New airline routes launched (17 – 23 May 2011)

Route of the Week:
United’s Los Angeles to Shanghai Pudong

After the ribbon was cut for United’s new route to Shanghai Pudong from Los Angeles, Shanghai Airport Authority’s Deputy General Manager Hu Zhihong spoke to the gathered press and VIPs, after which James Mueller, United’s VP Asia Pacific, told the press: “Since United became the first airline to launch non-stop service from China to the US 25 years ago, we have continued to invest in expanding our network to support the growing relationship between our two great countries.”

  • United Airlines launched a new intercontinental service on 20 May when the airline began operating between Los Angeles, CA (LAX) and Shanghai Pudong (PVG). This is the airline’s third route to the Chinese city, which it already serves from Chicago O’Hare and San Francisco. The Star Alliance airline operates the route daily with 777-200ER aircraft. Competition comes from American Airlines’ and China Eastern’s also each daily flights. Jim Compton, United’s EVP and chief revenue officer, commented: “United operates more routes from the US to China than any other airline, and this new service is another step in the expansion of our US-China network.”

Cake of the Week:
Flybe’s Southampton to Clermont-Ferrand

Southampton Airport celebrated big as the airport’s French network grew. A gorgeous cake was baked to show the English south coast and France, including details like the Isle of Wight, as Flybe this week added a route to Clermont-Ferrand. Jan Halliday, Southampton Airport’s Director of Marketing & Communications, said: “Because of the excellent selection of Flybe flights, Southampton Airport has become firmly established as the easy way to get to French cities from the UK.”

Flybe’s Q400 aircraft was welcomed to Clermont-Ferrand from Southampton by the airport’s fire brigade. Passengers were then surprised with a wine and cheese cocktail reception in the arrivals hall.

Flybe at Manchester

The new Flybe service from Manchester was celebrated in the City of Derry by UTV presenter Julian Simmons; Andrea Hayes, Flybe’s general manager of market development; and Colm Eastwood, mayor of Derry.

  • Flybe, the British regional airline, launched two new routes in the last week, one domestic and one international. Both routes are to new destinations in Flybe’s network and both are operated seasonally with 78-seat Q400 aircraft. On 19 May, the airline connected Manchester (MAN) in the north of England with City of Derry (LDY) in Northern Ireland. Flights operate five times weekly, on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, until 25 September. The route was last operated by British Airways between 1994 and 2005. Mike Rutter, Flybe’s CCO, said: “We’re delighted to be adding this service to our extensive summer schedule out of Manchester, demonstrating our commitment to bringing convenient, affordable travel to passengers throughout the UK. As Derry prepares and builds towards its very exciting City of Culture status in 2013, this route will inevitably prove an added bonus to bringing additional visitors directly to the City.” On 21 May, the airline also launched three weekly flights between Southampton (SOU) on England’s south coast and Clermont-Ferrand (CFE) in central France. The Monday, Thursday and Saturday flights operate until 10 September. Although various airlines flew between the airport and London airports in the early 2000s, this is the first time Clermont-Ferrand is connected with the UK since Ryanair’s London Stansted service was dropped in 2004.

The rest of this week’s new routes

  • AeroSvit on 20 May began serving its third destination in Kazakhstan after Almaty and Astana as the Ukrainian airline launched flights to Aktau (SCO) on the Caspian Sea coast from its Kiev Borispol (KBP) base. Flights on the 1,690-kilometre route operate twice-weekly with 68-seat An-148 aircraft.
  • Air Busan, the regional subsidiary of Star Alliance’s South Korean member Asiana, on 18 May took over a Busan (PUS) originating route from its parent airline. Air Busan now operates three times weekly with 162-seat 737-400s to Hong Kong (HKG), while Asiana used to serve the route with a daily frequency. Competition comes from daily flights on both Korean Air and Dragonair as well as Jeju Air’s also three weekly flights.

airberlin for the first time arrived in Montenegro. Seen here is the German airline’s first flight arriving to Tivat from Nuremberg.

