New airline routes launched (15 – 21 May)

Kenya Airways’ Nairobi to Delhi

Cutting the cake welcoming Kenya Airways to Delhi were Taner Sari, CEO Celebi India; Kiran Jain, Delhi Airport’s Head Airline Marketing & Route Development; and Bennet Stephens, Kenya Airways’ Area Manager India. A welcome reception was held on the air bridge as the aircraft arrived and the ribbon was untied: Marcel Hungerbuehler, COO DIAL; Mohan Chandra, Kenya Airways’ Commercial Director; Evanson Mwaniki, Chairman, Kenya Airways; Festus Kaberia, Kenyan High Commissioner to India; and Jain.

  • Kenya Airways expanded its Asian network out of its Nairobi (NBO) hub on 15 May, connecting the Kenyan capital with the capital of India; Delhi (DEL). Flights operate four times weekly – on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, returning overnight the following day – with 767-300ER aircraft. This is the airline’s second route to India after its flights to Mumbai. Kenya Airways’ CEO Titus Naikuni pointed out that India and China are of special importance to the airline’s growth strategy. He commented: “We are growing our presence in the Asian continent. Our decision to fly to New Delhi is informed by the growing economic linkages between Asia and Africa.”

Ryanair’s Billund to Budapest

Budapest Airport welcomed Ryanair’s new route between Billund in Denmark and the Hungarian capital with a Lego cake in honour of the home of Legoland. Presenting the cake to the crew was the airport’s Head of Airline Development, Patrick Bohl. Bohl was then joined by the first passenger in cutting the ribbon for the new service.

Cologne/Bonn in western Germany welcomed Ryanair to the airport. The cake baked to welcome the airline plays on the airline CEO Michael O’Leary’s statement that flight attendants should reduce their body weight in order to reduce the fleet’s fuel consumption. Posing with the cake were Cologne/Bonn Airport’s Marketing Manager Uli Stiller, Ryanair’s Sales & Marketing Manager for Germany, Henrike Schmidt, and the Ryanair crew.

Celebrating Ryanair’s first flight from Weeze to Chania on the Greek island of Crete were the Greek dance group ‘Chara’ along with Ryanair’s Sales and Marketing team for Germany, executive Jana Skornicka and manager Henrike Schmidt, as well as Weeze Airport’s CEO Ludger van Bebber and chairman Herman Buurman.

Celebrating Ryanair’s first flight from Weeze to Chania on the Greek island of Crete were the Greek dance group ‘Chara’ along with Ryanair’s Sales and Marketing team for Germany, executive Jana Skornicka and manager Henrike Schmidt, as well as Weeze Airport’s CEO Ludger van Bebber and chairman Herman Buurman.

Date Origin Destination WF* Competition (WF*)
16-May-12 Budapest (BUD) Billund (BLL) 3
15-May-12 Girona (GRO) Cologne/Bonn (CGN) 6
15-May-12 Palma de Mallorca (PMI) Cologne/Bonn (CGN) 7 germanwings (23), airberlin (20), Condor (7), TUIfly (6)
16-May-12 Palma de Mallorca (PMI) Groningen (GRQ) 2 (2)
16-May-12 Marseille (MRS) Groningen (GRQ) 2
15-May-12 Paris Beauvais (BVA) Pula (PUY) 2
15-May-12 Weeze (NRN) Bilbao (BIO) 3
15-May-12 Weeze (NRN) Chania (CHQ) 2
18-May-12 Weeze (NRN) Jerez (XRY) 2
15-May-12 Weeze (NRN) Mahon (MAH) 2
15-May-12 Weeze (NRN) Pescara (PSR) 3
15-May-12 Weeze (NRN) Thessaloniki (SKG) 3
*WF: Weekly Frequency
Source: new route database, Innovata data for w/c 21 May 2012

The rest of this week’s new routes

  • Aegean Airlines launched a new route from Thessaloniki (SKG) to Tel Aviv (TLV) on 17 May. The second-largest Greek city is now connected with Israel’s main airport with twice-weekly flights, which will be operated with A320s on a seasonal basis until 20 September. Aegean already serves Tel Aviv with year-round daily flights from Athens.

