Europe’s long-haul market this summer features new Chinese destinations, fewer Delta routes, and lots of London changes

March 1: More European long-haul (and Route of the Week!!) Jia Rui Jun, President of Shanghai International Co and Rickard Gustafson, CEO of SAS, celebrate the return of the airline’s Copenhagen-Shanghai service (previously operated 2004-7). For a full route analysis and launch news go  here .

With many of Europe’s economies in poor shape, and the on-going dispute (involving a number of major countries including China, India and the US) regarding the EU’s plans to add aviation to its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), this might seem like a bad time to be contemplating new long-haul services to Europe. However, this week’s analysis takes a close look at which airlines have added new long-haul routes to and from Europe for this summer, as well as revealing which services have been dropped.

The comparison is for the first week of July in 2012 versus the first week of July in 2011. The analysis looks separately at European carriers, North American carriers and those from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Routes involving a change of airport (say from London Gatwick to London Heathrow, or from Berlin Tegel to the new Berlin Brandenburg airport) have not been included, while United and Continental have been treated as one airline. This is not a definitive list but attempts to summarise the main changes made by major scheduled airlines involving routes typically offered with a minimum of three weekly frequencies.

Chongqing, Shenyang and Wuhan all receive first European services

Many of Europe’s flag-carriers have made changes to their long-haul networks for this summer with KLM and Lufthansa being particularly active. KLM will have launched five new long-haul destinations by July (three in Latin America and two in Africa), while Lufthansa has launched flights to Rio and is adding Shenyang in China at the start of the summer season. However, it has dropped two Indian destinations and has withdrawn from the Calgary market, although the route is still served by Star Alliance partner Air Canada.

airberlin’s new alliance with Etihad has resulted in the carrier shifting its Berlin-Dubai flights to Abu Dhabi, as well as terminating its own non-stop flights to Bangkok in favour of connecting services with Etihad via Abu Dhabi. Interesting new long-haul destinations from Europe include Air France’s Wuhan service starting in April, Finnair’s Chongqing service starting in May, and Lufthansa’s Shenyang service. Another new Chinese route was launched this week by SAS as it connected Copenhagen with Shanghai. One airline that has made no changes to its long-haul network is British Airways whose only long-haul network tweak of note has been to move its Mauritius flights from London Heathrow to London Gatwick.

Airline Dropped non-stop service New non-stop service (start date)
Air Europa Madrid – Mexico City
Madrid – Miami
Air France Paris CDG – Abu Dhabi
Paris CDG – Newark
Paris CDG – Seattle
Paris CDG – Wuhan (11 Apr 12)
airberlin Berlin – Dubai
Berlin – Bangkok
Düsseldorf – Bangkok
Berlin – Abu Dhabi (15 Jan 12)
Berlin – Los Angeles (11 May 12)
Düsseldorf – Abu Dhabi (25 Mar 12)
Düsseldorf – Las Vegas (10 May 12)
Austrian Vienna – Mumbai
Brussels Airlines Brussels – New York (1 Jun 12)
Finnair Helsinki – Chongqing (9 May 12)
Iberia Barcelona – Miami
Icelandair Reykjavik – Denver (10 May 12)
KLM Amsterdam – Manila*
Amsterdam – Miami
Amsterdam – Buenos Aires (31 Oct 11)
Amsterdam – Havana (31 Oct 11)
Amsterdam – Luanda (26 Mar 12)
Amsterdam – Lusaka (15 May 12)
Amsterdam – Rio de Janeiro (1 Nov 11)
LOT Polish Airlines Warsaw – Hanoi Warsaw – Beijing (29 May 12)
Lufthansa Frankfurt – Calgary
Frankfurt – Hyderabad
Frankfurt – Kolkata
Frankfurt – Rio de Janeiro (30 Oct 11)
Frankfurt – Shenyang (26 Mar 12)
OpenSkies Paris Orly – Washington
SAS Copenhagen – Shanghai (1 Mar 12)
Transaero Moscow DME – Los Angeles (29 Apr 12)
Virgin Atlantic London Heathrow – Vancouver (24 May 12)
Source: OAG iNet for w/c 4 July 2011 and w/c 2 July 2012
* Served via Taipei in July 2012

It was also recently announced that Lufthansa has decided not to start its planned new service from Düsseldorf to Tokyo Narita that was due to commence operations on 1 June with six weekly flights.

Delta deletes several European routes

Among US carriers Delta has made by far the most changes to its transatlantic network. Atlanta, Boston, Miami, New York and Newark have all seen at least one European service dropped while just two new services are planned; both to Paris (home of SkyTeam partner Air France) from Detroit and Seattle. On the Seattle route Delta simply replaces Air France which previously operated the route.

