo Quezada, Volaris Station Manager. Blankenstein and Quezada then cut the cake with the help of Volaris representatives before a plaque was presented as a gift to Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

  • Volaris, the Mexican low-cost carrier, on 14 April launched two new international routes to the US state of California. From Guadalajara (GDL), Mexico’s second-largest metropolitan area, the airline now flies four times a week to Fresno, CA (FAT). Notably, this 2,400-kilometre service launched only ten days after the network carrier AeroMexico began operating the same route and competes with its daily flights. Prior to its demise in August last year, Mexicana had successfully operated between the two cities since March 2006. The same day, Volaris began flying three times a week between Monterrey (MTY) in northeast Mexico and Los Angeles, CA (LAX), making it the airline’s fifth route to the Californian city. Both of Volaris’ new routes are operated with 144-seat A319 aircraft.

Cake of the Week:
airberlin’s Berlin Tegel & Düsseldorf to Verona

A magnificent cake was baked to welcome airberlin to Verona by Lake Garda in the north of Italy. It is here seen cut by Fabio Bortolazzi, Verona Airport’s President, and Susanna Sciacovelli, airberlin’s GM Italy. The German airline now flies to Verona from its two main hubs at Berlin Tegel and Düsseldorf.

airberlin now flies to Weeze in western Germany.

Over 100 VIPs attended the ceremony as airberlin for the first time was welcomed to Weeze in western Germany. Posing for the camera were captain Markus Haber; first officer Daniel Kramer; cabin crew member Eva Winter; Ludger van Bebber, CEO Airport Weeze; Herman Buurman, chairman Airport Weeze; Holger Koch, Alltours’ head of aviation sourcing; and Holger Terhorst, Airport Weeze’s marketing manager.

airberlin’s first flight from Palma de Mallorca was also welcomed to Friedrichshafen in southernmost Germany. The route relaunches, having previously been operated one season only in 2001.

  • airberlin, the airline whose competition with Lufthansa was analysed last week, launched six new routes in the past week. From Hannover (HAJ), the airline now operates a weekly service with 76-seat Q400 aircraft to the Channel Islands. The service, which launched on 16 April, first operates to Guernsey (GCI) before continuing to Jersey (JER) and then returning to Hannover. The airline already serves both destinations from Düsseldorf. From Palma de Mallorca (PMI), the airline launched two new routes to Germany. On 16 April, airberlin began flying three times weekly to Friedrichshafen (FDH) at Lake Constance in southernmost Germany with 174-seat A320 aircraft. The airline has operated the route before, in 2001, but this is airberlin’s only route to Friedrichshafen since the airline dropped its Lamezia Terme route in 2009. On 17 April, the airline also launched three weekly flights from Palma to Weeze (NRN). The flights to the airport on the Dutch border, which is new to airberlin’s network, are operated with A319s and seats are both allocated to German and Dutch tour operators, among them Alltours, as well as sold as a scheduled service direct by airberlin. The airline, which is set to join the alliance oneworld next year, added Verona (VRN) in the north of Italy to its network from its two main hubs at Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Düsseldorf (DUS). Although both routes initially operate at low frequencies, the airline quickly increases each service to six weekly flights from May. The last time Verona was connected with Berlin was when Air Italy flew in 2007 and the airport has a connection with Düsseldorf last in 1999-2000 when Air Dolomiti operated the route. Susanna Sciacovelli, airberlin’s GM Italy, commented: “These two new routes strengthen our position in the Italian market which is strategically very important for us. The partnership which we have established with the Verona Airport is part of a wider plan of development that we are promoting in the Italian market and more generally in Europe.”

The rest of this week’s new routes

  • Air Namibia on 15 April launched its second non-stop route between Namibia and Johannesburg (JNB) in neighbouring South Africa. The airline now flies six times a week from Walvis Bay (WVB), the coastal city that previously has been part of South Africa. Flights on the 1,420-kilometre route are operated with 37-seat ERJ-135s, competing with South African Airways’ daily service on the route. Air Namibia also serves Johannesburg from Namibia’s capital Windhoek, as well as via Accra in Ghana and Lusaka in Zambia.

airBaltic’s first flight to Gdansk was celebrated at Riga Airport by the airline’s VP Corporate Communications Jānis Vanags and Riga Airport’s board member Aldis Mūrnieks. Passengers were treated with a thermometer-styled cake, referring to Gdansk being the birthplace of the physicist Gabriel Fahrenheit, most famous for the temperature scale named after him.

