New airline routes launched (7 – 13 June 2011)

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

China Southern’s second route to Amsterdam was a much anticipated event as the airport gained a non-stop connection with its seventh destination in China. Zhang Zifang, EVP & COO of China Southern Airlines, was welcomed by Jos Nijhuis, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s CEO, and alliance partner KLM’s Managing Director Erik Varwijk. For video coverage of the route launch celebrations in Amsterdam, see  Schiphol TV  (in Dutch, with bits in Chinese and English).

Cutting the ribbon for China Southern’s new Amsterdam route were Wu Mingxin, Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands; Nijhuis; Zifang; Varwijk; and Ad Rutten, EVP & COO Schiphol Group. In cutting the welcoming cake, they were then joined by Leo van Wijk, Chairman SkyTeam Alliance; Mark Dierikx, Dutch Director General for Civil Aviation; Zhang Jun, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands; and Peter Hartman, CEO & President of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

At the Chinese end, the new Guangzhou-Amsterdam service was celebrated by deputy party secretary Tan Wangeng and the Dutch Consul General to Guangzhou Ton van Zeeland.

There were big celebrations in Tbilisi when China Southern arrived in the Georgian capital from Ürümqi in western China. After speeches by, among others, the Chinese Ambassador Chen JianFu and Georgia’s Vice Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze, the enormous cake was cut.

  • China Southern launched four new routes in the last week; two international and two domestic. The service between Guangzhou (CAN) and Amsterdam (AMS) is notable for being the SkyTeam airline’s second route to the hub of alliance partner KLM, which it already serves from Beijing, while Georgia’s capital Tbilisi (TBS) is a new market for the airline. The two domestic services both involve Changzhou (CZX) in the eastern part of China. The only route facing competition is that from Shenyang (SHE) in the northeast of the country, which is also operated by Shenzhen Airlines with daily services.
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c
11-Jun-11 Changzhou (CZX) Wenzhou (WNZ) 3 A320
07-Jun-11 Guangzhou (CAN) Amsterdam (AMS) 3 A332
11-Jun-11 Shenyang (SHE) Changzhou (CZX) 3 A320
11-Jun-11 Ürümqi (URC) Tbilisi (TBS) 3 B73G
*WF: Weekly Frequency

Cake of the Week:
American Eagle’s Chicago O’Hare to Charlottesville

This extraordinary cake was baked to welcome American Eagle to Charlottesville in Virginia. There was no doubt that the locals were thrilled about the new route, which was inaugurated by Gary Foss, VP Planning and Marketing for American’s regional network, who said: “We’re delighted to serve the Charlottesville area from our cornerstone hub in Chicago. Now, it will be easier for Charlottesville residents to travel throughout the United States and the world through American’s gateway at O’Hare International Airport. Likewise, the Chicago connection will make Charlottesville’s many historic sites – and the University of Virginia – easily accessible through one of American’s largest hubs.”

At the send-off event at Dallas/Ft Worth Airport, Alejandro Higuera, Mayor of Mazatlan, cut the cake celebrating the new American Eagle service to the Mexican city, being assisted by Ann Dudley, DFW’s VP Customer Service. They were then joined by Luis Perez, DFW’s VP Air Service Development, and Sandra Reyes, American Eagle’s Supervisor, for the ribbon-cutting. On arrival on Mexico’s west coast, the aircraft was greeted with a fire-truck salute.

American Eagle’s daily new route from Dallas/Ft Worth was front page news in Morelia in central Mexico – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and a big delegation of dignitaries showed up to cut the ribbon.

In rotation: Celebrations in Durango (1) and Grand Island (2&3), with Congressman Adrian Smith speaking in the last picture.

