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New airline routes (25 – 31 October)

Download the new routes launched database (25-31 October 2011)

Route of the Week: Skymark’s first routes from
Tokyo Narita


The Japanese low-cost airline Skymark now flies to Asahikawa and Sapporo Chitose from Tokyo Narita, complementing its Tokyo Haneda services. This marks Skymark’s first operations at Narita, which increasingly is attracting low-cost airline traffic.

  • Skymark Airlines, the Japanese low-cost carrier, launched its first routes out of Tokyo Narita (NRT) on 30 October when the airline began operating two new domestic routes with its 177-seat 737-800s. The airline, which also has a base at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, now flies each twice-daily to Asahikawa (AKJ) and Sapporo Chitose (CTS) from Narita. The former route is uncontested, but the latter route competes with both Japan Airlines’ 21 flights a week and ANA’s also 14 weekly flights. Skymark already serves both destinations from its Tokyo Haneda base.

Cake of the Week

Europe decides: vote for your Cake of the Week!

The rest of this week’s new routes


  • Aer Lingus has launched a new weekly (Sunday) scheduled service between Cork (ORK) and Gran Canaria (LPA) in the Canary Islands. Departing at 07:00 from Cork, the service is currently available until 29 April 2012. The airline has also re-introduced winter flights to Barcelona and Rome, thus increasing the number of destinations served by Aer Lingus non-stop from Cork this winter to 17. Including seasonal routes the Irish flag-carrier now serves 24 destinations from Cork, including eight destinations in the UK, most of which are operated on its behalf by AerArann under the Aer Lingus Regional brand. During this year’s summer months (May to September) passenger numbers at Cork airport have been up 0.6%.

Aeroflot relaunches route to Ho Chi Minh City from Moscow

Aeroflot’s 767-300ER named ‘F. Dostoewsky’ preparing for the first flight to Ho Chi Minh City from the Russian flag carrier’s Moscow Sheremetyevo hub.

On arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, Aeroflot’s crew was welcomed with flowers. The Russian flag carrier now flies from its Moscow Sheremetyevo hub to the southern Vietnamese city twice-weekly.

  • Aeroflot resumed services to Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) on 30 October, making it the second Vietnamese route the Russian SkyTeam airline operates from its Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) hub after flights to Hanoi. Flights on the new route are operated twice-weekly with 218-seat 767-300ER aircraft. The last time Aeroflot operated the route, which connects with the second of its alliance partner Vietnam Airlines’ hubs, was in 2003. Indirect competition comes from Vietnam Airlines, which notably serves Moscow Domodedovo four times weekly. Last winter, the route was also served by Transaero.

  • Air Arabia this week launched twice-weekly services from its Sharjah (SHJ) base to Koltsovo Airport (SVX) serving the Russian city of Ekaterinburg. This follows the introduction of flights from Sharjah to Moscow’s Domodedovo airport in mid-October. Ekaterinburg is Russia’s fourth-biggest city and the airport (Russia’s fifth busiest) handled 2.7 million passengers last year, and has been growing at around 20% during the first half of 2011. Last October, fellow Middle Eastern LCC flydubai also started serving Ekaterinburg twice-weekly from its Dubai hub. In August, Air Arabia celebrated carrying its 20 millionth passenger, less than eight years after starting operations. In early October, the airline took delivery of its fourth new Airbus A320 of 2011, bringing to 29 the number of aircraft operated across the airline’s three bases in Egypt, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

  • Air China launched a new route from Chengdu (CTU) in southwest China to Yiwu (YIW) in the east of the country on 30 October. Flights operate four times weekly with 128-seat 737-300s. Other than a few flights operated by the airline last year, this is the first time a route is operated between the two airports.

Kapiti Coast Airport’s owner Sir Noel Robinson was delighted to step off the inaugural flight from Auckland to his airport. Following him down the steps was Kapiti mayor Jenny Rowan. Air New Zealand’s 18 weekly flights are operated by Air Nelson with 50-seat Q300s. (Many thanks to Murray Short,  mjanda images , for the great photos!)

  • Air New Zealand relaunched domestic services from Auckland (AKL) to Paraparaumu (PPQ) on North Island’s Kapiti Coast. Flights on the 430-kilometre route operate 18 times weekly with 50-seat Q300 aircraft belonging to Air Nelson. The route was last operated by Air New Zealand 1994-1995 and thereafter by Associated Airlines 1995-1998. Air Nelson General Manager Grant Kerr commented: “We expect the daily service to see strong interest from both business and leisure travellers throughout the Kapiti district. The new service is also likely to benefit many Wellington-based travellers who may find it easier to go to Paraparaumu rather than travel through the city to Wellington Airport.”

Allegiant Air links Palm Springs and Stockton; first intra-Californian route for niche LCC

The ribbon was cut in Stockton, California for Allegiant Air’s second route to the airport. The ultra low-cost airline now flies twice a week from Palm Springs in the south of the Golden State.

  • Allegiant Air has launched its first intra-Californian service between Stockton (SCK) and Palm Springs (PSP) with flights operating twice weekly on Monday and Friday using the airline’s 150-seat MD80s. Back in August when the route was announced, Allegiant’s president Andrew Levy said: “We’re pleased to bring yet another affordable and convenient way for our customers to get away. In 2006, we began serving San Joaquin Valley residents by offering nonstop flights to Las Vegas. We look forward to offering even more low-cost service to the community with our new flights to Palm Springs.” This is Allegiant Air’s second route from both airports. It already serves Las Vegas from Stockton, and Bellingham from Palm Springs. At present, Allegiant is the only airline serving Stockton, while Palm Springs welcomes over 200 flights per week from Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, United, US Airways and even international services from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver operated by WestJet. Before the end of the year, Palm Springs will also welcome new services from new-to-the-airport Frontier (to Denver in mid-November) and Virgin America (to San Francisco in mid-December). In addition, United/Continental start Houston flights next week, while WestJet introduces a fourth Canadian destination (Winnipeg) from mid-December. Last year, Palm Springs International Airport saw passenger numbers rise by 2% to 1.5 million. In the first nine months of 2011, demand is down 2.6% to 1.1 million.