After airBaltic’s F50 received a welcoming by Gdansk Airport’s fire brigade (we love the angle!), the airport’s mascot Great Gull celebrated with passengers and handed out toy gulls.

  • airBaltic on 18 April launched its second Polish route as the airline connected its Riga (RIX) hub with Gdansk (GDN). This is the first time the Latvian capital is connected with the Polish port city on the Baltic coast, a distance of 450 kilometres. The airline, which already serves Warsaw in Poland, will operate the new route four times a week – Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays – with Fokker 50s.
  • Blue Air, the Romanian low-cost carrier that pulled out of its short-lived Cyprus base last year, on 18 April reinvested in the airport as it connected Bacau (BCM) in northeast Romania with the Cypriot airport at Larnaca (LCA). The new service is operated twice a week.
  • Blue Islands, the regional airline in the Channel Islands, on 18 April began flying between its Jersey (JER) base and London City (LCY). Flights operate 11 times weekly, initially with Dornier aircraft, but from 18 May with the airline’s newly acquired 48-seat ATR42-500 aircraft previously operated by Contact Air. This resumes services on the route that was last operated by CityJet until October last year. The airline does not aim for point-to-point traffic only, as Blue Islands’ General Manager Rob Veron pointed out: “This new route is part of our strategic plan to grow the airline. Our aim is to put Jersey at the financial heart of Europe. Our Blue Island’s network makes Jersey the hub for direct connections to the IOM, Zurich, Geneva, London City and Southampton not to mention Guernsey, its closest financial neighbour. These very rare peak slots that we have secured for Jersey are just perfect for this route.” The first flight took off with a 60% load factor and 11% of bookings were made since the Friday before the inaugural Monday flight.
  • Condor, the German leisure airline in Thomas Cook Group, on 16 April connected Paderborn (PAD) in northwest Germany with Palma de Mallorca (PMI). The airline now flies four times a week with 252-seat 757-300 aircraft, competing with airberlin’s 14 weekly flights.
  • Croatia Airlines on 16 April launched a service from Split (SPU) on the Croatian coast to Hamburg (HAM) in the north of Germany. This is the first time the Star Alliance member serves the 100-year-old airport, but the route was last operated by germanwings between 2007 and last year. Croatia Airlines will initially serve the route once a week with 164-seat A320s, increasing to twice-weekly from 4 May with the second weekly flight operated with 132-seat A319s.
  • easyJet added a new destination to its network as the low-cost airline on 16 April began flying between its largest base at London Gatwick (LGW) and Seville (SVQ) in southern Spain. Flights operate four times a week with 156-seat A319 aircraft, competing with Ryanair’s three flights a week. easyJet’s flights are scheduled to operate the same days as Ryanair’s – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – as well as on Mondays. However, while Ryanair operates in the afternoon, easyJet’s flights on the route are morning operations. Paul Simmons, easyJet’s UK general manager, commented: “Seville is a beautiful and cultural Spanish city and by launching this route we’re making it more accessible and affordable for everyone.”
  • Frontier on 18 April took over three regional routes in the Wisconsin and Michigan areas as part of the government Essential Air Service programme. Operated by Chautauqua Airlines, ERJ-135s are now flown 13 times weekly from Milwaukee, WI (MKE) across Lake Michigan to Manistee, MI (MBL) as well as upstate to Rhinelander, WI (RHI). The Rhinelander service continues with the same frequency to Ironwood, MI (IWD) on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. These three services were all previously operated by Great Lakes Airlines.
  • Garuda Indonesia on 16 April relaunched operations on the domestic route between Balikpapan (BPN) on the island of Borneo and Surabaya (SUB), the country’s second-largest city, on Java. The Indonesian national carrier now flies the route on a daily basis with 737-800s. Previously, the airline operated the route regularly until 1990 and then again for brief periods in 1996-1997 and 2000. It now faces competition from Lion Air’s 49, Batavia Air’s 14, Sriwijaya Air’s seven and Trigana Air three flights a week.
  • germanwings, Lufthansa’s A319-operating low-cost subsidiary, launched four new seasonal routes to Italy in the last week, all operating until 8-10 September. The airline now flies twice-weekly to Cagliari (CAG) in Sardinia from both Cologne/Bonn (CGN), as of 14 April, and Stuttgart (STR), which launched two days later. The Sardinian airport is a new destination to germanwings. From Hannover (HAJ), the airline on the same dates began flying to Bari (BRI) in the south of the Italian peninsula and Catania (CTA) in Sicily. Both of the Hannover services operate each once a week.
  • Icelandair, the airline analysed earlier this year, connected its Reykjavik (KEF) base with Alicante (ALC) in Spain on 14 April. The airline now flies once a week with its 757-200s, competing with Iceland Express’ two weekly flights.
Insel Air’s first route to Colombia

A cake was baked to celebrate Insel Air’s first route to Colombia – two weekly flights between Curaçao and Medellin. The Prime Minister of Curaçao, Gerrit Schotte, said: “With joined efforts from ex-minister Gijsbertha, the board and management of InselAir and the government of Schotte, Cooper and Hakim, we have achieved this milestone after 2.5 years.”

