New airline routes launched (31 January – 6 February 2012)

Route of the Week:
Emirates’ Dubai to Dallas/Fort Worth

Dallas/Fort Worth Airport’s marketing team celebrates becoming Emirates’ fifth US destination: Mitzi Chollampel, Manager Trade Marketing; Sharon McCloskey, VP Marketing; Ken Buchanan, EVP Revenue Management; Luis Perez, VP Air Service Development; and Sara LeBlanc, Marketing Coordinator. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price then cut the ribbon together with Emirates’ SVP Commercial Operations for the Americas, Nigel Page. The airline will operate daily from its Dubai hub, connecting the Texan city primarily with the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Emirates now flies to Dallas/Fort Worth, Harare and Lusaka

So many ministers! Celebrating Emirates’ new route to Lusaka and Harare were Muhammed Riza, Emirates’ Manager Commercial Business Development; Yamfwa Mukanga, Zambian Minister of Transport; Nicholas Goche, Zimbabwean Minister of Transport; Nabil Sultan, Emirates’ DSVP Revenue Optimisation & Distribution; Given Lubinda, Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs; Fackson Shamenda, Zambian Minister of Tourism; Jean Luc Grillet, Emirates’ SVP Commercial Operations Africa; Marah Hativagone, Chairperson, Zimbabwean Tourism Council (ZTC); and Duncan Watson, Emirates’ Regional Manager Cargo Commercial.

  • Emirates has added three new destinations to its global network out of Dubai (DXB) during the last week. Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) becomes the airline’s fifth US destination (after Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, with Seattle starting in March) with daily flights being operated by a long-range, three-class 777-200. “Emirates’ newest US destination is a thriving and dynamic metroplex, which is home to one of the highest concentrations of Fortune 500 companies in the country,” said Nigel Page, SVP Commercial Operations, The Americas. “A direct link with Dubai will open new vistas for North Texas, with key trading and business centres in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent now just one stop away.” Emirates’ other two new destinations this week are in Africa with the introduction of five weekly flights on a three-class A330-200 to Lusaka (LUN) in Zambia, which then carries on to Harare (HRE) in Zimbabwe. “Zambia and Zimbabwe are both important emerging business and industrial centres, with economies that are projected to grow by over five per cent annually during the coming years,” said Nabil Sultan, Divisional SVP Revenue Optimisation & Distribution. “Emirates’ new service will play a significant role in supporting this growth by connecting Lusaka and Harare to our worldwide network, opening new conduits for trade, investment and tourism.”

Cake of the Week:
Qatar Airways’ Doha-Baku-Tbilisi

Tbilisi welcomed fast-growing Qatar Airways with a spectacular cake. The airline’s CEO Akbar Al Baker and TAV Georgia’s GM Mete Erkal exchanged gifts to celebrate the daily new service via Baku.

Qatar Airways now flies to Baku, Tbilisi and Tripoli (again)

In Baku, Al Baker was welcomed by Azerbaijan Airlines Executive Director & VP Eldar Salimov. Al Baker said: “Azerbaijan’s rich energy resources offer great business opportunities, and a landscape that provides a good base for family and independent tourism. As well as enabling visitors from around the world to visit Baku, we also look forward to providing Azerbaijanis with the opportunity to fly to global destinations on Qatar Airways via our Doha hub.”