  • AeroMéxico launched flights to its 10th US destination out of México City (MEX) on 21 May. Flights to Washington Dulles, VA (IAD) are now offered with daily frequencies and operate with 130-seat 737-700s. United provides direct competition on the route, which it also serves with daily flights. In addition to its services from Mexico City, AeroMéxico’s US network includes further 12 routes from other Mexican airports.

  • Aerosvit has added two new destinations in the Russian Federation to its network from its Kiev Boryspil (KBP) hub. On 19 May, the Ukrainian airline commenced serving Rostov (ROV) in southern Russia, near the Caucasus, and now offers five weekly ERJ145-operated flights in competition with Donavia’s thrice-weekly services. The following day, the airline launched scheduled services also from Kiev Boryspil to Tyumen (TJM), which is the oldest Russian settlement in Siberia and an important commercial centre in the Ural Mountains. The 2,370-kilometre route is operated with thrice-weekly frequencies using 737 aircraft. Yamal Airlines’ once-weekly service provides competition on this seasonal route, which Aerosvit will operate until 9 September.

  • Air Namibia expanded its network in southern Africa in the last week as the airline launched three new international routes with the arrival of its fourth 37-seat ERJ135. From its base in the Namibian capital Windhoek (WDH), the airline began serving neighbouring Botswana’s capital Gaborone (GBE) in the east and Ondjiva (VPE) in southern Angola to the north on 15 May. Each of the two routes is operated three times weekly. The following day, Air Namibia launched four weekly flights to the capital of Zimbabwe; Harare (HRE). This is the first time that there is a non-stop service between Windhoek and Ondjiva, while Gaborone and Harare haven’t been connected with the Namibian capital since the 1990s.

  • Air Nigeria launched two key international routes in the last week. It resumed services to the UK on 16 May when the airline previously known as Virgin Nigeria launched services between Lagos (LOS) and London Gatwick (LGW). Flights operate with the 268-seat A330-200 aircraft it leases from EgyptAir, initially three times weekly, but increasing to daily from 16 June. The route was last operated by the airline under the Virgin Nigeria name until January 2009. Indirect competition to the route at London Heathrow comes from each daily flights on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Arik Air. On 17 May, Air Nigeria began operating three times weekly with the same aircraft from Lagos to Johannesburg (JNB) in South Africa. Competition comes from South African Airways’ and Arik Air’s each daily flights.

  • AirPhil Express inaugurated its first international routes from its base in Clark (CRK), which it only opened at the turn of seasons earlier this year. Beginning 17 May, four weekly services to Hong Kong (HKG) and thrice-weekly to Singapore (SIN) are available; all of them are operated with A320s. While there is no competition on the route to Singapore, SEAir provides nine and Cebu Pacific seven weekly competing services to Hong Kong.

  • Allegiant Air expanded its base at Orlando Sanford, FL (SFB) on 16 May, launching twice-weekly flights – on Thursdays and Sundays – to Bloomington, IL (BMI), using its 150-seat MD80 aircraft. This is the ultra-low cost airline’s first route to Central Illinois Regional Airport. Currently, indirect competition at Orlando International comes from AirTran/Southwest, which operates twice-weekly times weekly on the route, but the airline is pulling out of Bloomington at the beginning of June. However, Frontier is taking up the same route on 25 May, operating three times weekly.

  • Azul launched services from Vitória (VIX) in the south-eastern Brazilian state of Espírito Santo to the capital of Pernambuco, Recife (REC). The flights, which commenced on 21 May, are now offered with six weekly frequencies and operated with the airline’s 106-seat E-190s and 118-seat E-195s.

Bahamasair launches base in Freeport, Grand Bahama

Bahamasair, operated by Xtra Airways, now serves Baltimore/Washington from its new base in Freeport on Grand Bahama. BWI is one of four US destinations – all new to Bahamasair – to have a new connection with the Caribbean island.

  • Bahamasair launched four routes to the US on 17 and 18 May as it set up a secondary base in Freeport (FPO) on Grand Bahama. The Bahamian flag carrier then launched each twice-weekly flights to Baltimore/Washington, MD (BWI), Louisville, KY (SDF), Raleigh-Durham, NC (RDU) and Richmond, VA (RIC) with 737-400s operated by Xtra Airways of the US. Notably, all four destinations are new to the airline, which has its main base in Nassau.

