New airline routes launched (24 – 30 April 2012)
Route of the Week: Aeroflot’s Moscow Sheremetyevo to Kraków
- Last week, the Russian flag carrier Aeroflot further expanded its hub at Moscow Sheremyetevo (SVO), as it launched two EU-bound routes. On 27 April, the airline inaugurated four weekly services to Kraków (KRK), making the Polish city the seventh destination it serves with Sukhoi Superjet 100s outside of Russia. Jacek Majchrowski, the Mayor of Kraków, said: “Kraków has lobbied for this service for years, and we expect the service to foster cultural and business links between the cities. It also brings EURO 2012 closer to Moscow, and we hope to hear more Russian on the high street.” A day later, daily services were launched to Aeroflot’s eighth German destination. The 2,000-kilometre route to Stuttgart (STR) is offered with A320s. Speaking during the launch in Stuttgart, Konstantin Pilipenko, Aeroflot’s Country Manager in Germany, commented: “The new route connects two economically important areas, offering convenient options for business, leisure and VFR traffic alike. Looking at booking patterns to date, we are confident that the project will succeed.” Krakow was last connected with Moscow by LOT in 1990, while Aeroflot’s Stuttgart route faces indirect competition from germanwings’ four weekly flights to Moscow Vnukovo.
Cake of the Week: Vueling’s Barcelona to Groningen
- On 28 April, the Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling inaugurated services from its Barcelona (BCN) base to the West-Frisian city of Groningen (GRQ), making it the second destination it serves in The Netherlands after Amsterdam. Twice-weekly flights are offered on the 1,400-kilometre route, on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with 180-seat A320s. During the high-season between 28 June and 13 September, there will be an additional, third weekly frequency on Thursdays as well. The first flight reportedly achieved an 85% load factor.
The rest of this week’s new routes
- On 27 April, Ukraine’s Aerosvit Airlines launched its second new international route this year, having previously started twice-weekly flights to Ho Chi Minh City. Flights to the Russian city of Ekaterinburg (SVX) by the Ural Mountains were launched from Kiev Boryspil (KBP) with a weekly frequency. The 2,100-kilometre route – the airline’s seventh to Russia – does not face competition.
- On 27 April, Air Europa launched operations to Switzerland with services from Madrid (MAD) to Geneva (GVA). Flights to the Swiss city are offered with twice-daily frequencies, except for Saturdays when only one flight operates. While regional E-190 jets will be deployed on the route, the SkyTeam carrier Air Europa faces considerable competition, as Iberia, Swiss and easyJet all already serve the market with a combined total of 57 weekly flights.
- On 28 April, Alitalia’s low-cost subsidiary Air One launched thrice-weekly services from its base in Pisa (PSA) to Reggio di Calabria (REG), located on the “toe” of the Italian peninsula. The 770-kilometre domestic route will be operated with mixed A320 family equipment. No other carrier currently serves the route.
- On 28 April, airberlin launched a weekly seasonal service connecting Frankfurt (FRA) with the Channel Islands. The Q400 service to Jersey (JER) stopping via Guernsey (GCI) is operated in conjunction with the airline’s flights to Hannover (FRA-GCI-JER-HAJ, return), complementing its operations to the islands from Düsseldorf.
- Following an announcement made in late January, Allegiant Air inaugurated Oakland, CA (OAK) as its eight operations base last week. On 26 April, services to Billigins, MT (BIL), Medford, OR (MFR) and Redmond-Bend, OR (RDM) were launched, followed by flights to Bozeman, MT (BZN), Idaho Falls, ID (IDA), Kalispell, MT (FCA), and Missoula, MT (MSO). All flights from the San Francisco Bay Area airport are offered with twice-weekly frequencies using the airline’s MD80s. None of the routes face direct competition, but United serves Medford, Redmond-Bend and Idaho Falls from San Francisco International.
- On 29 April, after a decade, British Airways reinstated flights to Bologna (BLQ) in northern Italy from its London Heathrow (LHR) hub. The 1,200-kilometre route will be served daily and complements the airline’s 18 weekly frequencies offered from London Gatwick. The route will be operated with mixed equipment from the A320 family. Indirect competition at Gatwick comes from easyJet’s daily flights and at Stansted, Ryanair’s also daily operations.
