New airline routes launched (8 – 14 May)

Route of the Week: Peach’s Seoul Incheon to Osaka Kansai

Instead of a champagne tower, a peach juice tower was made at Osaka Kansai Airport to celebrate Peach’s first international route – to Seoul Incheon. Some of the airline’s staff were wearing traditional Korean clothes; chima jeogori. As passengers boarded the first flight, they were seen off by the airline’s team at the airport.

  • Peach, the new Japanese low-cost airline launched in March by ANA, began operating its first international route on 8 May. The airline now flies daily from Osaka Kansai (KIX) to Seoul Incheon (ICN), the main airport serving the capital of South Korea, using its A320s. The market is highly competitive, with five airlines already operating the route; Asiana and Korean Air each thrice-daily, Eastar Jet twice-daily and ANA and Jeju Air each daily.

Cake of the Week: Icelandair’s Reykjavik to Denver’s Ralph Anker himself got to taste this impressive cake welcoming Icelandair to Denver, showing the airline’s aircraft flying in over the Denver skyline.

Cutting the ribbon Reykjavik were Luis E. Arreaga, US Ambassador to Iceland; Kim Day, Denver International Airport’s Manager; Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver; Birkir Holm Gudnason, Icelandair’s CEO; and Bjorn Oli Hauksson, Isavia’s CEO.

Cutting the ribbon Reykjavik were Luis E. Arreaga, US Ambassador to Iceland; Kim Day, Denver International Airport’s Manager; Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver; Birkir Holm Gudnason, Icelandair’s CEO; and Bjorn Oli Hauksson, Isavia’s CEO.

The rest of this week’s new routes

Lookalikes of leading Irish showbiz celebrities, Black Velvet cocktails and a huge plane-shaped cake were all part of the celebrations marking the launch of a new link between Essex and Ireland’s capital. Alastair Welch, London Southend Airport’s Managing Director; and Sean Brogan, Aer Arann’s Interim Chief Executive, cut the celebratory cake.

A cake was baked at the Irish end of the route as well. Displaying it were Aer Lingus CCO Stephen Kavanagh; Leo Varadkar, Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport; Aer Arann Interim CEO Sean Brogan; and Dublin Airport Authority’s Acting CEO Oliver Cussen.

A cake was baked at the Irish end of the route as well. Displaying it were Aer Lingus CCO Stephen Kavanagh; Leo Varadkar, Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport; Aer Arann Interim CEO Sean Brogan; and Dublin Airport Authority’s Acting CEO Oliver Cussen

  • On 10 May, Aer Lingus Regional commenced thrice-daily services from Dublin (DUB) to London Southend (SEN). All flights are operated by Aer Arann with ATR42s, and complement the existing 130 weekly frequencies already offered by mainline Aer Lingus to London Heathrow (90) and Gatwick (40). Although there is no direct competition on the route, a combined total of 173 weekly flights connecting the two capitals are marketed by Air France (CityJet), British Airways and Ryanair; all London airports enjoy at least thrice-daily services from Dublin. Alastair Welch, Managing Director London Southend Airport, commented: “Dublin is a welcome addition to the services we offer, especially with the very exciting potential for convenient onward journeys to the USA. We look forward to welcoming Aer Lingus passengers for both Dublin and America to our brand new passenger terminal and redeveloped airport.” Oliver Cussen, Acting CEO Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), added: “The addition of London Southend means Dublin Airport now has services to six London airports and 24 airports in total throughout the UK.”

  • On 12 May, Kazakhstan’s flag carrier Air Astana commenced services from Astana (TSE) to Tashkent (TAS) in neighbouring Uzbekistan. While Air Astana already serves the Uzbek capital with four weekly frequencies from Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital, the airline now offers twice-weekly services from Astana. Flights are operated with the airline’s 97-seat E-190s. Air Astana faces competition from Uzbekistan Airways’ two weekly flights on the same route.

Yangzhou-Taizhou Airport is currently China’s newest airport and is designed to handle up to two million passengers by 2020. Air China’s service to Beijing became the first scheduled service from the airport.

  • On 12 May, Air China launched new route connecting Beijing (PEK) and Yangzhou-Taizhou (YTY) in central Jiangsu province on the northern bank of the Yangtze River. The Star Alliance airline now offers daily frequencies to this brand new airport, which was inaugurated only days before, on 7 May.

