New airline routes launched (19 – 25 April 2011)

Route of the Week:
CSA Czech Airlines’ Prague to Donetsk

The ribbon was cut for Czech Airlines’ new service from its Prague hub to Donetsk at the press conference held in the Ukrainian city. As a draw was arranged, a lucky member of the local press even won himself a free ticket on the new route.

  • CSA Czech Airlines expanded its Ukrainian network on 24 April as the SkyTeam carrier that recently was analysed in anna.aero launched a thrice-weekly service between the Czech capital Prague (PRG) and Donetsk (DOK) in eastern Ukraine, for the first time linking the two cities. The service, which is operated with 102-seat 737-500s, is part of the airline’s expansion in the Ukrainian market, with both flights to Lviv and Kharkov announced to soon launch as well.

Cake of the Week:
flydubai’s Dubai to Addis Ababa

flydubai’s cake celebrating the launch of flights to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa was impressively baked entirely in-house without any professional advice. The cake is intended to reflect the true meaning of Addis Ababa – 'new flower'. Proudly displaying the office creation are Ethiopian national Biniam Abebe from IT Support; Senior Planning Analyst Paul Carroll; and COO Ken Gile. The honour of cutting the cake fell upon Abebe; Sudhir Sreedharan, Head of Commercial Operations; and CCO Hamad Obaidalla.

  • flydubai on 22 April expanded its African route network as the low-cost airline launched a new route between its Dubai (DXB) base and Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa (ADD), a distance of just over 2,500 kilometres. The airline already flies to the neighbouring countries Sudan and Djibouti. Flights operate three times a week – on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays – with the airline’s single fleet of 189-seat 737-800s. Competition comes from both Ethiopian Airlines’ currently two flights a day, although the Ethiopian national carrier operates 18 weekly frequencies except in April and May, as well as from Emirates’ daily services. flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith commented: “There are significant ties between the UAE and Ethiopia that have registered steady growth over the past few years. The announcement of flights to Addis Ababa will not only help to develop these further but also provide an affordable travel option for business people and tourists alike.”

The rest of this week’s new routes

Aerosvit, operated by Dniproavia, has added its second Czech destination as the Ukrainian airline began serving the spa town of Karlovy Vary, located 100 kilometres west of the country capital Prague.

Aerosvit, operated by Dniproavia, has added its second Czech destination as the Ukrainian airline began serving the spa town of Karlovy Vary, located 100 kilometres west of the country capital Prague.

  • Aerosvit, the Ukrainian carrier, launched two new international routes in the last week. On 21 April, the airline connected its Kiev Borispol (KBP) base with Karlovy Vary (KLV) in western Czech Republic. Flights operate twice a week with Dniproavia’s 49-seat ERJ145s and complement the airline’s daily flights to Prague, a route also served daily by Czech Airlines. Two days later, the airline launched a new route between Kiev and Novosibirsk (OVB) in the Russian Far East, a distance of 3,460 kilometres. The five weekly flights operated with Donbassaero’s 150-seat A320 aircraft reinstate services between the two cities that last were connected by Dalavia until the airline dropped the route 2008.
  • Air France expanded its network in West Africa in the last week as the airline added two additional sectors to its existing flights between Paris CDG (CDG) and Conakry (CKY) in Guinea. The destination varies by the day of the week. As of 19 April, the A330-200s continue to Freetown (FNA) in Sierra Leone twice a week and the following day, the Air France’s aircraft began flying to Monrovia (ROB) in Liberia three times weekly. Brussels Airlines is the only other carrier to operate to both Monrovia and Freetown from Europe. The Belgian carrier also flies both routes as one-stop services from Brussels. Freetown is also connected with Europe by bmi, which flies non-stop from London Heathrow.
  • blu-express, the low-cost scheduled arm of Blue Panorama of Italy, on 22 April launched its first route to the Spanish mainland as the airline connected Rome Fiumicino (FCO) with Granada (GRX) in the south of Spain. Flights initially operate twice a week, but frequencies increase to thrice-weekly at the end of June.
  • Carpatair, the Romanian airline based in Timisoara, on 21 April launched an international route from Iasi (IAS) in the northeast of the country, bordering Moldova. The airline now flies twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) with its 72-seat Fokker 70s and 105-seat Fokker 100s. Between July and September, a Tuesday operation is added to make three weekly frequencies. This is the airline’s third route to the Italian capital after Timisoara and Craiova. Paula Ardelean, Carpatair’s VP Marketing and Sales, said: “Carpatair operates the largest network Romania – Italy – Romania. The decision to introduce direct flights from Iasi to Rome was justified by the high demand of flights on this route.”