- On 30 April, China Airlines launched services connecting the city airports Taipei Songshan (TSA) and Seoul Gimpo (GMP) with thrice-weekly services, having previously served the market with flights to Seoul Incheon from two other Taiwanese airports; Taipei Taoyuan and Kaohsiung. Competition on the 1,500-kilometre route comes from both EVA Air and T’way Air, which offer four-weekly frequencies each, having launched operations at the same time.
- On 27 April, Croatia Airlines launched its second German destination from Zadar (ZAD), and now offers twice-weekly services to Frankfurt (FRA) in addition to the also twice-weekly Munich service. The route will be operated seasonally on Mondays and Fridays until mid-October. Notably, both German destinations are hubs for Croatia Airlines’ alliance partner Lufthansa. There is no direct competition on the route, although Ryanair offers the same frequency on its flights from Frankfurt Hahn.
- On 28 April, easyJet expanded the portfolio of Greek destinations it offers from London Gatwick (LGW) with twice-weekly seasonal service to Kefalonia (EFL) in the Ionian Islands; the island group where the airline already serves Corfu and Zakynthos. In addition, the airline added thrice-weekly flights to Ibiza (IBZ) to its budding London Southend (SEN) base, of which the opening was “a unique opportunity” according to easyJet’s CEO Carolyn McCall. anna.aero’s had the opportunity to interview McCall courtesy of the airline’s kind invitation to the recent Lisbon base launch. 180-seat A320s and 156-seat A319s will be used respectively on the new routes. On the route to Kefalonia, easyJet faces direct competition from Thomson’s also twice-weekly flights and Thomas Cook’s weekly operation.
- On 27 April, Garuda Indonesia commenced new route connecting Denpasar (DPS) in Bali and Tokyo Haneda (HND). Owing to increasing demand, the airline, which already serves the Japanese capital with 24 weekly flights to Narita, now offers additional five-weekly frequencies to Haneda. All services are operated with A330-300 aircraft and the airline does not face any competition on the 5,500-kilometre route.
- On 26 April, Hamburg Airways launched new route connecting its base in Germany’s second-largest city Hamburg (HAM) in the north of the country with the main airport serving Ukraine’s capital; Kiev Boryspil (KBP). The 1,500-kilometre route is offered with twice-weekly frequencies. The airline, which was founded in December 2010 following the demise of Hamburg International, will codeshare with Aerosvit, which operates four weekly flights on the same route.
- JetBlue, which currently is one of the fastest-growing US airlines partly due to its expansion in the Caribbean, further increased its presence in the region last week. On 25 March, the airline commenced services from Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) to Kingston (KIN) in Jamaica, which it already serves from Newark. Twice-daily flights are offered on the 1,000-kilometre route; all will be operated with 100-seat E-190s. Additionally, JetBlue added a daily A320 service to San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico, to its New York Newark, NJ (EWR) network. The airline already serves San Juan 35 times weekly from New York JFK. In the Fort Lauderdale to Kingston market, competition comes from Caribbean Airlines’ twice-daily and Spirit’s daily frequencies, while United is the only other carrier to offer flights between Newark and San Juan and matches JetBlue’s frequencies. San Juan is also served from New York JFK by American Airlines and Delta in addition to JetBlue, providing additional indirect competition for the new operation with their combined 49 weekly frequencies.
- On 28 April, Korean Air launched its second route to the United Kingdom, connecting Seoul Incheon (ICN) and London Gatwick (LGW). The SkyTeam airline, which already serves London Heathrow on a daily basis, now offers additional thrice-weekly services to Gatwick with 261-seat 777-200ER aircraft. Asiana is the only other carrier to connect the two cities non-stop, and offers also daily services to Heathrow.
- On 28 April, Lufthansa further expanded the network it offers from Düsseldorf (DUS), and now offers seasonal services to Malaga (AGP) and Westerland (GWT) on the Isle of Sylt. While flights to both destinations are offered with twice-weekly frequencies, the North Sea island of Sylt will be served with CRJ900s and Malaga with A320s. airberlin provides competition on both routes, providing 11 weekly services on the domestic route and nine weekly flights to the Spanish Costa del Sol airport.
- On 30 April, Russia’s NordStar Airlines commenced low-frequency domestic services from Samara (KUF) to Rostov (ROV). Samara, which is the country’s sixth-most populous city according to the 2010 census and an important industrial centre, is now connected to Rostov-on-Don with weekly flights operated with 737-800 aircraft. NordStar does not face any competition on the route.
