Route of the Week:
China Eastern’s Shanghai Pudong to Hamburg
As China Eastern arrived in Hamburg in northern Germany, the ribbon held by Hamburg Airport’s Head of Aviation Marketing Jörgen Kearsley was cut by Chuanbo Shan, Chief Marketing Officer China Eastern Airlines; Hongmei Chen, PR China’s Consul General to Hamburg; Frank Horch, Hamburg’s Economy and Transport Senator; and Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO Hamburg Airport. A cake was also baked, featuring the hybrid skyline of both Hamburg and Shanghai.
After the press conference for China Eastern’s new service between Wuxi and Taipei Taoyuan, gifts were exchanged between the airline’s General Manager Jiangsu, Ma Xulun, and Wuxi City Party Secretary, Mao Xiaoping.
- China Eastern Airlines launched two new routes on 29 August; one in Asia and one in Europe. The SkyTeam airline added a new destination in Germany when it extended one weekly of its daily services between Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Frankfurt (FRA) to continue to the northern German port city of Hamburg (HAM). Flights operate with 264-seat A330-200s. Notably, this is Hamburg Airport’s first route to the Far East since LTU served Malé in the Maldives until 2001. From Wuxi (WUX), China Eastern also began flying across the Taiwan Strait to Taipei (TPE). Flights operate eight times weekly – daily, and an extra frequency on Mondays – with 158-seat A320s. Competition comes from Shenzhen Airlines’ six flights a week that launched on the same day.
Cake of the Week:
Norwegian’s Gothenburg to Rome Fiumicino
A boot-shaped cake was offered to the passengers on Norwegian’s first flight from Gothenburg to the Italian capital Rome. Joel Persson (age 10) got to cut the ribbon with Norwegian’s captain Peter Henriksson.
- Norwegian continued rearranging its Gothenburg Landvetter (GOT) network based on seasonal demand. Following last week’s launch of Barcelona flights, the low-cost airline now flies twice-weekly – on Thursdays and Sundays – from the city on Sweden’s west coast to Rome Fiumicino (FCO). The flights that launched on 25 August are operated using the airline’s 186-seat 737-800s. The last time this route was operated was last summer season when City Airline served the airport pair, however, indirect competition to Norwegian’s new operation currently comes from Ryanair’s three weekly flights between Gothenburg City and Rome Ciampino.
The rest of this week’s new routes
Air China’s first flight taking off for Tokyo Narita from Wuhan with 112 passengers called for major celebrations. Representatives of the airline, airport and the local government got the honour of touching the launch ball before the local airport staff got to try as well. Several TV crews were on site to cover the festivities.
- Air China launched a new international route from Wuhan (WUH) in eastern China on 27 August. The Chinese national airline now flies twice-weekly to Tokyo Narita (NRT) where it connects with Star Alliance partner ANA. Flights are operated with A320 aircraft. Wuhan is the fifth Chinese airport to have a non-stop route to Tokyo Narita on Air China after Shanghai Pudong, Beijing, Dalian and Chengdu.
A picture was taken of bmi’s A320 arriving at Nice Côte d’Azur Airport from London Heathrow on 25 August.
- bmi began operating its second route to France on 25 August, following the airline’s services between Manchester and Lyon. The Lufthansa-owned Star Alliance member now flies daily between London Heathrow (LHR) and Nice (NCE) on the French Mediterranean coast. At the start of the winter season, on 30 October, frequencies double to twice-daily. Flights are operated with A320 aircraft and compete directly with British Airways’ 51 weekly flights. For a detailed analysis of the market between the UK and Nice, see this week’s route analysis.
- Egyptair, which is increasing its presence in its Egyptian home market, this week returned to Iraq, the country market analysed this week. On 27 August, the Star Alliance airline began serving the Iraqi capital Baghdad (BGW) with four weekly flights, operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Egyptair last operated this route over 20 years ago and competition now comes from Iraqi Airways’ also four weekly flights. Two days later, the airline launched three weekly flights to Erbil (EBL) in Iraqi Kurdistan in the north of the country, operating on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. 145-seat A320s are used on both routes. Egyptair’s chairman and CEO Captain Ayman Nasr commented: “Egyptair took the decision to operate this route in the light of the company’s regional expansion strategy and to restore the investments and tourism traffic between the two countries to the normal levels through Cairo hub.” The first flight from Cairo to Baghdad transported 34 passengers and the return flight carried 74 passengers.
- flydubai continued expanding its network between Dubai (DXB) and India, launching flights to its third Indian destination on 27 August. The airline now flies once a week to Ahmedabad (AMD) in Gujarat in western India. Competition comes from the low-cost airline’s parent Emirates, which operates the route 10 times weekly. Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, said: “The growing Indian expatriate population in the UAE and the increasing reliance our two nations have on each other for our economic growth and development, makes the introduction of quality, affordable direct flights between the UAE and India’s numerous secondary airports very important.
- Precision Air, the Tanzanian airline, continues expanding its network. On 24 August, the airline began operating the new landmark route between Dar Es Salaam (DAR) and Johannesburg (JNB) in South Africa. Flights are initially operated four times weekly, but frequencies increase to five weekly flights on 13 October. The route is operated with a newly delivered 111-seat 737-300 aircraft and competes with South African Airways’ 10 flights a week.
- RusLine continued expanding its European network on 26 August, launching flights between its Moscow Domodedovo (DME) base and Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana (LJU). Flights are operated twice-weekly, on Mondays and Fridays, with 50-seat CRJ200s, indirectly competing with Adria Airways’ nine flights a week to Moscow Sheremetyevo. The last time an airline competed with Adria between the two cities was 1993-2003 when Aeroflot also served Slovenia.
Celebrating the new air services between Wuxi and Taipei were TransAsia’s General Manager Chen Jia, Shenzhen Airlines’ President Feng Gang, Jiangsu Province Vice Governor Shi Heping, Wuxi City Party Secretary Mao Xiaoping, China Eastern’s General Manager Ma Xulun, China Airlines’ General Manager Sun Hongxiang, and the representative of Wuxi City Council Zhu Kejiang. The Shenzhen Airlines crew were given flowers ahead of the inaugural flight across the Taiwan Strait.
- Shenzhen Airlines launched six weekly flights between Wuxi (WUX) in eastern Mainland China and Taipei (TPE) in Taiwan on 29 August, using 737-800 aircraft. The future Star Alliance member will codeshare with TransAsia on the route that competes with China Eastern’s daily flights launched on the same day.
The ribbon for United’s new service to Oklahoma City from San Francisco was cut by John Aynes, Managing Director United Express Operations, and Mark Kranenburg, Oklahoma City Airports Director, who were helped by the United crew. After speeches by both executives, passengers boarded the inaugural flight on United’s fifth route from Oklahoma City.
- United Airlines launched a new route under its United Express brand on 29 August when it began operating between San Francisco, CA (SFO) and Oklahoma City, OK (OKC) – the airport analysed this week. This is United’s fifh route to the Oklahoma airport after Denver, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Dulles and Los Angeles. The new services are operated daily with SkyWest’s 66-seat CRJ700s. The last time San Francisco and Oklahoma City were connected with a non-stop air service was in 1982-1983, when both United and Air North American served the route.
Other celebrations in the last week
When China Southern launched a new cargo route Shanghai-Los Angeles-Vancouver-Shanghai, there were grand celebrations in the Canadian city – including a cake! The dedicated freighter route is operated four times weekly with B777-200F aircraft.