  • ANA launched two new routes on 30 October; one domestic and one international. From Matsuyama (MYJ) on Shikoku island, the Star Alliance airline now flies daily to Okinawa (OKA) with 737-500 aircraft. Flights operate seasonally during the winter scheduling season. All Nippon Airways also launched its fourth route to Hong Kong (HKG) after flights from Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda and Osaka Kansai. It now operates daily from Nagoya Chubu (NGO) with 737-700s.

  • blu-express Roma-Skopje adblu-express, the Italian LCC owned by Blue Panorama Airlines, has started twice-weekly flights from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Skopje (SKP) in Macedonia. Flights operate Thursday and Sunday and depart Rome at 11:00. Competition will soon be provided by Belle Air Europe which plans to start twice-weekly services of its own from 15 December, also operating on Thursdays and Sundays, departing Rome at 17:20. Skopje’s “Alexander the Great” Airport has attracted a number of new services this year including; airberlin from Düsseldorf and Zurich; Belle Air Europe from Ancona and Venice; Pegasus Airlines from Istanbul and Izmir; and Wizz Air launching flights to London Luton and Venice Treviso. Last year the airport handled around 600,000 passengers.

  • Blue Islands, the regional airline based in the Channel Islands, launched a new route from Jersey (JER) to Manchester (MAN) the north of England on 31 October. The daily flights are operated with ATR42 aircraft and compete with Flybe’s also daily flights. Andrew Harrison, Manchester Airport’s Managing Director, said: “Blue Islands is new to Manchester and I’m very pleased that they have chosen to operate services from here, once again demonstrating the attractiveness of Manchester to airlines. The Channel Islands are very popular destinations and we know that our passengers will be pleased that these remain part of our network. Blue Islands brings a ‘welcome differences’ of no baggage or card charges which will make a real impact. I’m sure that this service will be very successful and I look forward to working with Blue Islands.”

  • Blue1, the Finnish member of SAS Group, launched a new service to its parent’s main hub at Copenhagen (CPH) from Tampere (TMP) in southern Finland. The Star Alliance member’s flights are operated 11 times weekly with ATR72 aircraft by Golden Air. The route was last operated by SAS until 2009.

  • bmi British Midland International further expanded its network to Morocco on 29 October. The Star Alliance member now flies from London Heathrow (LHR) to Agadir (AGA) twice-weekly with A320s. At the beginning of this year’s summer season, the airline launched flights to both Marrakech and Casablanca in Morocco. Indirect competition for the new route comes from easyJet’s and Thomson’s each also twice-weekly flights at London Gatwick.

The cake welcoming bmi regional’s East Midlands route to Frankfurt was cut by Martin Bien, Fraport’s Executive Senior VP, traffic & terminal management, airport expansion division; Gareth Jones, bmi regional’s flight supervisor for the inaugural flight; and Steven Griffiths, bmi regional’s finance & business development director, who were joined for the event by Lufthansa gate staff and Paul Alcock, bmi regional’s director of operations. Bien and Alcock then cut the ribbon. (Photos: Stefan Rebscher, Fraport)

  • bmi regional, the subsidiary of Lufthansa-owned British Star Alliance member bmi, launched a new route to feed its parent’s main hub at Frankfurt (FRA) on 31 October. Flights from East Midlands (EMA) are scheduled to operate 16 times weekly with 49-seat ERJ145 aircraft. bmi has, however, made official that it is looking to sell the regional subsidiary, making the new route’s future uncertain. Last time the route was operated was 2002, also then by bmi.

The first passenger on bmibaby’s new route to George Best Belfast City Airport from Amsterdam

The first passenger on bmibaby’s new route, Ingrid Haye (second from left), arrived at George Best Belfast City Airport from Amsterdam to be greeted with a Belleek Pottery vase and tulips by Simon Moore, bmibaby’s network planning manager; Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland minister for enterprise, trade and investment; and Katy Best, Belfast City Airport’s commercial and marketing director.

  • bmibaby this week began direct flights from its newest base at Belfast City (BHD) airport to Amsterdam (AMS). Flights operate daily (except Saturday) and will compete indirectly with easyJet’s 10 weekly flights from Belfast International to Amsterdam. bmibaby began operations at Belfast City on 1 January 2011 with domestic flights to Birmingham, Cardiff, East Midlands and Manchester. London Stansted flights followed at the end of March. Now Amsterdam becomes the first international route for the airline at the airport followed in December by Geneva, and then next summer by Alicante, Faro, Ibiza, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca. The start of the winter season marks the end of the carrier’s operations in both Cardiff and Manchester, leaving Birmingham, East Midlands and Belfast City as the airline’s main bases. With expansion taking place at all three bases next summer bmibaby’s on-sale network now comprises 37 cities in 13 countries across Europe, including Croatia (Dubrovnik), Greece (Corfu) and Malta.

  • British Airways moved its Mauritius (MRU) service from London Heathrow to London Gatwick (LGW) as the winter scheduling season started. From 31 October, the airline operates its three weekly flights with Gatwick-based 777-200ER aircraft.

In Taipei, China Airlines held its own ceremony with a tropical theme suitable for Hainan, while in Haikou on Hainan Island, a joint ceremony was held for China Airlines and EVA Air that both launched the same route on the same day. Seen at the launch ceremony are Dong Zhang-Bin, president Hainan Meilan International Airport; Zhou Gong-Min, director Coast Defence and Port Office of Hainan Province; Sun Hong-Xiang, president China Airlines; Lu Zhi-Yuan, assistant to governor of Hainan Province; Zheng Guan-Yuan, chairman EVA Airways; and Qu Jian-Min, deputy secretary of Hainan Province government.