- Philippines’ flag carrier, Philippine Airlines, launched two new international routes last week. Services from Kalibo (KLO) to Hong Kong (HKG), which commenced on 27 April, were followed by the launch of flights from Manila (MNL) to Denpasar (DPS) in Bali the following day. While both services are served with twice-weekly frequencies and operated with A320s, Philippine Airlines face competition only on the first routing; Cebu Pacific offers thrice-weekly flights from Kalibo to Hong Kong.
- On 24 April, SilkAir, the narrow-body operating subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, commenced thrice-weekly services connecting its Singapore (SIN) base and Wuhan (WUH) in Central China. Flights on the 3,400-kilometre route are operated with aircraft from the A320 family. China Eastern provides the only direct competition on the route, which it serves with also thrice-weekly frequencies.
- On 27 April, India’s budget carrier SpiceJet inaugurated services to Calicut (CCJ) from Bangalore (BLR) and Chennai (MAA), which are offered with five and seven weekly frequencies respectively. Both routes have been operated in the past; Indian Airlines offered services to Chennai until February 2011, while Kingfisher dropped its service to Bangalore in February 2012. SpiceJet now operates the two routes with its 189-seat 737-800 aircraft.
- On 27 April, the new Tunisian airline Syphax Airlines commenced commercial services with two France-bound international routes. Each daily services to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) from Sfax (SFA) and Tunis (TUN) are now offered and will be operated with the airline’s fleet A319s. Air France and Aigle Azur provide direct competition on the route from Tunis as they offer 28 and three weekly flights respectively. Tunisair meanwhile operates from both Tunisian airports to Paris Orly, offering twice-weekly frequencies from Sfax and as many as 35 weekly flights from Tunis.
- On 25 April, Tiger Airways relaunched domestic Australian flights from Melbourne (MEL) to Cairns (CNS), which it previously operated between 2010 and 2011. The daily service is now operated with A320s, and faces considerable competition as three other carriers already serve the route, including Jetstar (twice-daily), Virgin Australia (8 weekly flights), and Qantas (daily). In addition, Tiger resumed flights to Kochi (COK), which is the carrier’s fifth Indian destination from Singapore (SIN) and was also offered previously in 2007 and 2008. Tiger’s five-weekly flights will see competition from SilkAir’s daily services.
- Transaero continues to expand the international network it offers from Moscow’s three airports. On 27 April, the airline launched daily services from Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) to Tel Aviv (TLV), which will be operated with 737-500 aircraft. Flights to Tel Aviv depart from the new Terminal A, which is “an important step towards full implementation of the strategic cooperation memorandum signed earlier by the two companies,” according to Olga Pleashakova, Transaero’s Director General. While there is no direct competition on the route, the airline itself already offers twice-daily flights from Domodedovo, in competition with El Al (15 weekly flights) and Israir (4). Further daily services are offered by Aeroflot from Sheremetyevo. In addition, Transaero resumed flights from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) to Los Angeles (LAX), and now offers twice-weekly flights on the route. Aeroflot’s four-weekly services from Sheremetyevo pose the only competition. The new Los Angeles service is Transaero’s third route to the United States after New York JFK and Miami flights. The airline has, however, served Los Angeles before. From Moscow Sheremetyevo, the airline operated between 1996 and 1999.
- On 26 April, Transavia.com launched new services from Eindhoven (EIN) to Berlin Tegel (TXL). The four-weekly flights to the Dutch airport, which will see Transavia.com’s presence expand considerably this summer, are operated with 737-800s. No other carrier offers non-stop services from Eindhoven to the German capital at present.
- On 26 April, Tunis Air commenced services from Enfidha (NBE), serving the Tunisian coastal resorts, to Moscow Domodedovo (DME). While the 3,000-kilometre route to the Russian capital initially is offered on a weekly basis, a second flight will be added beginning 7 June. Flights are operated with A320s. Tunis Air already serves Moscow from its main base in Tunis.
- Last week saw Turkish Airlines add two routes, one domestic and one international. On 25 April, the airline inaugurated services to its 12th German destination, Bremen (BRE) from Istanbul Atatürk (IST). Flights to the Hanseatic city in north-eastern Germany are now offered with four weekly frequencies and operated with A320s. There is no competition on the route. On 27 April, the airline’s domestic expansion continued, as thrice-weekly flights to Dalaman (DLM) from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) were launched by the Turkish national carrier. Pegasus’ eight weekly flights are the only direct competition on the route.