  • Brussels Airlines took over the route between Brussels (BRU) and Basel (BSL) from fully Lufthansa-owned Swiss International Air Lines on 21 May. The Belgian Star Alliance member then began operating 11 times weekly to EuroAirport, at the borders between Switzerland, France and Germany. Flights operate with 97-seat Avro RJ100 aircraft, except during the summer holiday season between mid-July and the end of August, when smaller Q400s will be used instead. Although there currently is no competition on the route, easyJet will begin operating six weekly flights at the start of the winter scheduling season.

  • Druk Air, the national airline of Bhutan in the Himalayas, expanded its Indian network on 15 May. The airline now flies its 114-seat A319s from the operationally challenging airport at Paro (PBH) to Mumbai (BOM), India’s largest city. This is the airline’s sixth destination in India after Kolkata, Delhi, Bagdogra, Gauhati and Gaya. The new route is operated twice-weekly, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Oleg Zasadnyi, Lviv City Council Euro 2012 Committee; Jarosław Drozd, Polish Consul General in Lviv; Mateusz Kokosiński, eurolot’s Commercial Manager; and Roman Gontarev, Lviv Airport’s General Director, cut the inaugural ribbon minutes after eurolot’s maiden arrival at the Western Ukrainian airport.

  • eurolot, the Polish regional carrier, launched services from Kraków (KRK) in southern Poland and Wrocław (WRO) in the southwest of the country to Lviv (LWO) in the western part of neighbouring Ukraine on 16 May. Flights are offered with four and two weekly frequencies respectively, and are operated with the airline’s fleet of 64-seat ATR72s. The two routes come only a week after the airline started services from Gdansk in northern Poland to Aarhus in Denmark, and is part of eurolot’s new international expansion. Notably, this is the first time Lviv is connected non-stop by air with regional airports in Poland. Poland and the Ukraine are also joint hosts of the upcoming EURO 2012 football tournament.

  • Flybe inaugurated services on the route from Southampton (SOU) on the southern UK coast to Tours (TUF) in central France on 16 May. Flights are now available with a twice-weekly frequency seasonally until mid-September, and are operated with Q400s. This is notably Flybe’s 11th route to France from Southampton. Southampton Airport’s MD Dave Lees commented: “Tours is expected to be a popular destination for holidaymakers from the South East looking to enjoy the beautiful Loire Valley and we’re thrilled to be able to offer this regular Flybe service. It will also give those living in and around Tours a convenient route into the UK this summer for the various sporting and cultural celebrations, thanks to our excellent onward transport links.”

In Bismarck, the ribbon was cut to welcome Frontier’s new route from Denver. The route to the North Dakota city, which competes with United Express, is operated five times weekly.

Frontier’s ‘Flip the Dolphin’ aircraft departed Colorado Springs on the inaugural flight to Phoenix on 18 May, starting a major expansion of the airline in the city.

Frontier’s ‘Flip the Dolphin’ aircraft departed Colorado Springs on the inaugural flight to Phoenix on 18 May, starting a major expansion of the airline in the city.

  • Frontier expanded its presence in Colorado, the US state analysed this week, with seven new routes; four major cities from Colorado Springs, CO (COS) with 138-seat A319s and three regional destinations from Denver, CO (DEN) with 99-seat E-190s. Daniel Shurz, Frontier’s SVP Commercial, commented the expansion: “We’ve offered low fares to Colorado Springs for over four years and we’re delighted to offer low-fare, time-saving nonstop travel options to customers in both Colorado Springs and throughout southern Colorado.” To find out more about Frontier’s network developments, see this week’s interview.
Date Origin Destination WF* A/c Competition (WF*)
18-May-12 Colorado Springs, CO (COS) Los Angeles, CA (LAX) 6 A319 United (15)
18-May-12 Colorado Springs, CO (COS) Phoenix, AZ (PHX) 7 A319
18-May-12 Colorado Springs, CO (COS) Seattle-Tacoma, WA (SEA) 4 A319
20-May-12 Colorado Springs, CO (COS) Portland, OR (PDX) 3 A319
17-May-12 Denver, CO (DEN) Bismarck, ND (BIS) 5 E190 United (22)
17-May-12 Denver, CO (DEN) Cedar Rapids, IA (CID) 4 E190 United (16)
18-May-12 Denver, CO (DEN) Bloomington, IL (BMI) 4 E190
*WF: Weekly Frequency
Source: new route database, Innovata data for w/c 21 May 2012

  • Georgian Airways, the privately owned flag carrier of Georgia, expanded its European network on 15 May when the airline relaunched flights between its base in the Georgian capital Tbilisi (TBS) and the French capital’s main airport Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). The route is operated twice-weekly with 108-seat 737-500s. The airline has operated the route in the past, having dropped services in 2010.