  • On 12 May, Air France Regional commenced six new seasonal, low frequency domestic routes, including seasonal flights to Figari (FSC) in southern Corsica from as many as four mainland French cities. In addition, the airline started also weekly international services from Strasbourg (SXB) to Venice (VCE) the same day.
Destination Origin WF* A/c
Biarritz (BIQ) Strasbourg (SXB) 1 E-170
Calvi (CLY) Metz (ETZ) 1 ERJ145
Figari (FSC) Bordeaux (BOD) 1 ERJ145
Clermont-Ferrand (CFE) 1 ERJ145
Metz (ETZ) 1 ERJ145
Toulouse (TLS) 1 ERJ145
Venice (VCE) Strasbourg (SXB) 1 ERJ145
*WF: Weekly Frequency

Along with the airberlin crew, the new route to Las Vegas was celebrated by Düsseldorf Airport’s Director Aviation Marketing, Ulrich Topp; Kalle Hansen, airberlin’s Manager Media Cooperation & Events; and Michael Goldsmith, VP International Sales, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Guests of honour were Facebook competition winners Denny Hienzsch and Yvonne Schröter who won a trip and wedding ceremony in Las Vegas.

The aircraft was then welcomed to Sin City by the airport fire department. Posing with airberlin cabin crew and Las Vegas show girls were Randall Walker, Director of Aviation for Clark County; Titus Johnson, airberlin’s VP Sales and Marketing Americas; and Michael Goldsmith, VP International Sales for Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Cake for airberlin’s new route to Los Angeles

Cutting the cake for airberlin’s new route to Los Angeles were Till Bunse, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Berlin Airports; Hartmut Mehdorn, CEO airberlin, and Michael Müller, Mayor and Senator for Urban Development and Environment of Berlin.

On arrival in the City of Angels, airberlin passengers were treated to cake. Councilman Tom La Bonge presented a diploma to airberlin’s VP Sales and Marketing The Americas, Titus Johnson. Flanking them were Wolfgang Drautz, German Consul General in Los Angeles, and Gina Marie Lindsey, CEO Los Angeles World Airports.

  • airberlin expanded with three routes in the last week, of which two were to the US. On 10 May, the airline connected its Düsseldorf (DUS) hub with Las Vegas, NV (LAS). Flights operate twice-weekly with 303-seat A330-200 aircraft. The following day, the airline connected its hub in the German capital, Berlin Tegel (TXL), with Los Angeles, CA (LAX). A330-200s are operated on the route three times weekly. Notably, this is the first time the two cities are connected non-stop. airberlin’s CEO Hartmut Mehdorn commented: “Los Angeles is a major route expansion for our Berlin hub. Attractive destinations such as Los Angeles make our hub an engine of growth for airberlin, for tourism and the economy. With this offer, we particularly want to attract connecting passengers from our German and European route network.” The airline also launched an intra-European route. From Friedrichshafen (FDH) in southernmost Germany, the airline began serving Ibiza (IBZ) with weekly 737-700 flights on 12 May.

Helping to launch Azerbaijan Airlines’ new route from Baku to Istanbul was the airline’s General Manager Turkey, Ilham Asadov, who cut the Eurovision-themed cake with warm support from Maharram Safarli, Assistant to President, Azerbaijan Airlines; and Gökhan Buğday, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport’s CEO.

  • On 10 May, Azerbaijan Airlines inaugurated a new daily service connecting the Azeri capital and Turkey’s largest city. In addition to the existing twice-daily flights to Istanbul Atatürk, the airline now offers non-stop services from Baku (GYD) to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) with its A320 aircraft. There is no direct competition on the route, although Turkish Airlines offers 28 weekly frequencies from Istanbul Atatürk.

A cake of Cambridge University’s famous King’s Colleage and a Jersey cow was baked to welcome Blue Islands’ new weekly service to the East of England. Cutting the cake was Archie Garden, director of Cambridge Airport, flanked by David Surley, Senior Business Development Manager, and Vlasta Pizarro, Airport Commercial Analyst.

  • Blue Islands launched flights between Jersey (JER) in the Channel Islands and Cambridge (CBG) in the east of England on 12 May. Flights now operate once a week, on Saturdays, seasonally until 15 September using 48-seat ATR42s. This is in fact a resumption of services, since flights between the two airports previously operated as far back as in the 1950s. Archie Garden, director of Cambridge Airport, commented: “We are delighted to be welcoming CI Travel and their carrier partner Blue Islands to Cambridge Airport and see this as the beginning of an exciting new phase in the history of the airport. 2012 is such an exciting year for the UK with the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, and Cambridge Airport is poised to welcome its share of international visitors.”