- On 30 April, United launched daily services from Washington Dulles, DC (IAD) to Doha (DOH) via Dubai. The stopping service is an extension of the airline’s existing Dubai service, and comes in retaliation to the recently announced intentions by Etihad and Emirates to serve the US capital. 269-seat 777 aircraft will be deployed on the route, and the offer includes 40 seats in business and eight in first class. James Mueller, United’s VP Atlantic & Pacific Sales, said: “Our customers in both the U.S. and Qatar will benefit from increased travel opportunities and options with this new service.” Qatar Airways is the only competitor and serves the route with daily non-stop flights. Other Middle Eastern destinations in United’s network include Kuwait City and Bahrain.
- On 27 April, the new Vietnamese low-cost airline VietJet Air commenced services from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Da Nang (DAD), which serves a booming tourist area on Vietnam’s central coast and was recently subject to anna.aero analysis. VietJet Air’s twice-daily departures face competition from Vietnam Airlines’ 84 and fellow low-cost airline Jetstar Pacific’s 21 weekly flights.
- On 29 April, Vladivostok Air inaugurated new domestic routes from Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO), the home base of its majority-owner Aeroflot, to Sochi (AER) and Chita (HTA). While both routes are operated with Tu-204s, services to Sochi on the Black Sea coast operate on daily basis and flights to Chita in the Zabaykalsky Krai province depart with five-weekly frequencies. Aeroflot provides competition on one of the routes and offers 35 weekly flights from Sheremetyevo to Sochi, Russia’s most popular resort and the Olympic Winter Games in 2014.
- On 30 April, the Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris inaugurated flights to the third destination it offers from Puebla (PBC), which is Mexico’s fourth largest metropolitan area. The 540-kilometre domestic route to Guadalajara (GDL) is offered thrice-weekly and operated with A319s. While there is no competition on the route, it had been served in the past by both Aeromexico and Mexicana, which dropped the route in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
- Last week, Volotea, the brainchild of the original founders of Vueling Carlos Muñoz and Lázaro Ros, further expanded its base in Venice (VCE) with seven new destinations. Alicante (ALC), Malaga (AGP), Kraków (KRK), Porto (OPO) and Santiago de Compostela (SCQ) are offered with twice-weekly frequencies from the launch. However, Alicante, Malaga and Porto will see frequencies increase to three, as additional flights are added in late June. Bordeaux (BOD) and Bilbao (BIO) are served three times weekly from the start. All routes are operated with the airline’s fleet of 125-seat 717s and none face any competition.
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- On 30 April, Canada’s WestJet launched services from Toronto Pearson (YYZ) to Kingston (KIN) in Jamaica, bringing the total of Caribbean routes it serves from the airport to 17. The 2,900-kilometre route is now offered with thrice-weekly frequencies and is operated with 737-800s. Competition in the market comes from Air Canada’s four and Caribbean Airlines’ six weekly departures. John MacLeod, WestJet’s VP Network Management and Alliances, said: “Whether they are looking to connect with friends and family or eager to experience the area’s magnificent views, inspired cuisine or reggae sounds, we are pleased to be the airline to bring them to Kingston.”
- On 27 April, Russia’s Yamal Airlines expanded their presence in the Ukraine with services from Moscow Domodedovo (DME) to two of the four EURO 2012 host cities. Departures to both Lviv (LWO) and Kharkiv (HRK) are now offered with five-weekly frequencies. The airline, which operates a mix of Western- and Russian-built aircraft across its network, will deploy CRJ200s to serve both Ukrainian destinations. While there is no direct competition on either of the routes, both are served by UTair and UTair Ukraine from Moscow Vnukovo.
- On 26 April, the Philippine low-cost carrier Zest Air inaugurated its first route to China out of the carrier’s base in the Philippine capital Manila (MNL). Thrice-daily frequencies are offered on the 1,200-kilometre route to Jinjiang (JJN) in the south-eastern Chinese province of Fujian. Flights are operated with 180-seat A320s. Zest Air does not face any direct competition on the route. Shanghai Pudong is the only other Mainland China destination in Zest Air’s network and is offered from Kalibo on Panay Island.