  • airberlin launched three new routes in the last week, each of which is operated once weekly. On 18 May, the airline began flying between Nuremberg (NUE) in Germany’s southeastern region Bavaria and Tivat (TIV) on Montenegro’s Mediterranean coast. This is airberlin’s first route to Montenegro and the first time Tivat is connected with Germany since Montenegro Airlines dropped its Munich and Frankfurt routes in 2009. Flights on the new route operate seasonally until 14 September with 144-seat 737-700s. On 21 May, airberlin continued expanding its network to the Channel Islands, launching a flight between Düsseldorf (DUS) and Guernsey (GCI), which now is served seasonally until 10 September with 76-seat Q400s, complementing the airline’s recently launched route from Hannover. The same day, airberlin also began flying from Zurich (ZRH) in Switzerland to Bodrum (BJV) in Turkey. The route is operated with 150-seat A319s until 22 October.

Laredo Mayor Raul Salinas spoke to the gathered passengers and then cut slices of the cake for the children ready to board Allegiant’s first flight to Orlando Sanford. This is the low-cost airline’s second route to the southern Texas city after Las Vegas services.

  • Allegiant Air, the US ultra-low cost airline, in the last week expanded its base at Orlando Sanford (SFB), which saw the launch of two new seasonal routes to destinations in the American South. On 19 May, the airline began serving Shreveport, LA (SHV) and the following day, flights were launched to Laredo, TX (LRD). The airline already serves both destinations from Las Vegas. Each of the new routes is served twice-weekly with the airline’s MD80 aircraft.
  • Azerbaijan Airlines on 17 May relaunched services to its sixth Turkish destination. The airline now serves Trabzon (TZX) from its Baku (GYD) base. Azerbaijan Airlines last operated between the two cities in 2009. Flights now operate twice-weekly with 70-seats ATR72.
Blue Islands at Bristol Airport

In the Bristol Airport gate area where Blue Islands’ first flight from to Jersey prepared to board, a summer beach scene was recreated with deckchairs and parasols as well as strawberries and cream being served to passengers. Jason Wescott, Bristol Airport’s Head of Sales and Marketing, and Hayley Webb, Blue Islands’ PR Manager, joined the celebrations.

  • Blue Islands, the regional airline based in the Channel Islands, on 23 May launched a service between Jersey (JER) and Bristol (BRS) in southwest England. The 11 weekly flights with 19-seat Jetstream 32s are scheduled twice-daily on weekdays and once on Sundays. Blue Islands’ Managing Director Rob Veron commented: “Our schedule has been created to allow swift day travel to the Channel Islands, but the additional Sunday flights work perfectly for a weekend break in all destinations. I hope new passengers from Bristol will enjoy our brand, particularly the unique Blue Islands pricing policy that has no baggage charges, no credit or debit card charges and free ticket changes, which sets Blue Islands apart.”

TAV Istanbul’s General Manager Kemal Ünlü welcomed Croatia Airlines’ CEO Srećko Šimunović to the Turkish city. Passengers on the flight, the airline’s first regular service in 12 years, were welcomed with roses, while Ünlü and Šimunović joined in cutting the celebratory cake.

  • Croatia Airlines relaunched services between its Zagreb (ZAG) hub and that of its alliance partner Turkish Airlines, Istanbul Atatürk (IST), on 17 May. The airline last operated the route regularly between 1992 and 1999, but flights also operated in 2007. Flights now operate three times weekly, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, with 132-seat A319s. Competition comes from fellow Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines’ daily service. At the inaugural event, Croatia Airlines’ CEO Srećko Šimunović said: “Croatia Airlines has always strived to move forward and improve the quality of services to provide passengers with new values and new attractive destinations. Today I am proud that Zagreb is connected with one of the most attractive destinations in South-East Europe, Istanbul by Croatia Airlines. I am certain that Zagreb-Istanbul flights will result in an even stronger economic cooperation between Croatia and Turkey and contribute to the development of tourism, an important economic sector in both countries.”
  • Firefly, Malaysia Airlines’ regional subsidiary, on 19 May took over a domestic route from its parent airline. Firefly now operates twice-daily between Johor Bahru (JHB), the city near the border to Singapore, and Kuching (KCH), the largest city on Borneo, with its 162-seat 737-400. Malaysia Airlines, which last served the route with a daily operation, continuously had operated the same route for decades up until the handover on 18 May. Competition on the route comes from AirAsia’s also twice-daily service.

After the arrival of Icelandair’s 757 named Eyjafjallajökull (yes, it is named after the volcano that caused major air travel disruption last year) to Washington Dulles, the ribbon was cut by Lynn Hampton, president and CEO Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority; Ossur Skarphedinsson, Icelandic foreign minister; Charles D. Snelling, chairman Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority; and Birkir Holm Gudnason, Icelandair’s CEO. Passengers were treated to food, drinks and live music as they awaited boarding for Reykjavik.

