New airline routes (18 – 24 October 2011)
Route of the Week:
Vladivostok Air’s Vladivostok-Hong Kong-Singapore
- Vladivostok Air added two new Asian destinations to its network on 21 October when the Russian airline began flying from its base in Vladivostok (VVO) on the Russian Pacific Ocean coast to Hong Kong (HKG), continuing to Singapore (SIN). Flights operate twice-weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays, with A320 aircraft. Although the route currently faces no competition, S7 has announced a route of one to two flights a week to start next week between Vladivostok and Hong Kong. Yam Kum Weng, Changi Airport Group’s EVP air hub development, said: “With the introduction of world-class tourism offerings in Singapore, we are seeing more Russian visitors twinning Singapore with another Southeast Asian destination to create fun-filled ‘city-plus-beach’ holiday experiences. With its extensive network and flight options to Southeast Asia, Changi Airport is a convenient gateway for Russian travellers to reach many renowned resort destinations such as Bintan, Bali and Phuket. Vladivostok Air’s entry into the Singapore market is therefore timely to serve the growing demand of Russian travellers wanting to explore Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia. We look forward to working closely with the airline to sustain and grow this important link between Russia and Singapore.” anna.aero was also told first-hand by Changi Airport Group’s SVP market development Lim Ching Kiat how Russia is a key growth opportunity for Singapore Changi Airport at World Routes in Berlin earlier this month. Notably, Transaero has since announced the resumption of its Moscow route from January.
Cake of the Week:
Cork Airport’s 50th anniversary
The rest of this week’s new routes
- AeroSvit launched flights to its second destination in South Asia after Delhi on 22 October when the Ukrainian airline connected its Kiev Borispol (KBP) hub with Colombo (CMB), the capital of Sri Lanka. Flights operate three times weekly with 231-seat 767-300ER aircraft. Between last December and May this year, the airline’s local competitor Ukraine International operated the route as a one-stop service via Abu Dhabi, but AeroSvit currently faces no competition on the route. The first flight reportedly carried 214 passengers and crew. Except for leisure traffic flows, there is business traffic demand from the metal industries.
- Air France launched its second route to Mexico after Paris-Mexico City on 21 October when the French national carrier connected its Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) hub with Cancun (CUN) on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Flights operate three times weekly, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with 472-seat 777-300 aircraft. Competition comes from XL Airways France’s twice-weekly flights. This is the third European service to launch to Cancun in the last year, after British Airways’ route from London Gatwick and Transaero’s service from Moscow Domodedovo, both of which launched last November.
- AirAsia X, the Malaysian long-haul partner to the low-cost carrier AirAsia, moved London airports on 24 October. The airline’s route from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) now serves London Gatwick (LGW), having moved from Stansted. The five weekly flights are operated with 327-seat A340-300 aircraft. The airline first launched London services in March 2009. For an in-depth analysis of the route, see this week’s Take-Offs & Landings analysis.
- Airphil Express, the Philippine low-cost airline analysed this week, launched two new domestic routes from Manila (MNL) to the south of the country on 20 October. Both the route to Cotabato City (CBO) and General Santos City (GES) are operated daily with A320 aircraft. Both routes also face competition from Cebu Pacific, which operates daily to Cotabato and 15 times weekly to General Santos, and Airphil Express’ parent Philippine Airlines, which flies five times weekly to Cotabato and daily to General Santos.
- Allegiant Air continued expanding its network by adding its third route to Duluth, MN (DLH) on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, by Lake Superior, on 21 October. Complementing the airline’s routes from Orlando and Las Vegas to the city, the US low-cost carrier now also flies twice-weekly from Phoenix Mesa, AZ (AZA). Brian Ryks, Duluth Airport Authority’s executive director, commented: “Allegiant’s low-cost direct service to the Phoenix-Mesa market is a wonderful addition for our region’s travellers from Northeastern Minnesota, Northwestern Wisconsin and even Canada. Since Phoenix-Mesa is the third-top travel destination from Duluth International Airport, we look forward to expanding our partnership on this route with Allegiant.”
- bmibaby relaunched its second route to Prague (PRG) on 21 October when the low-cost airline began operating from Birmingham (BHX). The year-round route complements the airline’s winter service from East Midlands. The airline previously operated the route from Birmingham until March this year. Flights are initially operated three times weekly, but frequencies quickly increase to four times a week at the start of the winter season and go up to five weekly flights in December.
- Monarch, the British leisure carrier, added its second route to Barcelona (BCN) on 21 October. Complementing the airline’s daily flights from Manchester, it now flies from its London Gatwick (LGW) base to the Spanish city. Initially operating daily, frequencies on the new route increase to 11 times weekly from the start of the winter scheduling season. Competition on the route comes from easyJet’s five daily flights; however, easyJet has announced a sixth daily flight on the route from 6 January. For more information about the London to Barcelona market, see this week’s route analysis.
- Transaero expanded its Russian domestic network on 19 October when the airline connected its Moscow Domodedovo (DME) hub with Mineralnye Vody (MRV) in the south of the country. Flights operate daily with 101-seat 737-500 aircraft, competing directly with local carrier Kavminvodyavia’s 10 flights a week and S7’s also daily service. Further indirect competition is available at other Moscow airports. At Vnukovo, Kavminvodyavia offers an additional 14 flights a week, alongside UTair’s also twice-daily flights and a daily service on Kuban Airlines. At Sheremetyevo, Aeroflot competes with 13 weekly flights and Donavia with 12 flights a week.
- Virgin Australia continued expanding its regional network out of Brisbane (BNE) with its newly delivered 68-seat ATR72 aircraft. On 19 October, the Skywest-operated aircraft began serving Port Macquarie (PQQ), 450 kilometres down the coast, with a daily flight. This is the first time the two airports are connected since Sunshine Express ceased scheduled operations in 2006. Notably, the new route means that northbound Port Macquarie passengers no longer need to travel south and transfer in Sydney.