Thumbs up for Taichung-Chongqing: China Airlines’ second route to Chongqing in Mainland China after flights from Kaohsiung is operated by subsidiary Mandarin Airlines.

  • China Airlines launched two routes across the Taiwan Strait on 31 October. From Taiwan’s third-largest city Taichung (RMQ), the airline now flies twice-weekly to Chongqing (CKG) in southwest Mainland China with 104-seat E-190 aircraft operated by its subsidiary Mandarin Airlines. The same day, China Airlines began flying from the main airport serving Taiwan’s capital, Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) – a new airport in The Route Shop this week, to Haikou (HAK) on the island of Hainan. The three weekly flights compete with EVA Air’s twice-weekly flights launched the same day as well as two flights a week on Hainan Airlines.

  • China West Airlines flies from Chongqing (CKG) via Guilin (KWL) to Fuzhou (FOC) as of 30 October. The daily flights are operated with A319 and A320 aircraft. Between Chongqing and Guilin, competition comes from China Southern’s and Xiamen Airlines’ each daily flights, while Xiamen competes with four weekly flights between Guilin and Fuzhou.

  • Cimber Sterling, the Danish airline now under Ukrainian part-ownership, has taken over a route from its sister airline Aerosvit on 31 October. As a result of dropping services to Amsterdam and Sofia, Cimber Sterling frees up capacity and now flies 10 times weekly from Copenhagen (CPH) to Kiev Borispol (KBP) with 737-700 aircraft, feeding Aerosvit’s onward network.

  • Direktflyg, the Swedish regional airline, took over operations on a Public Service Obligation (PSO) route within northern Sweden on 31 October. Flights between Östersund (OSD) and Umeå (UME), which previously were operated by NextJet, are now served 10 times weekly with 19-seat Jetstream 32 aircraft. The flights then continue to Luleå (LLA).

  • Donavia, the Aeroflot subsidiary, launched five new routes on 30 October; two domestic and three international. The airline now flies daily to St Petersburg (LED) from both Adler/Sochi (AER) and Mineralnye Vody (MRV) in the south of the country. From Sochi, competition comes from sister airline Rossiya’s also daily flights as well as UTair’s four flights a week, while the same two airlines compete with each daily flights on the Mineralnye Vody route. The latter airport, located in North Caucasus, also got three international connections on the same day. Three weekly flights were launched to Baku (GYD), competing with Azerbaijan Airlines’ flights with the same frequency. The twice-weekly flights to Tashkent (TAS) compete with Uzbekistan Airlines’ weekly service. Services to Yerevan (EVN) are operated twice-weekly and compete with UTair’s three flights a week and a twice-weekly service on Armavia.

easyJet’s 15th route out of Glasgow, to Amsterdam, was launched with a cake. Hugh Aitken, easyJet’s commercial manager for Scotland, celebrated the new service with Amanda McMillan, Glasgow Airport’s managing director.

easyJet cabin crew Santana Duffy (in Manchester United red) and Cherylann Wilson (in Manchester City blue) celebrated the new Manchester route from Belfast International with captain Damian Doran. (Photos: Bill Smyth)

  • easyJet’s new winter schedule includes two all-new routes, a route resumption after six years and a change of airport for two other routes. The all-new routes are between Geneva (GVA) and Bilbao (BIO), which operates three times weekly, and between Manchester (MAN) and Belfast International (BFS), which operates twice daily. Neither of these routes is currently operated by another carrier. After a gap of six years, easyJet is also re-launching daily flights between Glasgow (GLA) and Amsterdam (AMS), a route it served between August 2001 and the summer of 2005. Finally, the carrier is shifting its Lyon (LYS) and Paris Orly (ORY) flights from Rome Ciampino to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) with the start of the winter schedule. This marks the end of the carrier’s services at Rome’s smaller airport. This winter sees easyJet operating to 18 destinations from Rome Fiumicino and with the addition of Corfu next summer, the airline will serve 26 destinations in total from Italy’s busiest airport.

As EVA Air of Taiwan arrived in Haikou on the tropical island of Hainan from its Taipei base, a joint ceremony was held with China Airlines that also launched the same route on the same day. Seen at the launch ceremony are Dong Zhang-Bin, president Hainan Meilan International Airport; Zhou Gong-Min, director Coast Defence and Port Office of Hainan Province; Sun Hong-Xiang, president China Airlines; Lu Zhi-Yuan, assistant to governor of Hainan Province; Zheng Guan-Yuan, chairman EVA Airways; and Qu Jian-Min, deputy secretary of Hainan Province government.

  • EVA Air launched three new routes in the last week out of its hub at Taipei Taoyuan (TPE); one intercontinental and two across the Taiwan Strait. On 31 October, the Taiwanese airline changed New York airports from Newark, NJ to New York JFK, NY (JFK). The same day, the airline – alongside China Airlines – launched a service to Haikou (HAK) on Hainan Island. The two weekly flights on MD90s compete with China Airlines’ three weekly operations as well as Hainan Airlines’ twice-weekly service. On 30 October, EVA Air also began flying to Jinan (TNA) in Mainland China. The four weekly MD90 operations compete with Shandong Airlines’ also four flights a week.

  • Firefly, Malaysia Airlines’ full service subsidiary, on 30 October resumed its domestic service between Kuala Lumpur Subang (SZB) and Kuantan (KUA). Flights operate twice-daily with ATR72 aircraft. Following operations by Malaysia Airlines between 1998 and 2002, and Pelangi Air between 1998 and 2000, the 200-kilometre route connecting Malaysia’s west and east coast was again dropped in 2009 by Firefly after one year of operations.