  • Icelandair launched a new US route on 17 May, before the new volcanic eruption temporarily shut Icelandic air space. From its hub at Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik (KEF), the airline now flies four times weekly with its 757s to Washington Dulles (IAD). Flights operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Although initially intended to operate seasonally until September, Icelandair’s CEO Birkir Holm Gudnasson announced at the launch ceremony that it has been extended until 8 January 2012. Flights then again resume for the summer season in March. The Icelandic national airline resumes services to the Washington DC area, as it has previously served Baltimore/Washington, most recently continuously between 1990 and the beginning of 2008. Charles D. Snelling, chairman Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, commented: “We welcome Icelandair to Dulles International Airport. Now, Washington travellers will have nonstop access to Iceland, a gateway to Europe. Iceland is a fascinating land of natural attraction, unique towns and villages, and wonderful people. We expect the travellers of our region to greatly enjoy this new service.” launch Newcastle - Toulouse service’s cabin crew celebrated the low-cost airline’s new route between Newcastle in northern England and Toulouse in southern France. Ian Doubtfire,’s managing director, said: “We are really pleased to have launched the region’s only direct service to the beautiful city of Toulouse. It has all the ingredients for those wanting to jet away on a city break this summer.”

  •, the British low-cost carrier, launched three new routes in the last week; one to Greece and two to France. While the airline serves Toulouse (TLS) and Rhodes (RHO) from several of its other bases, the newly completed airport in Brive (BVE) in south central France is new to the network.
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c Competition (WF*)
18-May-11 East Midlands (EMA) Rhodes (RHO) 1 B752 Thomson (2), Thomas Cook (1)
21-May-11 Manchester (MAN) Brive (BVE) 2 B733
22-May-11 Newcastle (NCL) Toulouse (TLS) 1 B733
*WF: Weekly Frequency

In Jacksonville, a cake was baked to show the long-awaited new route. jetBlue’s staff was eager to pose with the creation that shared tables with a buffet of delicacies. After a speech by Jacksonville Aviation Authority’s CEO Steve Grossman, everyone wanted a picture of the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

jetBlue's San Juan - Jacksonville route launch

In San Juan, the celebrations continued for the important new Jacksonville route. Speeches were held, pointing out the already strong links between the two cities that are already twinned ‘Sister Cities’.

The cake baked to welcome jetBlue to Anchorage had a clear Alaskan theme. The airline’s SVP Marketing and Commercial Marty St. George spoke before departure from Long Beach, as he was joined by a moose popular with both Miss Alaska Abby Hancock and Miss Long Beach Monique Villa. Passengers were treated with slightly unusual goody bags on board.

On arrival in Alaska, passengers made use of their new gifts. St. George again spoke and posed with the local welcome delegation.