  • American Eagle, the regional brand of American Airlines, launched six new routes from two of its hubs on 9 June; five from Dallas/Ft Worth, TX (DFW) and one from Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD). Notably, all destinations are new to the airline and none of the routes face competition.
Origin Destination WF* A/c
Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD) Charlottesville, VA (CHO) 14 ERJ140
Dallas/Ft Worth, TX (DFW) Durango, CO (DRO) 7 ERJ145
Dallas/Ft Worth, TX (DFW) Grand Island, NE (GRI) 13 ERJ140/5
Dallas/Ft Worth, TX (DFW) Montrose, CO (MTJ) 14 ERJ145
Dallas/Ft Worth, TX (DFW) Mazatlan (MZT) 7 ERJ145
Dallas/Ft Worth, TX (DFW) Morelia (MLM) 7 ERJ140
*WF: Weekly Frequency

The rest of this week’s new routes

  • Aegean Airlines, which last week began serving the French capital from Thessaloniki, on 9 June launched three weekly flights between Larnaca (LCA) in Cyprus and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). The Greek Star Alliance airline, which operates A320s on the route, flies the new route in competition with Cyprus Airways’ six weekly flights.
  • Aeroflot, the Russian national carrier, added a new domestic service between its Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) hub and Nizhny Novgorod (GOJ), the country’s fifth-largest city, located 400 kilometres east of the capital. The twice-daily operation initially operates with A319 aircraft, but from 17 June, the airline’s newly delivered Sukhoi Superjet 100s are deployed on the route on one of the two daily frequencies and from 1 July, the brand-new Russian aircraft are scheduled to solely operate the route. Indirect competition comes from UTair’s two daily flights from Moscow Vnukovo and S7’s six weekly flights from Moscow Domodedovo.

AeroSvit for the first time connected the Ukrainian capital Kiev with Stuttgart in southwest Germany. Posing with the first flight’s crew were Stuttgart Airport’s Frieder Mayer, Airline Marketing; Jörg Im Wolde, Head of Marketing; and AeroSvit’s Commercial Representative Germany Dmitry Scharf.

  • AeroSvit launched a new German service on 11 June when the Ukrainian airline connected its Kiev Borispol (KBP) hub with Stuttgart (STR) in southwest Germany. The four weekly flights are operated with mixture of 737-500 and E-195 aircraft seasonally until September. This is AeroSvit’s third German destination after Hamburg and Düsseldorf as well as the first time Stuttgart is connected with the Ukrainian capital.
Representatives of Air Arabia to mark first service from Air Arabia Egypt’s Alexandria base

Representatives of Air Arabia, including the crew, and Dammam Airport posed for a commemorative photo of the first service from Air Arabia Egypt’s Alexandria base.

  • Air Arabia Egypt, the Air Arabia-associated carrier based at Alexandria Borg Al Arab (HBE), launched two new routes to Saudi Arabia in the last week. On 9 June, the low-cost airline began flying twice-weekly to Riyadh (RUH) and two days later, three weekly flights to Dammam (DMM) launched operations. 162-seat A320s are used on the routes. The Riyadh service faces direct competition from nasair’s daily flights and Saudi Arabian Airlines’ two flights a week, while Egyptair provides indirect competition at Alexandria El Nouzha with five weekly flights. The Egyptian national carrier further competes indirectly with three flights a week to Dammam.

Celebrating Air France’s new route to Orlando were Gael de Maisonneuve, French Consul General to Miami; Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s Chairman Cesar Calvet; Orange County's Mayor Teresa Jacobs; Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer; the Air France crew; Patrick Roux, Air France KLM’s SVP Americas; and Bruno Matheu, Air France KLM’s CCO & EVP Marketing, Revenue Management & Network.

  • Air France on 7 June added its 13th destination in the US and second in Florida. From its Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) hub, Air France now flies three times weekly – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – to Orlando (MCO) with 777-300ER aircraft. This is the first time that the two Disneyland cities are connected. Patrick Roux, Air France-KLM SVP Americas, commented: “Customers will now be able to discover all that Paris, the most visited city in the world, has to offer from its world-renowned gastronomic history to its cultural offerings from fashion and shopping to design. In addition, customers will benefit from easy connections at Paris-Charles de Gaulle hub to Europe, Middle East & Africa.”
  • Air Italy launched a new service between the airport serving Italy’s capital, Rome Fiumicino (FCO), and the capital of Armenia, Yerevan (EVN), on 9 June. Flights operate once a week with the airline’s 737-300 aircraft. Competition on the route comes from Armavia’s two flights a week.
Austrian Airlines to return to Baghdad

What better way for Austrian Airlines to return to Baghdad than with a retro livery A320? The airline is the first Western European network carrier to return to the Iraqi capital. Austrian’s Joint Managing Director Peter Malanik travelled on the inaugural flight from Vienna and said: “We are happy to be back in Baghdad and that we after 21 years yet again can offer our customers a regular connection between Vienna and the Iraqi capital.”