Airline Dropped non-stop service New non-stop service (start date)
American Airlines Chicago O’Hare – Brussels
New York JFK – Budapest
Miami – Barcelona (3 Apr 12)
Continental/United Newark – Athens Newark – Istanbul (1 Jul 12)
Washington – Dublin (7 Jun 12)
Washington – Manchester (1 May 12)
Delta Atlanta – Athens
Atlanta – Copenhagen
Atlanta – London Gatwick
Atlanta – Moscow Sheremetyevo
Atlanta – Prague
Boston – Paris CDG
Miami – London Heathrow
New York JFK – Berlin
New York JFK – Budapest
New York JFK – Manchester
Newark – Paris CDG
Detroit – Paris (2 Jun 12)
Seattle – Paris (25 Mar 12)
Source: OAG iNet for w/c 4 July 2011 and w/c 2 July 2012

US Airways, which has the smallest transatlantic network of the four remaining ‘global’ US carriers has made no route changes to its European network from its Charlotte and Philadelphia hubs.

London Gatwick is focus of changes for Asian carriers

The number of long-haul routes to Europe operated by carriers from Africa, Asia and the Middle East is still growing with London seeing plenty of changes. While AirAsia X, Arik Air, China Airlines and Qantas have all withdrawn long-haul routes to London, Air China, China Southern, Hong Kong Airlines, Korean Air, and Vietnam Airlines have all added new long-haul services to London, with London Gatwick successful in attracting four of these carriers.

Airline Dropped non-stop service New non-stop service (start date)
Air China Beijing – London Gatwick (2 May 12)
Shanghai – Paris (10 Mar 12)
AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur – London Stansted*
Kuala Lumpur – Paris Orly
All Nippon Airways Tokyo Haneda – Frankfurt (21 Jan 12)
Arik Air Abuja – London Heathrow
Camair-Co Lyon – Douala (31 Jan 12)
China Airlines Taipei – London Heathrow
China Southern Guangzhou – London Heathrow (6 Jun 12)
Urumqi – Istanbul (22 Nov 11)
Emirates Dubai – Barcelona (3 Jul 12)
Dubai – Copenhagen (1 Jul 11)
Dubai – Dublin (9 Jan 12)
Etihad Abu Dhabi – Düsseldorf (16 Dec 11)
Hainan Airlines Shanghai – Brussels
Hong Kong Airlines Hong Kong – London Gatwick (8 Mar 12)
Korean Air Seoul – London Gatwick (28 Apr 12)
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur – Rome
Oman Air Muscat – Zurich (2 Dec 11)
Qantas Bangkok – London Heathrow
Hong Kong – London Heathrow
Qatar Airways Doha – Oslo (5 Oct 11)
Thai Airways Bangkok – Brussels (17 Nov 11)
Vietnam Airlines Hanoi – London Gatwick (8 Dec 11)
Ho Chi Minh City – London Gatwick (9 Dec 11)
Source: OAG iNet for w/c 4 July 2011 and w/c 2 July 2012
* Service was moved to London Gatwick on 24 October 2011 but will cease at the end of March 2012.

Emirates with three new European routes (Barcelona, Copenhagen and Dublin) beat Etihad (Düsseldorf), Oman Air (Zurich) and Qatar Airways (Oslo) for most new non-stop European long-haul routes launched between July 2011 and July 2012.

More changes still possible

Some of these network changes have only been confirmed in the last couple of weeks so it is still possible that there may be further developments as airlines examine forward bookings, yields, the competitive environment and take into account the fact that fuel prices appear to be on the rise once more.


  1. max says:

    In this analysis, the new nonstop Dubai-Lisbon service by Emirates, to be inaugurated 9th July this year, should have been included.

  2. Jürgen says:

    It might be helpful to have a reference within the airline alliances – Delta takes over the operations for CDGSEA from Air France. No big deal. If SEA would have lost the Paris-link, that might have been an entirely different story for them.
    Upgrading Gatwick as the “Asian hub” might provide a relief for Heathrow. But most feeder flights so far (to my understanding) go to Heathrow, Low Cost focuses on Stanstead. Not many services to LGW, so there is the direct London catchment area, but not too much feeders?

  3. Arthur Dent says:

    I believe Iberia intends to drop its Madrid – Johannesburg service from 1 May. Another long-haul casualty.

  4. Juergen

    Plenty of services into Gatwick from all over UK and Ireland. As an Easyjet, BA, Norwegian and Ryanair hub, there is a good spread of European services too, to some 140+ destiantions, including some that are not covered by other SE England airports.

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