Flybe Nordic was welcomed to Trondheim in Norway on its inaugural flight from the Finnish capital Helsinki. Of course, a cake was on offer to the first passengers and dignitaries.

Yes, it is Sir Alex Ferguson (right), Manchester United’s manager, who welcomed the first passenger on Flybe’s Manchester-Knock route, Harold Sampson, with a bottle of champagne. Celebrating the new four weekly flights in the background were Laura Jurgens Flybe’s sales manager north England; Andrew Harrison, MD Manchester Airport; Tim McDermott, Manchester Airport’s operations director; Joe Gilmore, MD Ireland West Airport Knock; Andrea Hayes, Flybe’s GM market development; and Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain.

Yes, it is Sir Alex Ferguson (right), Manchester United’s manager, who welcomed the first passenger on Flybe’s Manchester-Knock route, Harold Sampson, with a bottle of champagne. Celebrating the new four weekly flights in the background were Laura Jurgens Flybe’s sales manager north England; Andrew Harrison, MD Manchester Airport; Tim McDermott, Manchester Airport’s operations director; Joe Gilmore, MD Ireland West Airport Knock; Andrea Hayes, Flybe’s GM market development; and Vanessa Markey, Tourism Ireland’s head of Great Britain.

The launch of Flybe Nordic’s routes, which are operated out of Helsinki and Tallinn, were celebrated with signs showing all the destinations. When the airline arrived in Mariehamn on the Åland Islands from the country capital Helsinki, it was a bit dark, but the crew still dutifully posed for the camera.

  • Flybe entered an exciting new phase of its history this week with the start of Flybe operations in Finland, Scandinavia and the Baltic countries. This follows the joint acquisition (with Finnair) of Finnish Commuter Airlines (Finncomm) announced in July. For a more detailed analysis of the new operation, see this week’s Flybe Nordic airline profile. By mid-February, Flybe’s Nordic network will comprise 25 routes (operated by ATR turboprops) of which 15 were previously operated by Finncomm. Of the 10 new routes started by Flybe, three (all from Tallinn) start in mid-November leaving seven new routes which started this week. These routes, five from Helsinki (HEL) and two from Tallinn (TLL), are summarised in the following table along with the airline’s two new routes from Manchester (MAN) in the UK to Knock (NOC) in Ireland and Newquay (NQY), both of which operate four times weekly with Q400s.
Launch From To WF
30 October Helsinki (HEL) Jyvaskyla (JYV) 17
30 October Helsinki (HEL) Mariehamn (MHQ) 12
30 October Helsinki (HEL) Tartu (TAY) 6
30 October Helsinki (HEL) Trondheim (TRD) 4
30 October Helsinki (HEL) Umea (UME) 4
30 October Tallinn (TLL) Stockholm Bromma (BMA) 17
30 October Tallinn (TLL) Tampere (TMP) 17
31 October Manchester (MAN) Knock (NOC) 4
30 October Manchester (MAN) Newquay (NQY) 4
Source: Flybe
WF: Weekly Frequency

  • Fuji Dream Airlines now flies domestically between the Japanese cities of Fukuoka (FUK) on the north coast of the island of Kyushu, and Niigata (KIJ) on the northwest shore of Honshu, Japan’s largest island. Launched on 30 October, the airline’s second new route this year is operated daily with the airline’s fleet of Embraer E-jets, competing with All Nippon Airways’ also daily flights. Whereas the 900-kilometre service is the first one operated by Fuji Dream Airlines to Niigata, the Japanese carrier already flies to Masumoto and Shizuoka from Fukuoka.

  • Iberia expanded its international network from Madrid (MAD). On 25 October, the Spanish airline launched its new twice weekly service to Luanda (LAD), the capital of Angola, which is operated with 254-seat A340-300 aircraft. This is the airline’s 12th African destination. Iberia expects nearly 70% of passengers on the new route to transfer to and from other services in Madrid. On 30 October, its regional franchisee Air Nostrum commenced a new daily route to Manchester (MAN). Notably, the route is the first new route launched to be operated with the airline’s 100-seat CRJ1000 aircraft. Competition on the route comes from Ryanair’s four and easyJet’s three weekly services.

  • IndiGo has begun daily flights between its Delhi (DEL) base and Kathmandu (KTM) in Nepal. Speaking on the achievement, Aditya Ghosh, President IndiGo, said, “Kathmandu is a key market for us and holds a lot of promise. IndiGo will continue to keep its promise of providing low fares on the New Delhi-Kathmandu-New Delhi routes as well. We hope to provide the much needed avenue for countless Indians to explore wider horizons and at the same time open up the doors to more and more overseas travellers to experience India.” Since being permitted to operate international services (after celebrating five years of domestic operations back in early August) the airline has launched routes to Bangkok (from Delhi and Mumbai), Dubai (from Delhi and Mumbai), Muscat (from just Mumbai), and Singapore (from Delhi and Mumbai). Kathmandu thus becomes the airline’s fifth international destination and the route will be the airline’s eighth international service. The Delhi – Kathmandu market is keenly contested with a total of ten daily flights shared between Air India (two), Jet Airways (two), Spicejet (two) and one each for IndiGo, Jet Lite, Kingfisher and Nepal Airlines. Meanwhile in the Indian domestic market, the most recent statistics from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for August show that IndiGo had an 18.7% share, up from 16.4% in the same month a year earlier.