  • Austrian Airlines began operating its second Iraqi route as the Lufthansa-owned airline relaunched services between its Vienna (VIE) hub and Baghdad (BGW) on 8 June. Flights operate three times weekly with A320 aircraft. While its parent airline has shelved its plans to operate to the Iraqi capital, Austrian now again operates the route it previously served between 1982 and the break-out of the first Gulf War in 1990. This makes Austrian Airlines the first Western European network carrier to serve the Iraqi capital. The Star Alliance member also already serves Erbil in northern Iraq.
  • Azerbaijan Airlines added its second Czech route as it launched a weekly service between its Baku (GYD) base and Karlovy Vary (KLV) in the western Czech Republic. The airline already serves nearby Prague, also with a weekly flight. The new route is operated seasonally with 114-seat A319s until 18 September.
  • Belavia, the national airline of Belarus, on 10 June launched a new route between Brest (BQT) on the border to Poland and Kaliningrad (KGD), the Russian exclave located between Poland and Lithuania. Flights operate twice a week with 50-seat CRJ200 aircraft. This is Belavia’s second route to Kaliningrad, which the airline already serves from its main base in Minsk.
  • British Airways, under its BA CityFlyer name, launched two new southern European routes from London City (LCY) in the last week. On 7 June, the airline launched three weekly flights to Faro (FAO) in southern Portugal and the following day, four weekly flights were launched to Malaga (AGP) in southern Spain. Both routes are operated with 98-seat E-190SRs. The two new routes are notably served year-round, unlike the two seasonal Mediterranean routes to Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca that were launched last year and operate again this summer.

For the first time in over 10 years is Stuttgart connected with New York. Celebrating the major event by cutting the ribbon for the new service were Martin Schairer, Mayor of Stuttgart; Charles Duncan, United Airlines’ VP Sales Transatlantic; and Georg Fundel, Managing Director Stuttgart Airport. No passenger would miss the New York theme going on in the southwest German airport’s check-in area.

  • Continental Airlines launched five new routes in the last week; three international and two domestic to Hilo, HI (ITO) on Hawaii’s ‘Big Island’. Guadalajara (GDL) is the only destination already served by the airline, while the others are new to the Continental network. The two routes between California’s two biggest metropolises and Hilo are notably the first two routes outside of Hawaii at the airport since ATA Airlines’ Oakland flights between 2006 and 2008. Prior to that, the airport had not had a connection with mainland US since the early 1980s. The route to Port-au-Prince (PAP) is the only new service to face indirect competition as both American Airlines and Delta serve the Haitian capital from New York JFK, daily and five times weekly respectively; however, AeroMexico will launch flights competing with Continental’s new service between Guadalajara and San Francisco (SFO) on 5 July. Stuttgart (STR) is Continental’s fifth German destination after Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich. This is the car city’s first link with New York since Delta’s JFK services in 1998-2000.
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c
09-Jun-11 Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Hilo, HI (ITO) 7 B738
09-Jun-11 New York Newark, NJ (EWR) Port-au-Prince (PAP) 7 B738
09-Jun-11 New York Newark, NJ (EWR) Stuttgart (STR) 7 B752
09-Jun-11 San Francisco, CA (SFO) Guadalajara (GDL) 7 B738
11-Jun-11 San Francisco, CA (SFO) Hilo, HI (ITO) 1 B738
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • Delta Air Lines launched three new domestic routes on 9 June under the Delta Connection regional brand. Two of the routes face competition, while the service between Memphis, TN (MEM) and Appleton, WI (ATW) is operated for the first time and is scheduled as a seasonal service ending on 11 August. The airport director at Appleton’s Ougagamie County Regional Airport, Marty Lenss, says that the route could become a year-round service if it performs well. “The challenge is for the community to step up and support the new route.”
Operator Origin Destination WF* A/c Competition (WF*)
Comair Kansas City, MO (MCI) Boston, MA (BOS) 13 CRJ700 Frontier (12)
Pinnacle Memphis, TN (MEM) Appleton, WI (ATW) 7 CRJ200
Compass Los Angeles, CA (LAX) Kansas City, MO (MCI) 7 E175 Southwest (20), Frontier (13)
*WF: Weekly Frequency
  • Edelweiss Air, Swiss’ leisure subsidiary, on 10 June launched a new route out of Zurich (ZRH), codesharing with its Star Alliance parent. With its A320s, the airline now flies three times weekly to Beirut (BEY), the capital of Lebanon. The route was last served by Swissair, which dropped its services in 2001 and Middle East Airlines prior to that flew the route for decades until dropping it in 1999.
flydubai Hyderabad