  • Insel Air of the Netherlands Antilles on 15 April began flying between its base on the Caribbean island of Curacao (CUR) and Medellin (MDE), Colombia’s second-largest city. The 975-kilometre route, which is operated twice a week with MD83 aircraft, is the airline’s first to Colombia.
  • Jetstar, Qantas’ low-cost carrier, on 12 April launched a new trans-Tasman route as it began flying three times a week between Cairns (CNS) in northeast Australia and Auckland (AKL), New Zealand’s largest city and the subject of last week’s airport analysis, using 177-seat A320s. This is the airline’s first trans-Tasman service from Cairns, although the service competes with Air New Zealand’s also three weekly flights and two flights a week with Virgin Blue.
  • Norwegian continued expanding its new Helsinki (HEL) base in the last week, now with three international services to the Mediterranean; one each to France, Spain and Greece. The Nordic low-cost carrier now flies from the Finnish capital to Nice (NCE) twice-weekly as of 13 April, three weekly flights to Malaga (AGP) from 14 April and a weekly service to Chania (CHQ) on the island of Crete from 17 April.
Ryanair’s new Malta service from the Scottish airport

Together with Passenger Handling Agent Caroline McIlvanney, Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s CEO Iain Cochrane and South Ayrshire Council Provost Winnie Sloan joined the first passengers to check in for Ryanair’s new Malta service from the Scottish airport; Alfreda and Carmen Azzopardi from Zejtum, Malta. Cochrane said: “I’m delighted that Ryanair has introduced this great low-cost service which will definitely enhance tourism opportunities between Scotland and Malta. It’s set to be a great sunshine destination for Scots this summer.”