  • On 13 May, Germany’s leisure airline, Condor, launched low-frequency seasonal flights connecting the country’s financial centre, Frankfurt (FRA), and the Croatian holiday destination of Dubrovnik (DBV). Services on the route are now offered with weekly frequency and operated with A320s. Competition on the route comes from Croatia Airlines’ daily flights as well as also weekly flights offered by Lufthansa.

  • Danube Wings, the Slovakian regional carrier, launched operations out of Dole (DLE) in eastern France at the end of last week, using its ATR72 aircraft. As of 13 May, the airline operates weekly to Girona (GRO) on Spain’s Costa Brava. The following day, the airline began operating thrice-weekly domestically to Nice (NCE) on the French Riviera, with flights then continuing on to Angers (ANE) in the west of France.

  • On 13 May, Dragonair relaunched services from its base in Hong Kong (HKG) to Taichung (RMQ) in Taiwan. The airline previously operated the route until May 2009, and now offers services with twice-daily frequencies. Competition in the market comes from Mandarin Airlines and Hong Kong Express, which offer 25 and 14 weekly frequencies respectively.

  • On 12 May, easyJet commenced thrice-weekly services from Bristol (BRS) in southwest England, to Naples (NAP) in southern Italy. The capital of the Italian region of Campania becomes the third Italian destination offered by the low cost carrier from Bristol after Rome Fiumicino and Pisa. easyJet faces competition from the twice-weekly flights offered by Thomson Airways.

Ole Paaske, Aarhus Airport’s CEO (centre), welcomed eurolot’s maiden flight arriving from Gdańsk. A traditional water cannon salute awaited the aircraft upon return in Poland.

  • On 14 May, the regional subsidiary of LOT Polish Airlines, eurolot, launched services on the route from Gdańsk (GDN) in the north of Poland to Aarhus (AAR) in Denmark. The flights, which are operated with ATR72 turboprop aircraft, are offered with thrice-weekly frequencies. Wizz Air briefly operated the route with twice-weekly frequencies in the summer season 2011. 

Finnair’s CEO Mika Vehviläinen and Huang Xing, China’s Ambassador to Finland, hit the gong to open Finnair’s fourth route to China after Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Passengers waiting to board the first flight were also treated to dragon dancing.

  • Finnair continued expanding its Asian network as the Finnish national carrier launched its third route to Mainland China on 9 May, after Beijing and Shanghai. From its Helsinki (HEL) hub, where the oneworld carrier specialises in Europe-Asia transfer traffic, the airline now serves the megacity of Chongqing (CKG) in Southwest China. Flights operate four times weekly with a mixture of A340-300 and A330-300 aircraft. Finnair’s CEO Mika Vehviläinen commented: “We were the first Western European airline to connect Europe with Beijing in 1988, and we see this as the natural next step in our history of building better connections between East and West. I want to thank the Chongqing authorities and the local airport for the excellent cooperation and support for opening this new route. We believe that Chongqing has the potential of developing into a hub for travel between Western China and Europe, both for business and leisure travellers.” For video coverage from the first flight, see YouTube.

  • On 8 May, Flybe’s franchise carrier Loganair launched services from Glasgow (GLA) to Leeds/Bradford (LBA), which replace the long-standing bmi service. Twice-daily departures each weekday are offered, with further weekend frequency to be introduced beginning of September. Loganair’s COO Jonathan Hinkles said: “Loganair’s formula will re-vitalise this crucial air service between Scotland and West Yorkshire and help to ensure that business links between these regions are maintained and developed.” Loganair will operate the route with 34-seat Saab 340B aircraft.

Frontier’s first flight from Denver was welcomed with a water cannon salute.

The long-awaited arrival of low cost services in Great Falls, MT, came true as Frontier’s first flight from Denver was welcomed with a water cannon salute.

  • On 14 May, Frontier launched services from Denver, CO (DEN) to Great Falls, MT (GTF). Flights on the 1,000-kilometre route are offered with four weekly frequencies until mid-September, but their continuation is subject to a performance review. “Community response to our new service has been excellent,” said David Siegel, Frontier’s CEO. Competition on the route comes from United, which offers 14 weekly flights.

Hainan Airlines’ new international, stopping route was welcomed in Taiyuan in northern China. The airport now has a link with Haikou on the tropical island of Hainan, continuing onwards to Singapore.