Cutting the cake celebrating Germania’s first flight to Palma de Mallorca from Rostock in northern Germany were Rostock’s airport director Maria Anna Muller and the captain of the first flight. The Balearic island will be served weekly during the summer season, until October.

  • Germania expanded its Mediterranean leisure network on 16 May when the airline launched a weekly service from Rostock (RLG) by Germany’s Baltic Sea coast to Spain’s Palma de Mallorca (PMI). Flights operate with 737-700 aircraft seasonally until October. This is the airline’s eighth route to Mallorca from Germany and Switzerland.

  • On 20 May, germanwings took over yet another route out of Stuttgart (STR) in southwestern Germany from its parent Lufthansa. The 420-kilometre route to the Belgian capital Brussels (BRU) is initially offered with 11 weekly flights, increasing to 16 in mid-June.

  •, the British low-cost accier, launched weekly services from Glasgow (GLA) in Scotland to Ibiza (IBZ) in Spain’s Balearic Islands on 18 May. On the same day, also weekly fights were launched from Manchester (MAN) in northern England to the Croatian coastal town of Pula (PUY), followed by thrice-weekly services to from Manchester to Toulouse (TLS) in southern France a day later. The airline faces competition on two out of the three routes. The market to Ibiza is served by Thomson’s two and Thomas Cook’s one weekly frequency. Additionally, Thomson operates weekly services on the route to Croatia.

In West Palm Beach in Florida, jetBlue’s new route to Puerto Rico was celebrated with a Caribbean-themed cake, while the terminal was filled with dance and music. On arrival in San Juan, Luis Rivera-Marín, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company; Chad Meyerson, Director Global Sales at jetBlue; Janid Ortiz, Manager Regional Marketing at jetBlue; and Warren Christie, VP jetBlue University, posed for the camera.

  • jetBlue launched two new routes in the last week; one between Puerto Rico and Florida, and one intra-state in Massachusetts. On 15 May, the airline began operating daily from San Juan (SJU) to West Palm Beach, FL (PBI) in southeast Florida using 150-seat A320s. John Checketts, jetBlue’s director of route planning, said: “With the addition of West Palm Beach, we now serve five destinations in Florida from The Commonwealth, which speaks to JetBlue’s popularity with the Puerto Rican community. We look forward to continued growth as we move into a new home in San Juan and ensure that we deliver the best experience in the skies every day for our Floridian and Puerto Rican customers – including convenience of frequent flights, excellence in customer service and superior product offerings.” Two days later, on 17 May, the airline launched the 150-kilometre route from Boston, MA (BOS) to Nantucket, MA (ACK). Flights operate daily with 100-seat E-190 aircraft, competing with 9-seat Cessna 402 operator Cape Air’s 80 flights a week. The new route is the second-shortest route in jetBlue’s network after its intra-Caribbean flights between San Juan and St Thomas.

  • The Dutch national airline KLM reinstated the route from its Amsterdam (AMS) hub to Lusaka (LUN) after a break of 16 years, making the African city its 72nd international destination. Flights to the Zambian capital are now offered with thrice-weekly frequencies; all flights will be operated with A330-200s. KLM’s Managing Director, Erik Varwijk, explained that “KLM, which is a shareholder in Kenya Airways, had decided to add Zambia to its direct flights destinations after noticing increased traffic between Zambia and Amsterdam via Kenya on Kenya Airways”.