  • Ryanair launched an impressive 46 new routes in the last week. The new Manchester (MAN) operations stick out for having the highest frequencies and, in the case of the five weekly flights to Palma de Mallorca (PMI), it is notable that neither airport is a Ryanair base. The most new routes were, however, seen in Greece, where 21 of the new routes were launched. Spain follows with 14 of the routes launching at its airports, in its turn followed by the UK and Italy with 13 routes each.
Date Origin Destination WF* Competition (WF*)
17-Apr-11 Alicante (ALC) Brno (BRQ) 2
12-Apr-11 Alicante (ALC) Humberside (HUY) 2
13-Apr-11 Alicante (ALC) Manchester (MAN) 9 Monarch (12), (5), easyJet (5), Thomson (4), Thomas Cook (2)
13-Apr-11 Barcelona Girona (GRO) Lamezia Terme (SUF) 2
12-Apr-11 Bari (BRI) Kos (KGS) 2
13-Apr-11 Birmingham (BHX) Montpellier (MPL) 3
12-Apr-11 Bologna (BLQ) Kos (KGS) 2
14-Apr-11 Bologna (BLQ) Larnaca (LCA) 2
14-Apr-11 Bologna (BLQ) Rhodes (RHO) 2
13-Apr-11 Bremen (BRE) Rhodes (RHO) 2
16-Apr-11 Brussels Charleroi (CRL) Biarritz (BIQ) 2
13-Apr-11 Brussels Charleroi (CRL) Kos (KGS) 2
14-Apr-11 Brussels Charleroi (CRL) Lamezia Terme (SUF) 3
14-Apr-11 Brussels Charleroi (CRL) Thessaloniki (SKG) 3
15-Apr-11 Cagliari (CAG) Rhodes (RHO) 2
13-Apr-11 Faro (FAO) Manchester (MAN) 6 Monarch (8), (5), Thomson (2)
14-Apr-11 Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) Rhodes (RHO) 2
12-Apr-11 Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) Thessaloniki (SKG) 2
14-Apr-11 Glasgow Prestwick (PIK) Malta (MLA) 2
16-Apr-11 Kaunas (KUN) Kos (KGS) 2
12-Apr-11 Kaunas (KUN) Rhodes (RHO) 2
12-Apr-11 Lanzarote (ACE) Valladolid (VLL) 1
13-Apr-11 Liverpool (LPL) Kos (KGS) 2
14-Apr-11 Liverpool (LPL) Rhodes (RHO) 2 easyJet (1)
14-Apr-11 London Stansted (STN) Rhodes (RHO) 3 From May: Thomson (1)
15-Apr-11 London Stansted (STN) Rijeka (RJK) 2
13-Apr-11 London Stansted (STN) Thessaloniki (SKG) 3
13-Apr-11 Madrid (MAD) Manchester (MAN) 4
13-Apr-11 Manchester (MAN) Palma de Mallorca (PMI) 5 Monarch (8), (5), Thomson (5), easyJet (2), bmibaby (2), Thomas Cook (1)
13-Apr-11 Milan Bergamo (BGY) Lanzarote (ACE) 2
14-Apr-11 Oslo Rygge (RYG) Kos (KGS) 2
12-Apr-11 Oslo Rygge (RYG) Thessaloniki (SKG) 2
15-Apr-11 Paris Beauvais (BVA) Beziers (BZR) 4
15-Apr-11 Reus (REU) Palermo (PMO) 2
14-Apr-11 Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) Kaunas (KUN) 3
14-Apr-11 Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) Lamezia Terme (SUF) 2
12-Apr-11 Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) Rhodes (RHO) 2
15-Apr-11 Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) Rijeka (RJK) 2
14-Apr-11 Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) Thessaloniki (SKG) 2
14-Apr-11 Tenerife Sur (TFS) Karlsruhe-Baden (FKB) 2
13-Apr-11 Tenerife Sur (TFS) Manchester (MAN) 4 Monarch (11), Thomson (8), Thomas Cook (7), easyJet (5), (2)
13-Apr-11 Tenerife Sur (TFS) Zaragoza (ZAZ) 2 Air Europa (1)
13-Apr-11 Trapani (TPS) Lamezia Terme (SUF) 3
15-Apr-11 Trapani (TPS) Rhodes (RHO) 2
15-Apr-11 Weeze (NRN) Larnaca (LCA) 2
17-Apr-11 Weeze (NRN) Rhodes (RHO) 1
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • Spirit of Manila, the Filipino low-cost carrier, on 17 April launched a new route between Clark (CRK), the secondary airport for Manila, and Macau (MFM), the Chinese Special Administrative Region. Flights operate twice-weekly with the airline’s 147-seat MD83 aircraft, competing with Cebu Pacific’s four flights a week on the route. From 27 May, there will also be competition from SEAIR, as it becomes the third low-cost airline on the route, adding daily flights.
  • Strategic Airlines, the Australian regional carrier, on 18 April began flying the intra-Queensland route between Brisbane (BNE) and Gladstone (GLT), a distance of 430 kilometres up the coast. The service is operated 10 times a week, twice-daily Monday through Friday, with A320 aircraft and takes on Qantas’ monopoly at the airport. Under the Australian flag carrier’s regional brand QantasLink, 43 weekly flights provide competition.
  • Turkish Airlines, the fast-growing Star Alliance member analysed earlier this year, in the last week continued expanding its network out of its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub, adding two new destinations. On 14 April, the airline launched its second route to Iraq after the country capital Baghdad as it began operating twice a week to Erbil (EBL), the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, the region in the north of the country. Competition on the route comes from Atlasjet’s five flights a week and also two weekly flights with Iraqi Airways. On 18 April, the airline continued its expansion as it began operating to its fourth French destination; Toulouse (TLS), which follows Paris CDG, Lyon and Nice. Flights to the city in southern France initially operate three times a week, but increase to four times weekly in July. Both of the two new routes are served with the airline’s 165-seat 737-800s.
Vueling welcomed to Bordeaux

Cutting the cake welcoming Vueling to Bordeaux were the airline’s Chief Sales Officer Juan Carlos Iglesias and Bordeaux Mérignac Airport’s CEO Pascal Personne. The low-cost carrier now flies to the new low-cost terminal billi from Barcelona, competing with Air France.

  • Vueling, the Spanish low-cost carrier, launched four new routes in the last week, two international and two domestic, with its 180-seat A320s. From its main base in Barcelona (BCN), the airline on 15 April began serving the city of Bordeaux (BOD) in southwest France, where Vueling uses the low-cost terminal ‘billi‘ alongside easyJet and Ryanair. Flights operate three times a week, competing with Air France’s 11 weekly flights on the route. From Vigo (VGO) in Galicia in the northwest of the country, Vueling on 16 April relaunched thrice-weekly London Heathrow (LHR) services. The airline previously operated the route in the summers of 2008 and 2009 as clickair, before the airline merged with Vueling. The same day, the airline took over two domestic routes originating in Madrid (MAD) from its minority shareholder Iberia. Vueling now flies to Palma de Mallorca (PMI) four times daily. The 28 weekly flights compete with Air Europa’s 43, Spanair’s 28, Ryanair’s 21 and airberlin’s 12 weekly flights on the same route. Vueling also began flying daily to the Canary Island Fuerteventura (FUE), competing with Air Europa’s five, Spanair’s three and Ryanair’s also three weekly flights. Additionally, Iberia this week operates its four last flights on the route.