On arrival in Hyderabad – flydubai’s second Indian destination – a press conference was held by the low-cost airline’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith and Mohammed Sultan Al Owais, UAE Ambassador to India.

  • flydubai continued its rapid network expansion on 11 June by launching its second Indian destination after Lucknow. From its Dubai (DXB) base, the low-cost airline now flies its 189-seat 737-800s three times weekly to Hyderabad (HYD) in central India. flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation for granting us the approval to operate these flights between Dubai and Hyderabad. India is a key destination for flydubai, which was set up by the Dubai government to provide a good quality, low cost alternative for the millions of expats living in the UAE.” Competition on the route comes from full-service sister airline Emirates’ three daily flights as well as each daily flights on Jet Airways and Air India.
  • Frontier Airlines expanded its Kansas City, MO (MCI) base on 7 June by launching a new service to San Antonio, TX (SAT). Flights on the 1,140-kilometre route operate five times weekly, daily except Mondays and Fridays, with 99-seat E-190s. The route was last served by Frontier’s predecessor Midwest Airlines between 1999 and 2008.

On arrival at Chicago O’Hare, Iceland Express’s CEO Matthias Imsland was surrounded by his crew Linda Ragnars, Iris Angela, Anna Kristin, John Mahon, Jeremy Britcher, Sigriður Erna and Ásta Kristin.

  • Iceland Express, the Icelandic virtual low-cost airline analysed this week, expanded its network with two new US routes and one in Europe. From its Reykjavik (KEF) base, the airline on 10 June launched two weekly flights to Edinburgh (EDI) in Scotland and one weekly flight to Chicago O’Hare (ORD). On 13 June, these were followed by the only of the three new routes to face competition; the four weekly flights launched to Boston, MA (BOS) compete with Icelandair’s four daily flights. All three new routes are operated with 218-seat 757-200s by Iceland Express’s sister company Astraeus of the UK. All three routes are seasonal, but whereas the Boston service operates until the end of the summer season – albeit only twice-weekly from September, the Edinburgh route operates until 29 August and Chicago O’Hare until 17 September.

At Brussels Airport, passengers on Jetairfly’s first flights to Tirana were welcomed with a cake, which was cut by the airline’s COO Gunther Hofman, Head of Marketing Yvonne Keuning and Brussels Airport’s Head of Aviation Marketing Leon Verhallen. Together with the captain, Hofman and Verhallen then cut the ribbon to welcome passengers onboard.

On arrival in the Albanian capital, Tirana Airport had a big delegation to welcome Jetairfly’s crew on the first of twice-weekly services from Brussels.

Jetairfly’s first flight to Kosovo’s capital Pristina

Jetairfly’s first flight to Kosovo’s capital Pristina got a double baptising; one traditional salute by the fire brigade and a more natural one from a passing rain cloud.