  • Jet Airways has joined Air Arabia (14 weekly flights), Air India (daily flights) and Air India Express (four flights per week) in launching flights between Thiruvananthapuram (TRV), also known as Trivandrum, and Sharjah (SHJ) in the United Arab Emirates. Jet Airways will operate the route on a daily basis using 737-800s. Trivandrum International Airport is the gateway to the state of Kerala in India, and is India’s southernmost airport. In the year to March 2011, the airport handled 2.53 million passengers (making it the 11th busiest in India) of which 1.84 million (73%) were on international services, primarily to destinations in the Middle East, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. This Sharjah service is Jet Airways’ sixth route from the airport after domestic flights to Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai, and international flights to Dammam in Saudi Arabia and Muscat in Oman. For Sharjah International Airport, this is Jet Airways’ second route, as it has been operating daily flights from Kochi since 1 September 2009.

Cutting the cake for Jetairfly’s new route from Brussels to Phuket and Bangkok were Pieter Weymans, GM Kuoni Travel Belgium; Gunther Batsleer, Jetair’s product manager flight holidays; and Léon Verhallen, Brussels Airport’s head of aviation marketing. Batsleer and Verhallen were then joined by the captain, André Berger, who also is Jetairfly’s director flight operations, in cutting the ribbon for the first flight

  • Jetairfly, Belgian TUI airline, launched a new long-haul route to Thailand with its 257-seat 767-300ER aircraft out of Brussels (BRU) on 29 October. Once a week, the airline now flies via the resort island of Phuket (HKT) to the country capital Bangkok (BKK). While the operation is a scheduled service, the main tour operators on the flight are Jetair/TUI and Kuoni/Best Tours. Flights between Brussels and Phuket were last operated by XL Airways France until April this year. While the new route currently faces no competition, Thai Airways will launch three weekly flights between Bangkok and Brussels in two weeks’ time. The last time Bangkok was connected with Brussels was in 1998, when it was served by Sabena.

Latin American expansion: On 31 October, KLM was welcomed to both the capitals of Cuba and Argentina as the Dutch airline now serves Havana and Buenos Aires from Amsterdam.

As KLM launched flights to EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, the airline’s retro DC3 landed at the airport to promote the new route.

  • KLM launched three international routes from its hub Amsterdam (AMS) in the last week. On 30 October, the Dutch flag carrier opened a new service to Basel (BSL) at the borderlands of Switzerland, France and Germany. The route is to be operated 14 times weekly with 80-seat F70 aircraft operated by KLM Cityhopper. It is the only one of the three new services facing competition with easyJet operating the same route 10 times weekly. The SkyTeam member on the following day also launched flights to Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires (EZE) with 318-seat 777-200ERs. The three weekly flights reinstate KLM’s services on the route, which the airline last operated in March 2001. Replacing KLM’s now all-cargo subsidiary Martinair, KLM’s third new route is to Havana (HAV), Cuba, which is served three times weekly with 285-seat MD11 aircraft.

Cutting the ribbon for Lufthansa’s new route from Frankfurt to Rio de Janeiro along with the first flight’s crew were Fraport’s CEO Dr Stefan Schulte; Everton Vargas, Brazilian Ambassador to Germany; and Kay Kratky, member of the Lufthansa board. The gentlemen were then joined by samba dancers and Brazilian drummers.

  • Lufthansa is taking advantage of the new fourth runway at Frankfurt (FRA) by starting new routes to Aberdeen (ABZ) in Scotland three times daily, and to its third London airport after London Heathrow and London City, London Gatwick (LGW), which the German flag carrier now serves twice daily. This brings to seven the number of UK airports that Lufthansa serves from Frankfurt – still well behind KLM’s 14 UK routes from Amsterdam. A third new destination for Lufthansa this winter is Rio de Janeiro (GIG) in Brazil. There will be five weekly flights from Frankfurt on A340-300s to the city that will host the Olympics in 2016 and be one of the venues for matches in the 2014 World Cup. In addition, Lufthansa has taken over Austrian’s four times daily service to Salzburg (SZG), although flights will still be operated by Austrian Arrows’ Fokker 100s. With an additional new route to Klagenfurt (which we will cover in next week’s anna.aero), that brings to 159 the number of destinations served non-stop by Lufthansa from Frankfurt at the start of the winter season. This compares with 148 for Air France from Paris CDG, 121 for KLM from Amsterdam, 106 for British Airways from London Heathrow, and 104 for Iberia from Madrid. However, all of these carriers have now been overtaken by Turkish Airlines, which this winter offers non-stop services to 167 destinations from its Istanbul Atatürk hub. Apart from Lufthansa’s Frankfurt growth, it has tweaked its services to Saudi Arabia from Munich (MUC). This week saw the carrier introduce a new service from Munich to Jeddah (JED) via Riyadh using an A340-300. Both destinations are already served non-stop by Lufthansa from its Frankfurt hub.

  • Meridianafly, the Italian airline set to merge with Air Italy, launched a new domestic route on 30 October. The airline now flies 12 times weekly from Bari (BRI) in the south to Milan Linate (LIN), the city airport serving Italy’s northern financial capital, with A320 aircraft. Competition comes from Alitalia’s subsidiary Air One, which operates daily, as well as mainline Alitalia’s five weekly flights. Partner Air Italy operates an additional six flights a week.

  • Mihin Lanka, the Sri Lankan low-cost airline, took on Air Arabia on 31 October when it launched two weekly flights from the Sri Lankan capital Colombo (CMB) to Sharjah (SHJ) in the United Arab Emirates. Air Arabia operates nine flights a week on the same route. This is Mihin Lanka’s second route to the UAE, as it already serves nearby Dubai five times a week. This means that Mihin Lanka now operates to the UAE daily.