  • Hainan Airlines launched a new international route on 11 May when the airline began operating from Taiyuan (TYN) in northern China via Haikou (HAK) on the island of Hainan to Singapore (SIN). Flights operate four times weekly with 737-800 aircraft. While the domestic sector is uncontested, the route between Haikou and Singapore is operated in competition with the Singaporean low-cost airlines’ Tiger Airways’ five and Jetstar Asia’s four weekly flights.

  • On 13 May, the Swiss carrier Helvetic Airways launched two new routes out of Bern (BRN), the country capital. Catania (CTA) on the Italian island of Sicily and Palma de Mallorca (PMI) in the Spanish Balearic Islands are now offered with each weekly frequencies using F100 aircraft. Helvetic faces competition on both routes; fellow Swiss regional airline SkyWork offers one and two weekly flights respectively to Catania and Palma de Mallorca.

Cutting the cake welcoming Jetairfly to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, were Zoran Krstevski, GM TAV Macedonia; Elena Nikodinovska, Belgian Honorary Consul; Zafer Mese, Deputy GM in charge of Marketing of TAV Macedonia; and Skopje Alexander the Great Airport Manager Nejat Kurt.

  • Jetairfly added a new destination in Macedonia to its network on 8 May when the Belgian leisure airline in TUI Group began serving the country capital Skopje (SKP). The weekly flights operate from Brussels (BRU) via Ohrid (OHD) on the outbound, returning non-stop to the Belgian capital. Zoran Krstevski, GM TAV Macedonia, commented: “With JetairFly and the new route to Brussels, the citizens of Macedonia have yet another important connection to one of the most significant European destinations for us. This route will enable a faster and more comfortable voyage to the country for our citizens working in Benelux countries. Of course, at the same time it is a great opportunity to increase tourist income, confirmed by the great number of travel arrangements with tour operators from these countries.”

Lufthansa’s captain was given the honour to cut both the ribbon and the cake when the airline arrived in Pula in Croatia from Munich. Joining the pilot were Bruno Rogovic, GM Pula Airport, and Georg Lazzari, Lufthansa’s GM Croatia.

  • Lufthansa continued its expansion to the Mediterranean on 12 May when the German carrier began serving Pula (PUY) on the Croatian coast from its Munich (MUC) hub. Notably, Pula also won a EURO ANNIE prize this week for having attracted five new airlines since last year. Using Q400 aircraft operated by Augsburg Airways, Lufthansa now flies its new route once weekly. During August, frequencies will increase to twice-weekly with the addition of a Sunday operation.

London Oxford Airport’s Head of Sales and Route Development, Tony Farmer; Manx2’s Anne Hartley, Business Development Executive; Judith Musgrave, Senior Manager; and David Buck, Managing Director, together with the front line airport staff, celebrated the arrival of scheduled Manx2 flights to both the Isle of Man and Jersey in Oxford.

  • On 8 May, the regional carrier Manx2 launched new route from its base in Isle of Man (IOM) to Jersey (JER) in the British English Channel Islands, which will operate via Oxford (OXF). The stopping service is offered with six weekly frequencies and operated with 19-seat Jetstream 31 equipment.

Holding a press conference in Florence for Niki's new route to the Tuscan airport from its hub in Austria's capital Vienna were Christian Lesjak, Managing Director Niki; Susanna Sciacovelli, airberlin's General Director for Italy; and Biagio Marinò, CEO Florence Airport.

Holding a press conference in Florence for Niki's new route to the Tuscan airport from its hub in Austria's capital Vienna were Christian Lesjak, Managing Director Niki; Susanna Sciacovelli, airberlin's General Director for Italy; and Biagio Marinò, CEO Florence Airport. The airline now flies the route six times weekly.

  • On 14 May, the airberlin-owned Austrian airline Niki commenced services from Vienna (VIE) to Florence (FLR), making the Tuscan city the airline’s sixth destination in Italy. Flights to Florence are offered with six weekly frequencies and operated with Q400s. Competition on the route comes from Austrian Airlines’ daily frequencies. Christian Lesjak, Managing Director of NIKI, commented: “The development of the Vienna hub within the airberlin group means more transfer connections, more frequencies and better departure times for airberlin and NIKI passengers. Via the Vienna hub, travellers from Florence can reach many more destinations such as Paris, Copenhagen or eastern European cities.”

Upon arrival in Katowice, the maiden OLT Express flight from Poznan was made welcome with a traditional watercannon salute.

Upon arrival in Katowice, the maiden OLT Express flight from Poznan was made welcome with a traditional watercannon salute.