  • Jetairfly, the Belgian leisure airline part of TUI Travel, launched two new routes between Brussels (BRU) and South East Europe on 10 June. With its 128-seat 737-500, the airline now flies twice-weekly – on Mondays and Fridays – to both Pristina (PRN) in Kosovo and Tirana (TIA) in Albania. The flights to the Albanian capital are operated in competition with Belle Air’s three weekly flights, which were launched earlier this year, while the Pristina services will face a twice-weekly service by Adria Airways starting later this week.
  • Kingfisher Airlines relaunched two domestic Indian services in the last week. On 10 June, the airline set to join oneworld again connected Mumbai (BOM) with Kolhapur (KLH) in western India. The airline operated the route until July last year as a year-round service, but flights are now scheduled for the summer season only. Also the flights launched the following day, between Delhi (DEL) and Pantnagar (PGH) in the northern part of the country are scheduled for the summer season only. Kingfisher previously operated that route between November 2009 and January 2010. Each of the two new routes is served four times weekly with ATR aircraft.
  • RusLine launched its first route to Germany on 12 June as the Russian airline connected its Volgograd (VOG) base with Munich (MUC) in southern Germany, for the first time connecting the two cities. Flights operate once a week with 50-seat CRJ200 aircraft.
  • Ryanair in the last week launched two new Italian domestic routes from Verona (VRN) in the northern part of the country. On 8 June, the airline began operating four times a week to Bari (BRI) in the southeast of Italy and two days later, two weekly flights were launched to Pescara (PSR) on Italy’s east coast. The Bari service faces competition from Air Italy’s daily flights on the route.
  • Skyways, the Swedish regional carrier, on 7 June launched two new routes in codeshare cooperation with airBaltic. The airline adds to the growing Sweden-Lithuania market and now flies five times a week between Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) and Vilnius (VNO). The flights then continue from the Lithuanian capital to Berlin Tegel (TXL) with the same weekly frequencies. The airline operates 50-seat ERJ145 aircraft on the routes. The Stockholm service faces competition from Estonian Air’s six weekly flights.
  • SmartWings, the Czech low-cost carrier, on 11 June launched a new leisure route out of Bratislava (BTS) in neighbouring Slovakia. The airline now flies to the island of Rhodes (RHO) in Greece with frequencies as unusual as alternating between every 10 or 11 days. Flights operate with A320 aircraft.
  • Spanair, the Barcelona (BCN) based Star Alliance airline, on 7 June began serving its third Italian destination after Naples and Venice as the airline launched a weekly service to Bari (BRI) in southeast Italy. Flights operate seasonally until 20 September with A320 and A321 aircraft.
Spirit Airlines’ new route to the capital of El Salvador

Spirit Airlines’ new route to the capital of El Salvador was celebrated with a fire-truck salute.

  • Spirit Airlines, the Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) based low-cost airline, continued expanding its Latin American network. On 13 June, the airline launched three weekly flights to San Salvador (SAL), the capital of El Salvador, with its 145-seat A319s. Indirect competition at Miami comes from American Airlines’ 14 and TACA’s nine weekly flights. El Salvador’s Minister of Tourism Jose Napoleon Duarte Durán commented: “With the arrival of Spirit to El Salvador, an airline known for cheap fares, we hope to attract more international tourists to our country. This is a major achievement as it will boost El Salvador’s tourism market to the world.”
  • TAP Portugal continued its expansion and on 12 June launched four weekly flights to Porto Alegre (POA) in southern Brazil from its Lisbon (LIS) hub. The 8,775-kilometre route, which is TAP’s 10th to Brazil, is operated with 263-seat A330-200 aircraft. This is Porto Alegre’s first ever non-stop connection with Europe.
  • Turkish Airlines began serving its fifth Italian destination on 8 June as the airline launched flights between its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub and the port city of Genoa (GOA) in northwest Italy. The route, which follows the airline’s services to Rome, Milan, Venice and Bologna, is initially operated three times weekly, but increasing to four times a week already at the end of the month.
  • Ukraine International on 10 June relaunched services between Kiev Borispol (KBP) and Lviv (LWO) in the western part of the country. Having operated the route since 2000, the airline dropped the route in October last year as the airport’s runway length is restricted as extension works take place ahead of the 2012 European Football Championship. Ukraine International now returns with 12 weekly flights – twice-daily except Tuesdays when the airport is closed – aboard Fokker 50s. Competition comes from Dnieproavia’s 18 flights a week (thrice-daily except Tuesdays).
  • United Airways of Bangladesh on 9 June launched a new international route, connecting the capitals of Bangladesh and Thailand. With its newly delivered second 64-seat ATR72, the airline now flies twice a week – on Thursdays and Sundays – between Dhaka (DAC) and Bangkok (BKK). Five airlines compete on the route. Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways each fly the route daily, while Biman Bangladesh operates four, GMG Airlines three and Druk Air two flights a week.