  • Qatar Airways has added two new destinations to its Doha (DOH) based global network during the last week, and also resumed service to Tripoli (TIP) in Libya. The new destinations are Baku (GYD) in Azerbaijan and Tbilisi (TBS) in Georgia, which will both be served daily. Tbilisi is served non-stop while Baku, which will host the annual Eurovision Song Contest in May, is served via Tbilisi. Addressing guests in Baku, Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said Azerbaijan’s developing tourism industry and energy resources were key factors in Qatar Airways’ decision to start operations there. “We assessed Azerbaijan as a destination with great potential that would create a new air corridor providing wider choices for both leisure and business travellers,” he said. “Azerbaijan’s rich energy resources offer great business opportunities, and a landscape that provides a good base for family and independent tourism. As well as enabling visitors from around the world to visit Baku, we also look forward to providing Azerbaijanis with the opportunity to fly to global destinations on Qatar Airways via our Doha hub.” Addressing guests on arrival in Tbilisi, Al Baker said Georgia was a highly underserved part of Europe, which prompted the airline to consider opening up the route. “Tbilisi becomes Qatar Airways’ 112th destination worldwide and it gives me great pleasure to celebrate our arrival here. We sincerely look forward to growing this route with additional capacity in the future and we look forward to welcoming more destinations into our ever increasing European network,” said Al Baker. Qatar Airways is operating 144-seat A320s on the Baku and Tbilisi routes. In addition, Qatar Airways returns to Tripoli with three weekly flights (via Alexandria in Egypt) after suspending operations last year due to the political situation. Al Baker said reviving the Tripoli flights, now that the political situation had eased, was a welcome boost to the airline’s operations helping meet demand to and from the Libyan capital. “Libya is an important market for us and it was unfortunate that unfolding events there had affected operations on safety grounds for all airlines flying to the country,” he said. “We are delighted to be going back to Tripoli and provide and help revive the much-needed air transport system in the country after the difficulties of the past few months.”

The rest of this week’s new routes

  • AirAsia has added two new destinations from its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) hub. From Monday 6 February, Asia’s biggest low-cost carrier has added daily flights to Semarang (SRG) in Indonesia, and three weekly flights to Surat Thani (URT) in Thailand. The airline group already serves Surat Thani double-daily from Bangkok, but this is the airport’s only scheduled international destinations. Semarang is a new destination for AirAsia. Both routes will be operated by the airline’s growing fleet of A320s. This brings to 55 the number of destinations served non-stop from Kuala Lumpur by AirAsia, with over 160 daily departures.

  • airberlin has responded quickly to the demise of its former codeshare partner Malév by launching daily flights from Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Budapest (BUD) from Monday 6 February using A320s. Malév was operating daily flights between the two airports before it ceased operations last week. airberlin has previously operated non-stop flights to Budapest from Berlin (2004-05), Düsseldorf (2004-06), Hamburg (2004-06), Hannover (2005-09), Munich (2004) and Nuremberg (2004-2009). Lufthansa has also started Berlin – Budapest services this week, while easyJet operates daily flights from Berlin Schönefeld to Budapest. Thus, when Berlin Brandenburg opens in June, all three carriers will be competing head-to-head.

Airphil Express adds Butuan and Pagadian to Manila network

  • Airphil Express, the fast-growing Filipino low-cost carrier, added two new domestic destinations from its Manila (MNL) base during the last week. It has begun flying four times weekly to Butuan (BXU) and also three times weekly to Pagadian (PAG), both routes operated by its A320s. The Pagadian route (flight numbers 2P010 and 2P011) operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and competes directly with Cebu Pacific’s daily flights. The Butuan route (flight numbers 2P967 and 2P968) operates Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and competes directly with Cebu Pacific’s three daily flights, and a daily flight by Philippine Airlines. This raised to 27 the number of destinations served non-stop by Airphil Express from Manila, of which 26 are domestic routes, with Singapore the only international service currently offered by the airline from the Philippine capital airport.

In Londrina, the mayor untied the ribbon together with Azul’s VP commercial Paulo Nascimento and commercial director Antônio Américo.

Azul launches three new domestic routes in Brazil

Azul’s first ATR72 flight received a wet welcome to Bauru.

  • Azul, Brazil’s third-biggest domestic airline, has launched three new routes in the last week, adding two new destinations to its network. From its main base at Campinas-Viracopos (VCP) it has introduced double-daily flights to Bauru (JTC) using ATR72s, and double-daily flights to Londrina (LDB) using E-190s. The Londrina route is already served by Trip with two daily flights. Last year passenger numbers at Londrina airport rose by 31.3% to 961,902 making it one of the fastest-growing airports in Latin America. Azul has also decided to enter the very competitive Brasilia (BSB) to Belo Horizonte (CNF) market. Azul is starting with 18 weekly departures using an E190 but is competing against GOL (42 weekly departures), TAM (34), WebJet (12) and Avianca Brazil (7).

A cake was baked to welcome Camair-Co to its second destination in France – Lyon – with three weekly flights. Cutting the ribbon was Jean-Joseph Atangana, minister adviser of Cameroon, flanked by Philippe Bernand, CEO of Aéroports de Lyon; Paul Emmanuel Bewekedi Timba, Consul General of Cameroon in Marseille, and Alex van Elk, CEO Camair-Co.