WindJet for the first time arrived at Cologne/Bonn in western Germany’s Rhineland area and was welcomed by Gerhard Pilop from the airport’s Business Development department. The Italian low-cost carrier now flies once a week from Rimini.

  • WindJet continued expanding its new Rimini (RMI) base on Italy’s Adriatic coast as the low-cost airline on 17 April launched a weekly Sunday flight to Cologne/Bonn (CGN) in western Germany. 180-seat A320 aircraft are used on the route, which is the airline’s first to the German airport, which is its second German destination after Berlin, although the airline did serve Munich and Düsseldorf in 2005.
Wizz Air at Cork Airport

Padraig McCarthy, Cork Airport’s Duty Manager, welcomed the Wizz Air crew from Vilnius. This is Wizz Air’s sixth route to the Irish airport, although the Lithuanian capital becomes the first non-Polish destination.

As Wizz Air launched its base in Lithuania’s capital, a press conference was held in Vilnius by Tomas Vaisvila, CEO Vilnius Airport; Rimvydas Vastakas, Lithuanian Deputy Minister of Transport; Wizz Air’s CEO Jozsef Varadi and the airline’s Corporate Communications Manager Balazs Varro. The city also saw promotional events that made sure the base launch would not go unnoticed.

  • Wizz Air launched its new base in Vilnius (VNO), the capital of Lithuania, in the last week, as detailed in this week’s airline analysis. The route to Milan Bergamo (BGY) is the only to face direct competition, as Ryanair in May launches the same route with three weekly frequencies. Further details are available in this week’s dedicated article. Wizz Air’s CEO Jozsef Varadi commented: “We have sold over 40,000 tickets for our Lithuanian routes prior to starting operations indicating strong demand for the Wizz low cost travel experience. Wizz has got to market leadership in the low cost airline sector in all the home markets where the airline operates bases which we aim at achieving in Lithuania too, going forward.”
Date Destination WF*
18-Apr-11 Barcelona (BCN) 2
16-Apr-11 Cork (ORK) 2
17-Apr-11 Doncaster/Sheffield (DSA) 2
18-Apr-11 Eindhoven (EIN) 2
17-Apr-11 London Luton (LTN) 5
17-Apr-11 Milan Bergamo (BGY) 2
16-Apr-11 Rome Fiumicino (FCO) 3
16-Apr-11 Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) 3
*WF: Weekly Frequencies
  • Xiamen Airlines on 16 April launched its fourth non-stop route to the Special Administrative Region of Macau (MFM) as the airline launched two weekly flights from Fuzhou (FOC) in the southeast of China with 128-seat 737-700s. The 745-kilometre route adds to the airline’s services from Hangzhou, Jinjiang and Xiamen.

Other celebrations in the last week

InterSky became a new airline at Allgäu Airport Memmingen as the airline began operating a weekly full charter to Naples on behalf of the tour operator Amos Reisen.

niki is going to fly regular charter services between the capitals of Austria and Macedonia, Vienna and Skopje, from September on behalf of MacSun Travel. Already now, the first flight took off, piloted by owner and CEO Niki Lauda himself. Posing for the camera were Mile Janikieski, Macedonian Minister of Transport; Niki Lauda; TAV Macedonia Deputy General Manager Alper Ersoy; Marjan Mitev and Evald Kening, Managers of MacSun Travel; and Dejan Mojsovski, Director General of Macedonian CAA. Lauda said: “This flight was packed. The passengers were satisfied with us, and we are very happy with this new destination.”

Armavia, which launched flights between Yerevan and Munich  two weeks ago , now has increased its frequencies to three weekly flights – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with CRJ200s – which caused the German airport to celebrate the new route. Munich Airport’s Director Traffic Development Alexander Schroll (sitting, left) celebrated together with Edgar Lacker, Aviareps’ EVP Europe (holding banner, right).

Last Friday, Brussels Charleroi welcomed Jetairfly’s third based aircraft to the airport.

Last Friday, Brussels Charleroi welcomed Jetairfly’s third based aircraft to the airport.


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