  • Norwegian continues to exert pressure on its larger Scandinavian rival SAS by launching competing services on existing routes. The latest SAS routes to feel this pressure are Copenhagen (CPH) to Trondheim (TRD), and Oslo (OSL) to Manchester (MAN). The Trondheim route will be served five times weekly by Norwegian, competing with SAS’ three daily flights. This winter, Norwegian is operating to 26 destinations non-stop from Copenhagen, although Frankfurt is not one of them despite it being announced a couple of months ago. The airline’s new Oslo service to Manchester operates three times weekly (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) while SAS currently serves the market with five weekly flights. Last year, 42,071 passengers flew on the route, up 3.7% on 2009. This is currently Norwegian’s only route to Manchester, but between April 2006 and April 2007 it operated two weekly flights from Bergen to the UK’s largest city outside London. Norwegian’s total network passenger numbers were up 23% in September and in the last 12 months, the airline has flown just over 15 million passengers at an average load factor of 79%.

  • Pegasus last week launched flights to its 49th destination, Erbil (EBL) in northern Iraq. The Turkish low-cost carrier began operating three times weekly from Ankara (ESB) on Monday 24 October. Flights depart the Turkish capital on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 20:55, returning on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 00:50. Pegasus joins Atlasjet, Iraqi Airways and Turkish Airlines in linking Erbil with Turkey, although all of the other carriers operate flights to Istanbul’s Atatürk airport. Austrian and Lufthansa operate flights from their Vienna and Frankfurt hubs to Erbil, while Egyptair, Etihad, flydubai, Gulf Air, Middle East Airlines, and Royal Jordanian all provide connections from their hubs in the region.

In Riga, the new Ryanair route to Leeds/Bradford was celebrated with a Union Jack cake. Cutting the cake were Aldis Mūrnieks, Member of the Board of Riga Airport, and Elina Hakkarainen, Ryanair’s Baltic Sales and Marketing Executive, who were flanked by Riga Airport’s Andis Damlics, member of the board, and Liene Freivalde, Head of Aviation Marketing.

  • Ryanair has launched a relatively modest 12 new routes this week (although we will be reporting on a further 20 next week). Of the 24 airports involved (spread across 11 countries), the leading country markets are Italy (seven), followed by Poland and the Netherlands with three each. The average weekly frequency of these 12 new routes is 4.3 helped by the airline launching a rare double-daily service between Rome Ciampino (CIA) and Genoa (GOA), 10 flights per week between Milan Bergamo (BGY) and Marseille (MRS), and daily flights between Bologna (BLQ) and Trapani (TPS). As a result, in terms of weekly departures, the leading country market among these new routes is Italy (58 new weekly departures) followed by France with just 14. According to our analysis both the Bologna – Trapani and Rome – Wroclaw routes have been operated by Ryanair in the past. Of particular interest are the Eindhoven – Krakow and Eindhoven – Marrakech routes as none of these airports are bases. A summary of the new routes is shown in the following table.
Launch Base Destination WF
30 October Barcelona (BCN) Poznan (POZ) 2
30 October Barcelona (BCN) Vilnius (VNO) 2
30 October Bologna (BLQ) Trapani (TPS)** 7
31 October Eindhoven (EIN)* Krakow (KRK) 2
30 October Eindhoven (EIN)* Marrakech (RAK) 2
31 October Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) Oslo Rygge (RYG)** 3
31 October Kaunas (KUN) Eindhoven (EIN) 2
30 October Leeds/Bradford (LBA) Riga (RIX) 2
30 October Milan Bergamo (BGY) Marseille (MRS) 10
30 October Rome Ciampino (CIA) Bordeaux (BOD) 4
30 October Rome Ciampino (CIA) Genoa (GOA) 14
30 October Rome Ciampino (CIA) Wroclaw (WRO) 2
Source: Ryanair
WF: Weekly Frequency
* Airport is not a designated base
** Airport is a designated base

  • S7, the Russian oneworld member, launched a new route in the Russian Far East on 31 October. The airline now flies twice-weekly between Vladivostok (VVO) and Khabarovsk (KHV), a distance of 615 kilometres, with A320 aircraft. Competition on the route comes from Vladivostok Air’s nine flights a week.

SAS now competes with Norwegian on the route from Norway’s capital Oslo to Palanga on the Lithuanian Baltic Sea coast.

SAS now competes with Norwegian on the route from Norway’s capital Oslo to Palanga on the Lithuanian Baltic Sea coast.

  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines launched three intra-European routes in the last week; one from Oslo (OSL) and two from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). The airline now flies three times weekly from the Norwegian capital to Palanga (PLQ) on Lithuania’s Baltic Sea coast, competing with Norwegian’s two weekly flights. From Stockholm, the airline launched four weekly flights to Gdansk (GDN) on the Polish Baltic Sea coast and five weekly flights to Milan Malpensa (MXP) in northern Italy. The Italian route was operated by Lufthansa Italia until the closure of the base at the end of the summer season. All three routes are operated with the airline’s 123-seat 737-600s.

  • SEAIR, the Philippine partner of Singapore’s Tiger Airways, launched a new route from Clark (CRK) to the Thai capital Bangkok (BKK) on 31 October. Flights operate three times weekly with A319 aircraft, competing with Cebu Pacific’s twice-weekly flights.

  • Shandong Airlines launched 11 new domestic Chinese routes in the first two days of the winter season; two non-stops and nine one-stop routes. See the downloadable spreadsheet for more details.

  • Sichuan Airlines launched eight domestic Chinese routes on 30 October; four non-stops and four with one-stop routings. For full details, see the downloadable spreadsheet.

Silk Air’s arrival in Changsha was a major event. Not only is Singapore the airport’s second country market outside of Greater China after South Korea, but passengers now have improved connectivity through the Star Alliance hub airport.

Silk Air’s arrival in Changsha was a major event. Not only is Singapore the airport’s second country market outside of Greater China after South Korea, but passengers now have improved connectivity through the Star Alliance hub airport.