  • Camair-Co, the new national airline of Cameroon which began operations at the end of March 2011, has launched non-stop flights from Douala (DLA) to Lyon (LYS). The new service, operated by a 737-700 in a two-class configuration, departs Douala at midnight on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and departs Lyon at 22:00 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Lyon thus becomes the airline’s second destination in France after Paris CDG which is served with four weekly flights. The airline’s fleet currently comprises two 737-700s and a single 767 which is used on the Paris route.

  • China Eastern has launched flights between Kunming (KMG) and Chiang Rai (CEI) in northern Thailand. Flights operate three times weekly using CRJ200 aircraft. This is currently Chiang Rai’s only regular scheduled international service. Last year, passenger numbers at Chiang Rai Airport grew by 12.7% to 818,163 passengers of which less than 10,000 were on international services.

  • flydubai has launched services from Dubai (DXB) to Taif (TIF), located not far from Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the airline’s seventh destination in that country following Abha (November 2010), Dammam (July 2011), Gassim (January 2011), Jeddah (May 2011), Riyadh (May 2011) and Yanbu (January 2011). Flights will operate three times weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) with the low-cost airline’s single fleet of 189-seat 737-800s. flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “We are grateful to the Saudi authorities for their continued support of flydubai. Taif marks our seventh destination in KSA and is part of our strategy to connect the UAE to destinations previously under-served by direct air links. By continuing to identify emerging cities such as Taif, we hope to continue promoting new avenues for trade and commercial ties across our network.” Situated 1,700m above sea level in the Hejaz province, Taif is a holiday destination thanks to its temperate climate and scenery. With tree-lined streets, large souks and almost 3,000 gardens, the city is gaining prominence around the region as an alternative short-holiday destination. With the launch of operations to Taif, flydubai will operate a total of 55 weekly flights to destinations across Saudi Arabia.

  • IndiGo, the low-cost airline that had a 20.4% share of the Indian domestic market in December, has introduced two new non-stop routes with its A320s. It now offers daily flights between Ahmedabad (AMD) and Goa (GOI), competing directly with SpiceJet. The other new route is between Bangalore (BLR) and Lucknow (LKO), two airports that were not previously connected with non-stop flights. Lucknow is one of India’s fastest-growing airports. In the period April to November, passenger numbers were up 39.1% compared with the same period in 2010.

Cutting the ribbon for LAN Colombia’s arrival in Miami were: Marta Jaramillo, Colombian Consul General in Miami; Pablo Chiozza, LAN Airlines’ VP North America and Caribbean; Ken Pyatt, Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) Deputy Director Operations; José Abreu, MDAD Director; Miguel Southwell, MDAD Deputy Director Business Retention and Development; and Paola Pezoa, LAN MIA Airport Manager. The inaugural flight featured a surprise appearance from coffee icon Juan Valdez, who personally served coffee to passengers on the first flight from Miami to Bogotá.

  • LAN Colombia launched non-stop flights between Bogotá (BOG) and Miami (MIA) on 1 February. The route will be served four times weekly with A320 aircraft and will face competition from American Airlines (three daily flights) and Avianca (two daily flights). The airline is the newest affiliate of the growing LAN family of passenger airlines serving Miami that also includes LAN Chile, LAN Ecuador, LAN Argentina and LAN Peru. Miami is the only US airport with service by all five carriers within the LAN group.

  • LAN Peru joined TACA in connecting Lima (LIM) with Havana (HAV), the capital of Cuba, on 2 February. LAN Peru will operate the route three times weekly (TACA offers six weekly flights) using an A319. LAN previously operated flights to Havana from Santiago in Chile, but dropped the route in April last year, having been operated continuously since 1999.

  • Lufthansa has responded quickly to the collapse of Malév by launching daily flights from Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Hamburg (HAM) to Budapest (BUD), both of which started on Monday. The Hamburg route, on which Malév was the only carrier, will see frequency double to twice-daily from the start of the summer season. On the Berlin route Lufthansa will be competing directly with airberlin, which also rapidly introduced a daily flight from Monday, and indirectly with easyJet which has been offering daily flights from Berlin Schönefeld since June 2004. According to German government statistics, both Berlin routes to Budapest handled around 80,000 passengers in 2010.