WestJet’s Calgary route was welcomed to Orange County with a cowboy theme, giving airport visitors an idea of what Calgary has to offer. Cowboy David Cowley and his trusty steed Spencer were on site to help the WestJetters out.

  • WestJet continued building its network to Santa Ana, CA (SNA) by Disneyland in California’s Orange County, on 13 June launching a daily service from Calgary (YYC). Flights are operated with 166-seat 737-800s. Hugh Dunleavy, WestJet’s EVP Strategy and Planning, commented: “As Canada’s only airline providing non-stop service to Orange County, we’re able to offer WestJet guests quick access to Disneyland and we’re thrilled to bring guests closer to the magic of Disney.”

Other celebrations in the last week

Miami International Airport threw a big party as Lufthansa became the first airline to serve the Florida airport with the A380. Cutting the gorgeous cake with the flight crew were Jens Bischof, member of Lufthansa’s board, Sales and Revenue Management; Miami-Dade Aviation Director José Abreu; Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe A. Martinez; County Commissioners Rebeca Sosa and Javier D. Souto and Congressman David Rivera. Abreu then posed with the first A380 flight’s cabin crew.

Celebrating the new airberlin route between Düsseldorf and Rijeka

Celebrating the new airberlin route between Düsseldorf and Rijeka were captain Marc Altenscheidt; cabin crew Melanie Kraus and Adrian Rieck; first officer Felix Lauer; Airport Düsseldorf Intl.’s Director Aviation Marketing Ulrich Topp; airberlin’s Manager Mediacooperations & Events Karl Hermann Hansen; and cabin crew Dorothee Hampel.

The team at Zurich Airport celebrated the win of last week’s Route of the Week

The team at Zurich Airport celebrated the win of last week’s Route of the Week for the new Hainan Airlines service from Beijing. Featured are Nicole Hortobàgyi Brand, Manager Marketing Services; Mark Wettstein, Manager Airline Affairs; Peter Grünig, Head Aviation Marketing; Linus Ackermann, Specialist Aviation Analysis & Research; Marco Schärli, Specialist Aviation Analysis & Research; Rolf Hancock, Manager Aviation Analysis & Research, Manager Airline Affairs; Stefan Wermelinger, Deputy Head of Aviation Marketing; and Natalie Zalan, Key Account Manager Airline Affairs.

Leeds Bradford Airport’s Commercial Director Tony Hallwood was thrilled when Ryanair announced two new routes – Riga and Kaunas – to the northern English airport from November.

Leeds Bradford Airport’s Commercial Director Tony Hallwood was thrilled when Ryanair announced two new routes – Riga and Kaunas – to the northern English airport from November.

On 16 June, Ryanair welcomed its 500,000th passenger at Lille Airport. The lucky passenger, SciencesPo Lille student Anne Laure Cattelot on her way back from Porto, was greeted by Jonathan Brisy, Ryanair's Sales & Marketing Executive France & Belgium.

On 16 June, Ryanair welcomed its 500,000th passenger at Lille Airport. The lucky passenger, SciencesPo Lille student Anne Laure Cattelot on her way back from Porto, was greeted by Jonathan Brisy, Ryanair's Sales & Marketing Executive France & Belgium.


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.

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