Cutting the cake for the first flight to Edinburgh from Knock were Joe Gilmore, Managing Director Ireland West Airport Knock, and Simon Gregory, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Markets. Welcoming the first Scottish tourists from Edinburgh were the Irish tourism minister Michael Ring and Gilmore. Ring also led the first passengers in a bag pipe procession.

  • Flybe, the British regional carrier, launched two new international routes in the last week, both with the airline’s 78-seat Q400 aircraft. On 19 April, the airline began flying between Edinburgh (EDI) in Scotland and Knock (NOC) in Ireland. Flights operate three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with frequencies increasing to five times weekly during July and August, when flights also will operate on Mondays and Fridays. Joe Gilmore, Managing Director Ireland West Airport Knock, commented: “This is an important day in the airport’s history, adding such a strong airline brand as Flybe who become our 5th scheduled airline partner and Edinburgh our 10th UK destination. The new service to Edinburgh will come as welcome news to all those visiting friends and family in Scotland, which has strong traditional links with the West and North West of Ireland and we look forward to welcoming the thousands of tourists from Scotland on this new service over the coming months.” From the airline’s home base in Exeter (EXT) in southwest England, the airline on 23 April began flying once a week to Düsseldorf (DUS) in western Germany. This is the airline’s fourth route to the German city, which it already serves from Manchester, Birmingham and Southampton.
Hainan Airlines celebrated opening its second route to Phuket in Thailand as the airline keeps expanding its international network out of Hangzhou in eastern China.

Hainan Airlines celebrated opening its second route to Phuket in Thailand as the airline keeps expanding its international network out of Hangzhou in eastern China.

  • Hainan Airlines on 23 April added its second route to the island of Phuket (HKT) in Thailand as the Chinese airline began flying from Hangzhou (HGH) in eastern China. The airline already serves the Thai airport from Beijing. Flights on the new route operate twice a week with 164-seat 737-800s.
  • Helvetic Airways, the Swiss regional carrier, on 22 April connected Bern (BRN), the Swiss capital and the airline’s secondary base, with Brindisi (BDS) in southeast Italy. Flights operate once a week with the airline’s 100-seat Fokker 100s and complement its services from its main base at Zurich.

Hong Kong Express was welcomed to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo as Chinese inbound tourism to the Sabah region is on the rise. Hong Kong Express becomes the fourth airline to operate the route.

  • Hong Kong Express, the Hainan Airlines subsidiary and sibling of Hong Kong Airlines, began serving the Malaysian market on 22 April. From its Hong Kong (HKG) base, the airline now flies twice a week to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) on the island of Borneo. Flights operate with 164-seat 737-800s, competing with Malaysia Airlines’ nine, AirAsia’s seven and Dragonair’s six flights a week. Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin, Chairman of Sabah Tourism Board, commented: “China and Hong Kong are very important markets for us. In 2002, Sabah received less than 25,000 arrivals and last year the record was about 98,000. Our destination has proven to be a popular destination for them. Hong Kong Airlines supporting our route will greatly enhance these arrivals.”
  • Jat Airways, the Serbian national carrier, on 23 April launched a new route between its Belgrade (BEG) base and Girona (GRO) on Spain’s Costa Brava in the northeast of the country. Flights initially operate once a week with 126-seat 737-300 aircraft, but frequencies double to twice-weekly in June. Indirect competition comes from Spanair’s three weekly flights from nearby Barcelona.
As Jet2.com arrived in Budapest from Edinburgh, Scottish services to the Hungarian capital are reinstated. Celebrating the event with a cake were Sándor Saly, Budapest Airport’s Airline Development Manager; Lajos Palkó, Advisor to the CEO at the Hungarian National Tourism Office; Rachel Farr, Jet2.com’s Airports and Tourism Organisations Manager; Jost Lammers, CEO Budapest Airport; Ian Doubtfire, Managing Director Jet2.com; and Patrick Bohl, Budapest Airport’s Head of Airline Development & Strategy.