MASwings launches international flights within the island of Borneo

  • MASwings, the regional subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines that launched in October 2007, has introduced new international services from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) and Kuching (KCH) to Bandar Seri Begawan (BWN), the capital of Brunei. The Kota Kinabalu route is less than 200 kilometres and is served twice-daily with the airline’s ATR72s. The Kuching service operates three times weekly. Brunei is also connected to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, by AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines and Royal Brunei Airlines. MASwings’ third new route this week is between Kuching (KCH) and Pontianak (PNK) on the Indonesian side of Borneo. This route will be served daily. These routes are all part of the airline’s plans to grow in the so-called BIMP-EAGA region (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines – East Asean Growth Area).

  • OLT Jetair, the German-Polish regional airline, has introduced service between Zurich (ZRH) and Dresden (DRS), following the collapse of Cirrus Airlines, which had been operating the route until late-January. OLT Jetair will offer three daily flights on weekdays as well as a single Sunday service providing a total of 16 weekly departures in each direction on the 80 minute journey using 50-seat Saab 2000 aircraft. This represents a significant increase in capacity on the route as Cirrus Airlines operated the route with a 30-seat Dornier 328. In 2010, some 27,000 passengers flew on the route according to German government statistics.

  • Skymark Airlines continues to expand its Japanese domestic network with the introduction from 1 February of double daily flights between Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Fukuoka (FUK) with its 737-800s. Direct competition is provided by ANA and JAL who both operate the route with each three daily flights. This becomes Skymark’s fifth domestic route from Narita in addition to the eight domestic destinations it serves non-stop from Tokyo Haneda, including Fukuoka. Competition between Tokyo Haneda and Fukuoka is intense, with both ANA and JAL operating around 120 weekly departures each, Skymark a further 70 and StarFlyer an additional 35.

SpiceJet’s CEO Neil Mills cut the diamond-themed cake for the two new routes to Surat from both Delhi and Mumbai, highlighting the city’s large diamond industry. The first passenger got the honour of lighting the lamp for the new route and was given an aircraft model as a memory of the event.

SpiceJet connects Surat non-stop to Delhi and Mumbai with daily flights

  • SpiceJet has added Surat (STV) in the Western state of Gujarat to its network with the introduction of daily non-stop flights from 1 February to both Delhi (DEL) and Mumbai (BOM). The airline claims that it has thus become the first to start a destination ‘on demand’ as a result of the many requests it has received via its Facebook page. “We have been getting many messages from our fans on our Facebook page to start flight services from Surat. We respect the feeling and attachment of our fans and their trust in SpiceJet. In order to fulfil the demands, we conducted the viability of launching flight on Surat-Delhi and Surat-Mumbai route and decided to start the operations,” said SpiceJet CEO Neil Mills. The Delhi route is already served by Air India. The Mumbai route is scheduled for just 45 minutes and the two airports are less than 250 kilometres apart. Both routes have sufficient potential it seems for the airline to serve the market with its 737s rather than its Q400s. Surat’s new terminal was only opened at the end of February 2009.

Vladivostok Air moves Abakan, Khabarovsk and Vladivostok flights from Moscow Vnukovo to Moscow Sheremetyevo

Vladovostok Air now serves Sheremetyevo Airport, as the aircraft stairs reveal in this picture from the inaugural flight. The Russian airline has moved its three routes from the Russian Far East from Moscow Vnukovo to Moscow Sheremetyevo.

  • Vladivostok Air has, from 1 February, moved its three Moscow routes from Abakan (ABA), Khabarovsk (KHV) and Vladivostok (VVO), from Moscow Vnukovo Airport to Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO). The Abakan route faces no direct competition, but Aeroflot offers daily flights to Khabarovsk and double-daily flights to Vladivostok. Vladivostok Air serves Abakan with three weekly flights, and Khabarovsk and Vladivostok each with five weekly flights.

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  1. James says:

    What about the SAA JNB-Beijing flight, I would have thought that would have been the route of the week? Major route!

  2. Michael says:

    Probably worth noting the Vladivostok Air move to Sheremetyevo – Aeroflot’s base airport – is linked to Aeroflot taking over the airline!

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