  • Silk Air, Singapore Airlines’ subsidiary operating narrowbody aircraft, on 31 October launched a new route from Singapore (SIN) to Changsha (CSX) in south-central China, a major tourist destination and place of Mao Zedong’s former residence. The 3000km route is operated three times weekly – on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays – with A320 series aircraft. The route is Silk Air’s fifth new service this year from Singapore Changi Airport.

The Japanese low-cost airline Skymark now flies to Asahikawa and Sapporo Chitose from Tokyo Narita, complementing its Tokyo Haneda services. This marks Skymark’s first operations at Narita, which increasingly is attracting low-cost airline traffic.

  • Skymark Airlines, the Japanese low-cost carrier, launched its first routes out of Tokyo Narita (NRT) on 30 October when the airline began operating two new domestic routes with its 177-seat 737-800s. The airline, which also has a base at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, now flies each twice-daily to Asahikawa (AKJ) and Sapporo Chitose (CTS) from Narita. The former route is uncontested, but the latter route competes with both Japan Airlines’ 21 flights a week and ANA’s also 14 weekly flights. Skymark already serves both destinations from its Tokyo Haneda base.

A cake with a typical Dutch motif (windmill, cloggs, you name it...) was baked to welcome SkyWork from Bern to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. The cake was cut by the airline’s CEO Tomislav Lang and the airport’s director aviation marketing Marcel Lekkerkerk. No less than four (!) fire-trucks saluted the Dornier 328 aircraft on arrival in Amsterdam.

  • SkyWork, the Swiss regional carrier operating out of the country capital Bern (BRN), extended its international route network at the start of the winter season. On 30 October, the airline launched a new daily route to Amsterdam (AMS), and one day later, a twice-weekly service to Budapest (BUD) and four flights a week to Madrid (MAD). All three routes are operated with 31-seat Dornier 328. While none of the routes face direct competition, Bern’s location close to Basel (100km), Zurich (130km) and Geneva (160km), means that indirect competition comes from easyJet, Swiss, KLM and Iberia. Commenting the Budapest service, SkyWork Airlines’ CEO Tomislav Lang said: “We are extremely pleased to have begun this exciting new route directly linking Budapest and the Swiss capital of Bern. The route offers travellers from Bern the chance to visit Hungary’s capital and largest city, one of the most popular holiday destinations and beautiful cities in Europe. We have already experienced strong forward bookings and are confident that our new flights to Budapest will continue to be well received.”

  • SmartWings, the Czech LCC has launched flights between Prague (PRG) and Tel Aviv (TLV) in Israel. The service operates four times weekly until the end of February when frequency increases to six weekly flights. The route is operated with 189-seat 737-800 aircraft. The route is already served by CSA Czech Airlines and El Al. “SmartWings is the first discount airline to operate scheduled flights to Israel. That will mean more options for travellers flying from Prague Airport,” said Stanislav Zeman, Prague Airport’s executive director aviation business and marketing. Czech Airlines operates six weekly flights with A319s, while El Al also operates a couple of weekly flights with 737-800s. Most of SmartWings’ network only operates during the summer, but year-round services from Prague include Dubai, Paris, and Rome as well as Gran Canaria and Tenerife Sur.

This picture of Starbow’s BAe 146 aircraft was taken on the day the new route to Tamale launched. (Thanks to William Gadzegba, Ghana Airports Company, for the picture)

This picture of Starbow’s BAe 146 aircraft was taken on the day the new route to Tamale launched. (Thanks to William Gadzegba, Ghana Airports Company, for the picture)

Starbow adds second domestic route in Ghana

  • Starbow Airlines, the new Ghanaian carrier based in Accra (ACC) has launched daily domestic flights (except Saturday) to Tamale (TML). Flights depart Accra for Tamale at 07:30 and depart Tamale for Accra at 8:50. The airline began operations on 26 September with domestic flights to Kumasi, while a further domestic destination, Takoradi, starts on 7 November. The airline’s website shows 10 “future destinations” on a route map. All of these are outside of Ghana. Starbow currently operates two BAe 146-300s configured with eight seats in Business class and 86 seats in Economy class. The airline’s corporate livery and branding has been designed by Dutch-based company Lila Design. The airline’s senior management consists of Simon Anthony Saoud (CEO and Accountable Manager) and Brock Friesen (joint CEO), a 25-year industry veteran whose recent experience includes being CCO of Air Malta and VP Finance and Strategy for Star Alliance in Frankfurt.

  • TAM began daily flights from Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) to Mexico City (MEX) on Sunday using A330-200s. The route is already served by AeroMexico, which also offers daily flights on a 777. Despite TAM’s major presence in the Brazilian domestic market, Mexico City is only the airline’s 15th international destination to be served non-stop this winter from Sao Paulo after six other destinations in Latin America (Bogota, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Lima, Montevideo and Santiago), five in Europe (Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan and Paris), and three in the US (Miami, New York and Orlando). Maybe surprisingly, there are currently no non-stop scheduled services between Rio do Janeiro and Mexico City.

  • Tiger Airways has resumed flights between Singapore (SIN) and Bangalore (BLR) in India. The LCC first launched the route on 1 June 2008 but discontinued the service in mid-November 2010 for undisclosed reasons. Now the carrier returns with four weekly flights that will compete for market share with Singapore Airlines (daily flights) and Silk Air (five weekly flights). Bangalore becomes the carrier’s fourth Indian destination after Chennai (launched in October 2007), Tiruchirapelli and Thiruvananthapuram (both launched this time last year). Tiger Airways also briefly served Cochin in late 2007, early 2008. This winter, Tiger Airways will serve 24 destinations non-stop from Singapore, having recently added Cebu in the Philippines (7 September), and also Davao in the Philippines (see next week’s anna.aero).