As Jet2.com arrived in Budapest from Edinburgh, Scottish services to the Hungarian capital are reinstated. Celebrating the event with a cake were Sándor Saly, Budapest Airport’s Airline Development Manager; Lajos Palkó, Advisor to the CEO at the Hungarian National Tourism Office; Rachel Farr, Jet2.com’s Airports and Tourism Organisations Manager; Jost Lammers, CEO Budapest Airport; Ian Doubtfire, Managing Director Jet2.com; and Patrick Bohl, Budapest Airport’s Head of Airline Development & Strategy.

  • Jet2.com launched its second route to Budapest (BUD) on 21 April when the British low-cost carrier began serving the Hungarian capital from Edinburgh (EDI) in Scotland, complementing the airline’s Manchester services that have operated since 2004. Flights on the new route initially operate twice a week, but frequencies increase to thrice-weekly in the second half of May when flights will be operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Although this is the first time the two airports are connected, Jet2.com fills the void left after Ryanair’s Scottish route from Glasgow Prestwick, which was dropped as the airline pulled out of all of its Budapest services at the end of the winter season in October last year.
  • LAN Argentina on 25 April launched a new domestic route from the Argentinean capital’s city airport Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP) to Bahia Blanca (BHI), the city 570 kilometres down the coast. Services operate 13 times a week with 168-seat A320s, competing with Aerolíneas Argentinas’ 12 weekly flights on the same route.

Schiphol TV covered MAT Airways’ arrival to Amsterdam and interviewed Simone Filippini, Dutch Ambassador to Macedonia; Nikola Dimitrov, Macedonian Ambassador to the Netherlands; and Wilco Sweijen, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s Director Aviation Marketing, who attended the welcome reception, which featured a creamy cake in the style of a ‘Macedonia’ fruit salad.

  • MAT Airways, the Serbian-backed Macedonian airline launched last year with a single 737-500 previously operated by the bankrupt former national carrier MAT Macedonian Airlines, on 22 April connected the capitals of Macedonia and the Netherlands. The airline now flies once a week – on Fridays – between Skopje (SKP) and Amsterdam (AMS) with its 120-seat aircraft. The route used to be served regularly during the summer peak season by MAT Macedonian Airlines, last operating in the summer of 2007. In addition to direct sales, the new service will also be marketed through the Dutch tour operator Karatanova Tours, which specialises package holidays to the Balkans. For video coverage of MAT Airways’ welcoming to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, see Schiphol TV.
  • Ryanair continued expanding its Canary Islands bases as the low-cost airline on 19 April connected Tenerife Sur (TFS) with Derry (LDY), the second-largest city in Northern Ireland. The 189-seat 737-800s now operate once a week between the two airports. Notably, Ryanair is the only airline to operate more than a single route at Derry, currently operating six routes.

The cake welcoming Transavia.com from Rotterdam to Montpellier on the French Mediterranean coast was cut by Pascal Bigot, Montpellier Airport’s route development manager; Marie-Aimée Hustache, Transavia.com’s PR representative; and Cyril Reboul, chairman Montpellier Airport.

There was a distinctly Dutch theme to the cake welcoming Transavia.com to Vienna. The clog surrounded by tulips was even sparkling (!). The cake was cut by Norbert Zoet, Transavia.com’s VP International Sales and Belina Neumann, Vienna International Airport’s Senior Manager Aviation Marketing, as they were joined by crew members Daphne Wolf (left) and Barbara van Rietbergen (right) as well as Stefan Ehrengruber, Vienna International Airport’s Head of Aviation & Business Development (background).