  • jetBlue launched two new routes in the last week in opposing ends of the North American continent. On 19 May, the airline began flying from Jacksonville, FL (JAX) in northeast Florida to San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico. 100-seat E190s are used on the daily service that for the first time connects Florida’s largest city with Puerto Rico. There is already significant fright traffic between the cities ports as three of the four container lines that serve Puerto Rico are headquartered in Jacksonville. “We have been trying to land service to Puerto Rico for several years and are pleased that JetBlue shares our vision,” Steve Grossman, Executive Director and CEO of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority said. “With the community’s support, this is the first step towards opening up additional markets in the Caribbean and Latin America.” Jacksonville’s Mayor John Peyton added: “Commerce with San Juan already provides an economic impact of more than $1 billion annually to Jacksonville. Both Cities will greatly benefit from the increased tourism and business travel this improved route will encourage. I look forward to welcoming visitors from our ‘Sister City’.” In addition to leisure and business traffic, there is a 100,000 strong Puerto Rican community living in northeast Florida. On 23 May, jetBlue added a new destination and a new US state to its network as the low-cost airline connected its Long Beach, CA (LGB) base with Anchorage, AK (ANC), the largest city in Alaska. The daily flights are operated with 150-seat A320s. This is the first time ever that the two airports are connected, but indirect competition at Los Angeles International Airport comes from Alaska Airlines’ also daily service.
  • Monarch, the British leisure airline analysed this week, launched three Mediterranean routes on 13 May, two of which are to the Turkish destination Bodrum (BJV), the airport also analysed this week. The Turkish coastal city is served each twice-weekly from London Gatwick (LGW) and Birmingham (BHX), while the airline also began operating three times weekly between London Luton (LTN) and the Greek island of Corfu (CFU). The two Bodrum services are operated with A321s, while the Corfu route is served once weekly with A320s and the other weekly frequency with A321s. All three routes face competition. From London Gatwick, Thomson competes with five, easyJet with three and Thomas Cook with one weekly flight. From Birmingham, Thomson’s twice-weekly service and Thomas Cook’s weekly flights compete, while from London Luton, Thomson offers a weekly service in competition with Monarch’s new Corfu route.
  • Nordavia continued its expansion out of Norilsk (NSK), the mining city in northernmost Siberia. As of 21 May, the airline flies weekly via Chelyabinsk (CEK) south of Yekaterinburg to Adler/Sochi (AER) on the Black Sea coast. The airline uses 737-500 aircraft on the route.
  • Qantas resumed an Australian domestic service on 17 May when the airline connected Melbourne (MEL) in the south with Darwin (DRW) in the north. Flights now operate three times weekly with 168-seat 737-800 aircraft. The airline previously operated the route until April 2006 when it was handed over to its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar. Competition now comes from Virgin Blue eight times weekly as well as Jetstar’s 10 weekly flights.

Ryanair’s first passengers arriving in Chania in Crete were welcomed with a cake and buffet. Posing in front of the cake were Ms Kokkinaki, director of tourism for City of Chania; Mr Kastrinakis, director of Civil Aviation Authority; Melisa Corrigan, Ryanair’s Sales & Marketing Manager Italy & Greece; and Mr Mastrorantonakis, CEO Olympic Handling. Traditional dancers were also on site to provide entertainment.

  • Ryanair added a new Greek destination on 20 May when the airline launched flights from its Milan Bergamo (BGY) base in northern Italy to Chania (CHQ) on the island of Crete. Flights operate twice-weekly, on Mondays and Fridays, with the airline’s 189-seat 737-800s. This is the airline’s sixth Greek destination and the fifth that it serves from Bergamo.
  • Tunis Air added the UK to the list of destinations it serves out of Monastir (MIR) on the Tunisian coast. As of 21 May, the Tunisian national carrier serves Manchester (MAN) in northern England with a weekly flight. The service, which is operated with the airline’s A320s, faces no competition, as it is operated in summer only. In winter, the same route is operated by both Thomson and Thomas Cook.
  • Ukraine International launched two new routes in the last week. From Ivano-Frankovsk (IFO) in western Ukraine, the airline on 21 May launched a weekly service to Milan Malpensa (MXP). Flights operate seasonally with 737 equipment until 17 September. From the airline’s main base at Kiev Borispol (KBP), another route was launched on 18 May. Ukraine International now serves Samara (KUF) in Russia four times weekly, also with its 737 aircraft. The last time this route was served was by Krasnoyarsk Airlines, which operated between the two cities 1999-2008.
  • Ural Airlines on 18 May launched a weekly service between Yekaterinburg (SVX) by Russia’s Ural Mountains and the Ukrainian capital airport Kiev Borispol (KBP). The airline last operated the route, which it now serves with 159-seat A320s, in November and December last year, alongside Ukrainian competitor Aerosvit.

Other celebrations in the last week

Leeds/Bradford Airport celebrated Ryanair’s 15th anniversary at the airport. Lady Mayoress, Councillor Andrea McKenna, and the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna, joined Ryanair’s Danielle Moynihan and the airport’s Commercial and Aviation Development Director Tony Hallwood to celebrate with a cake. The Dublin-born Lord Mayor has regularly used Ryanair’s Dublin route, which was the airline’s first service to LBA in 1996.

Leeds/Bradford Airport celebrated Ryanair’s 15th anniversary at the airport. Lady Mayoress, Councillor Andrea McKenna, and the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Jim McKenna, joined Ryanair’s Danielle Moynihan and the airport’s Commercial and Aviation Development Director Tony Hallwood to celebrate with a cake. The Dublin-born Lord Mayor has regularly used Ryanair’s Dublin route, which was the airline’s first service to LBA in 1996.


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