  • On 14 May, OLT Express inaugurated domestic services from Poznan (POZ) in western Poland to Katowice (KTW) in the south and Szczecin (SZZ) in the northwest of the country. Six and 18 weekly frequencies respectively are offered at launch, with connection opportunities offered in Poznan between the two routes.

Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker was welcomed to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, by Zagreb Airport’s CEO Tonci Peovic. Joining them were the airline’s VP Europe, Paul Johannes. In the terminal, traditional Croatian folkore dancers and musicians welcomed both the VIPs and passengers.

  • Qatar Airways continued expanding its network in Eastern Europe, having added the capital of Croatia to its Doha (DOH) network on 9 May. The Gulf carrier then extended its operations to the Hungarian capital Budapest (BUD) to continue to Zagreb (ZAG). Flights operate daily with A320 aircraft. This makes Zagreb Qatar Airways’ 30th European destination. Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker said: “Whether it’s Bangkok, Dubai, Shanghai or Manila, our seamless connections from Zagreb to the East, via our Doha hub, will provide holidaymakers and business travellers from Croatia with a wider network of destinations to choose from.”

Groningen welcomed Ryanair’s three new routes – one of which was launched in the week analysed in this issue of – with this suitcase cake. The airport in northern Netherlands is now connected with Milan Bergamo twice-weekly. Enjoying pieces of the cake were Jana Skornicka, Ryanair’s Sales & Marketing Executive, and Monique Clarisse, Marketing & Sales Manager, Groningen Airport Eelde. The first flight arrived with 101 passengers.

  • Ryanair launched five new routes in the last week. Notably, Groningen (GRQ) in the Netherlands, which just got a connection with Milan Bergamo (BGY), is a new destination for the ultra low-cost airline.
Date Origin Destination WF*
14-May-12 Budapest (BUD) Weeze (NRN) 4
12-May-12 Edinburgh (EDI) Szczecin (SZZ) 2
14-May-12 Milan Bergamo (BGY) Groningen (GRQ) 2
08-May-12 Paphos (PFO) Oslo Rygge (RYG) 1
11-May-12 Trapani (TPS) Leipzig/Halle (LEJ) 2

  • On 13 May, TRIP inaugurated new route connecting the mining city of Ipatinga (IPN) in the south-eastern Brazilian state of Minhas Gerais, and Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont (SDU). TRIP offers six weekly frequencies on the route, all of which are operated with ATR42 turboprops. Evaristo Mascarenhas, TRIP’s Marketing and Sales Director, said: “In principle, the new route favours business passengers allowing for day-return trips, and becomes an attractive option for those travelling between the two locations.” TRIP is the first airline to operate the route.

  • On 13 May, Tunis Air launched new route connecting the Tunisian island of Djerba (DJE) and Tripoli (TIP). Flights to the Libyan capital operate with twice-weekly frequencies and the uncontested 260-kilometre hop is operated with the airline’s 737-600. The airline already serves Tripoli with 17 weekly frequencies from Tunis.

  • On 14 May, United commenced coast-to-coast services from San Francisco (SFO) to Washington Reagan (DCA). Flights on the 3,900-kilometre route to the US capital’s downtown airport are offered with daily frequencies and using 737-700s. Although there is no direct competition on the route, Virgin America offers 27 weekly flights to Washington Dulles and United itself serves Dulles with as many as 64 weekly flights.

  • On 14 May, UTair of Russia commenced services from Nizhny Novgorod (GOJ) to Kazan (KZN). Services on the new 350-kilometre route are offered with thrice-weekly frequencies and operated with Czech-made L410 turbo-props operated by UTair Express. There is no competition on the route, which was previously served by a number of carriers, including Moscow Airlines and Tatarstan Airlines.

WestJet arrives in Chicago O’Hare with services from Calgary and Vancouver

WestJet’s Vancouver staff was delighted to welcome new flights to Chicago O’Hare, which the Canadian low-cost airline now operates in competition with Chicago-based United Airlines.

  • On 14 May, Canada’s second-largest carrier WestJet commenced serving two trans-border routes, both of which are bound for Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD), making it the latest destination in the airline’s network. Daily services from both Calgary (YYC) and Vancouver (YVR) are operated with 737-700 aircraft. United provides competition in both markets, as it offers 26 and 27 respective weekly departures from each city. John MacLeod, WestJet’s VP Network Management and Alliances, said: “The launch of service to Chicago represents another step in the execution of our strategy to offer both Canadian and American business and leisure travellers greater access to key markets in both countries.”


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