  • Tunis Air on 31 October resumed operations between its home base in Tunis (TUN) and Bilbao (BIO) in Basque Country in northern Spain after having dropped the route in 2001. The 1300-kilometre service will now be operated once a week, on Mondays, with 737-500 aircraft.

Ural Airlines now flies from Novosibrisk Tolmachevo Airport in Siberia to the Chinese city of Harbin, which has strong historical links with Russia. Passengers are here seen checking in and boarding the first flight.


  • Vueling has launched two new daily routes from its Madrid (MAD) base to Amsterdam (AMS) and Berlin Tegel (TXL). The Amsterdam route is technically a re-launch since the airline served the route between February 2006 and March 2008. Berlin is a new destination for Vueling and the airline will ‘compete’ with shareholder Iberia which operates the route with three daily flights. The Amsterdam route is much more keenly contested with Air Europa (13 weekly flights), easyJet (12 weekly flights), Iberia (28 weekly flights) and KLM (35 weekly flights) all competing for passengers. Another new route launched this week is a double-daily service between Paris Orly (ORY) and Zurich (ZRH). Competition on this route is provided by Air France and Swiss who both operate over 40 weekly flights from Paris CDG to Zurich. Vueling recently reported that it carried 1.26 million passengers in September, an increase of 21.6% over last September, on a fleet of 48 Airbus narrowbody aircraft. During the last week, the airline has announced that it will be launching a massive 13 new routes from its Barcelona base next summer including Aalborg (Denmark), Cardiff (United Kingdom) and Groningen (Netherlands). For more details, click here.

It would escape nobody that there was a Las Vegas theme on in London, Ontario as the airport got a new service to Sin City on WestJet. Showgirls, Elvis and gambling – all of the trademarks of Vegas were represented.

  • WestJet continues to offer new low-frequency services from smaller Canadian airports to US leisure destinations. The start of the winter season sees a new weekly service from Kelowna (YLW) to Phoenix, AZ (PHX) in Arizona to complement the carrier’s existing twice-weekly service to Las Vegas in Nevada. In 2010, Kelowna Airport in British Columbia handled almost 1.4 million passengers, making it one of Canada’s top 12 airports. Another new route launched by WestJet this week was between London (YXU) in Ontario and Las Vegas, NV (LAS). The route operates weekly and is the airline’s fourth route from the Canadian airport after domestic routes to Calgary and Winnipeg, and a weekly service to Orlando in Florida. A fifth route to Cancun in Mexico launches later this week and will be covered in next week’s anna.aero.

As Denmark’s capital Copenhagen got a connection with the old Viking city of Haugesund in Norway, a Viking ship cake was baked to celebrate. Cutting the cake were Richard Kongsteien, Widerøe’s VP public relations, and Jorg Willy Bronebakk, Norwegian Ambassador to Denmark, while Copenhagen Airport’s route development manager Majid Khan (left) looked on. (Photos: The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Denmark)

The ribbon for Wideroe’s new route between Haugesund in Norway and SAS’ Copenhagen hub was cut by the mayors of Karmøy and Haugesund, Aase Simonsen and Petter Steen. As passengers boarded the aircraft, Haugenes Airport’s manager Øystein Østensjø and Wideroe’s VP public relations Richard Kongsteien posed for the camera. (Photos: Tor André Johannessen)

  • Widerøe, SAS’ Norwegian regional subsidiary, on 31 October resumed flights between SAS’ Copenhagen (CPH) hub and the Norwegian town of Haugesund (HAU), located on the country’s southwest coast between Bergen and Stavanger. The service, which was previously operated until 2008, is now flown six times weekly with 78-seat Q400 aircraft, feeding parent airline SAS’ Copenhagen hub. Widerøe already serves Haugesund from Bergen, and Copenhagen from Kristiansand and Sandefjord.

Other celebrations this week

Christchurch Airport welcomes direct flights from Tokyo (and a baby girl for Findlay)

Shopping for new toys: Christchurch’s GM Aeronautical Business Development Matthew Findlay – besides the resumption of Tokyo services on October 31 – Mr and Mrs Findlay were busy with the birth of their daughter, Macy Rose (7.5lbs/3.4kg). “Sorry, no cakes” said his hurried txt to anna.aero.

Shopping for new toys: Christchurch’s GM Aeronautical Business Development Matthew Findlay – besides the resumption of Tokyo services on October 31 – Mr and Mrs Findlay were busy with the birth of their daughter, Macy Rose (7.5lbs/3.4kg). “Sorry, no cakes” said his hurried txt to anna.aero.

October 31: The return of direct flights from Tokyo to Christchurch was welcomed by Christchurch International Airport Limited (CIAL) as Air New Zealand resumed service three times a week after cutting Tokyo-Christchurch flights following the earthquake in February.

“We’ve been involved in a number of joint venture marketing initiatives to ensure the return of these direct services. We will continue to work on increasing visitor numbers all year round,” said CIAL General Manager of Aeronautical Business Development Matthew Findlay.

Brisbane Airport celebrated that China Southern now extends its Guangzhou-Brisbane route to begin in the Chinese capital. The route, which also increases from three to four weekly flights, is now operated Beijing-Guangzhou-Brisbane. Celebrating the event with a cake were Edward Wang, China Southern’s GM Brisbane; Jan Jarratt, Queensland Minister for Tourism; Sun Dali, Chinese Consul General to Brisbane; and Guo Peng, Chinese Deputy Consul General.

Jet4you celebrated its 5th anniversary at Brussels South Charleroi Airport. The airport’s commercial director aviation, PR & communication David Gering and PR & communication executive Mélissa Milioto offered Belgian Leonidas chocolates to passengers to celebrate. The Moroccan TUI airline launched daily flights from Casablanca on 1 November 2006 and now flies six routes to the Belgian airport.


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