  • Transavia.com, as detailed in this week’s airline analysis, launched 12 new routes in the last week across three regional Dutch airports – Rotterdam (RTM), Eindhoven (EIN) and Groningen (GRQ) – as well as Nantes (NTE) in western France. Notably, three of the destinations now served from Rotterdam are entirely new to the airline; Milan Malpensa (MXP), Prague (PRG) and Vienna (VIE). The only of the new routes to face competition is Transavia.com’s new Eindhoven operation to Ibiza (IBZ), which competes with Ryanair’s also three weekly flights.
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c
21-Apr-11 Eindhoven (EIN) Barcelona (BCN) 7 B738
21-Apr-11 Eindhoven (EIN) Ibiza (IBZ) 3 B738
21-Apr-11 Eindhoven (EIN) Nice (NCE) 7 B738
25-Apr-11 Groningen (GRQ) Malaga (AGP) 2 B738
23-Apr-11 Nantes (NTE) Seville (SVQ) 1 B738
23-Apr-11 Rotterdam (RTM) Biarritz (BIQ) 3 B738
21-Apr-11 Rotterdam (RTM) Madrid (MAD) 4 B738
21-Apr-11 Rotterdam (RTM) Milan Malpensa (MXP) 4 B738
22-Apr-11 Rotterdam (RTM) Montpellier (MPL) 4 B738
21-Apr-11 Rotterdam (RTM) Prague (PRG) 4 B738
22-Apr-11 Rotterdam (RTM) Toulon (TLN) 4 B738
21-Apr-11 Rotterdam (RTM) Vienna (VIE) 4 B738
*WF: Weekly Frequency

A beach cake celebrating the first flight between Riga and Antalya was baked for the passengers on Turkish Airlines’ first flight. Cutting the cake were Aldis Mūrnieks, member of Riga Airport’s board, and Selim Kasap, Turkish Airlines’ director in Riga.

  • Turkish Airlines on 23 April connected the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya (AYT) with the Latvian capital Riga (RIX). Flights now operate twice a week, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with 165-seat 737-800s.

Cutting the ribbon for Vueling’s new Toulouse base were Jean-Michel Vernhes, CEO Toulouse-Blagnac Airport; Linda Moreira, Vueling’s country manager France; and Catherine Gay, director of strategy and development of Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. Passengers were then invited to indulge in the huge cake that was the size of the whole table (!).

  • Vueling launched its new base at Toulouse (TLS) in the south of France last week, as detailed in this week’s airline analysis. The single A320 instantly generated seven out of eight routes; four to Spain, one domestic to Nice (NCE), a route to Prague (PRG) as well as the route with the highest frequency – five weekly flights to Venice (VCE).
Date Destination WF* Competition (WF*)
22-Apr-11 Barcelona (BCN) 3
23-Apr-11 Ibiza (IBZ) 3
22-Apr-11 Malaga (AGP) 3 Europe Airpost (1)
23-Apr-11 Nice (NCE) 4 Air France (18)
23-Apr-11 Palma de Mallorca (PMI) 3
24-Apr-11 Prague (PRG) 3
22-Apr-11 Venice (VCE) 5
*WF: Weekly Frequency

Celebrations for previous weeks’ route launches

Celebrating airberlin’s launch of flights from Düsseldorf to Verona were Ulrich Topp, Düsseldorf International Airport’s Director Aviation Marketing (centre) and Michael Weinreich, airberlin’s Manager Internal Communications, along with captain Stefan Buntenbach, cabin crew Janine Kierschke, Anja Rintisch, Nina Harwar-Laignasse and first officer Patrik Sokal.

Celebrating airberlin’s launch of flights from Düsseldorf to Verona were Ulrich Topp, Düsseldorf International Airport’s Director Aviation Marketing (centre) and Michael Weinreich, airberlin’s Manager Internal Communications, along with captain Stefan Buntenbach, cabin crew Janine Kierschke, Anja Rintisch, Nina Harwar-Lavignasse and first officer Patrik Sokal. (Photo: Andreas Wiese)

Other celebrations in the last week

The seasonal relaunch of Aer Lingus Regional services between Cork and Jersey was celebrated at the Irish airport by Aer Lingus Regional cabin crew member Melanie Fitzgerald; Aer Lingus Cork Base Manager Alan Long; cabin crew member Clare O’Reilly; Cork Airport Marketing Manager Kevin Cullinane; and Aer Arann CEO Paul Schütz.

On 26 April, Ryanair celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Brussels Charleroi base, having become the airline’s first base on the European continent a decade ago. The low-cost airline now transports 4.5 million passengers to and from the Belgian airport annually.


New route? New airline? Email us! Let's all celebrate your new routes. Please send photos and route details to James Davis, anna.aero's Assistant Editor. Contact James.

Comments

  1. Martin Fox says:

    Is there any possibility soon Flydubai to open direct connection from Dubai to the Bulgarian capital Sofia?
    Hope yes.
    all the best.

    • flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith has confirmed that the airline is looking at European destinations. Whether Sofia is among these is not yet revealed, but we have been told to expect announcements fairly soon.

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