  • On 16 May, OLT Express expanded its presence in Rzeszów (RZE) with services to Poznań (POZ) and Warsaw (WAW), which will be served with five and six weekly frequencies respectively. All services are operated with ATR72s. While LOT Polish Airlines provides 20 weekly flights on the route to Warsaw, there is no competition on the route to Poznań. The new routes are part of OLT Express’ continuous domestic expansion, but the airline already announced a European expansion for the coming winter season

Düsseldorf Airport’s Director Aviation Marketing, Ulrich Topp, welcomed OrenAir’s representative for Germany, Heinrich Thissen (in background), and the airline’s crew after the first flight from Novosibirsk.

Düsseldorf Airport’s Director Aviation Marketing, Ulrich Topp, welcomed OrenAir’s representative for Germany, Heinrich Thissen (in background), and the airline’s crew after the first flight from Novosibirsk landed at the German airport. (Photo: Andreas Wiese)

  • On 19 May, Russia’s OrenAir commenced low frequency services from Novosibirsk (OVB) in Siberia to Düsseldorf (DUS) in western Germany. The new route is offered with weekly frequency and operated with 737-800s. This seasonal service ends on 15 September and is the airline’s only route operated from Novosibirsk. OrenAir already serves Düsseldorf from four other Russian airports; Orenburg since 2009, with Omsk and Chelyabinsk added in 2010, and Barnaul in 2011.

  • On 16 May, the Swiss regional airline SkyWork inaugurated services from its Bern (BRN) base to Nice (NCE), the airline’s first destination in France. The Mediterranean hotspot is now served thrice-weekly with 31-seat Do328 aircraft on a year-round basis. In addition, on 19 May, the airline added another French city to its network from Bern; flights to the Corsican town of Figari (FSC) are offered weekly until 29 September. There is no competition on either of the routes.

  • South African Airways on 17 May extended flights between Johannesburg (JNB) and Pointe Noire (PNR) in the Republic of the Congo to continue to Cotonou (COO) in Benin. The Star Alliance airline’s flights operate twice-weekly with A319 aircraft. Direct competition on the stopping service comes from Interair South Africa’s weekly service, while Trans Air Congo and Air Mali compete on the Pointe Noire to Cotonou sector with three and two weekly flights respectively. SAA has local rights on the sector between the Congo and Benin. Theunis Potgieter, SAA’s GM Commercial, commented: “Adding even more new routes to our African route network demonstrates our commitment to growth on the continent. Our aim remains to continue exploring possibilities for our customers who travel between countries on the continent for business or tourism.”

Cutting the ribbon for Spirit’s new route to Orlando, Florida from Latrobe, Pennsylvania was none other than golfing legend Arnold Palmer, after whom the airport is named. “This is something that we've been rooting for for years,” said Palmer who is a Latrobe native, but lives in Orlando.

  • Spirit Airlines launched two new daily services with its 178-seat A320 aircraft on 17 May. The ultra-low cost airline now flies from Atlanta, GA (ATL) to the entertainment city Atlantic City, NJ (ACY). “Our super low fares between Atlanta and Atlantic City are allowing even more travelers to save money on travel and take advantage of the casinos, beaches and all that the Jersey Shore has to offer,” said Mark Kopczak, Spirit’s Senior Director of Network Planning. From Orlando, FL (MCO), the airline now also flies to Latrobe, PA (LBE), which is marketed as a secondary airport for Pittsburgh. This is the airline’s third Florida route to Latrobe’s Arnold Palmer Regional Airport. “I am particularly delighted that Spirit is inaugurating this daily service between my hometown of Latrobe and Orlando, a great resort city and my winter home,” said golf legend and Latrobe native Arnold Palmer. Notably, neither of the two new routes are from Spirit base airports.

The governor of Istanbul, Ahmed Aydin, and Turkish Airlines’ CEO, Dr Temel Kotil, were made welcome to Rwanda by the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, and Minister of Infrastructure, Albert Nsengiyumva.

  • On 16 May, Turkish Airlines commenced services to its 16th African destination from Istanbul Atatürk (IST). Flights to the Rwandan capital Kigali (KGL) will depart with thrice-weekly frequencies, and proceed via Entebbe in Uganda on the return leg. Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, said: “We want to benefit from this route as Turkish investors explore the Rwandan market. Rwandans should also see what to offer to that market.”

Nguyen Duc Tam, VietJet Air's Deputy General Director, presented a gift to Luong Van Thanh, Director of Cam Ranh International Airport in Nha Trang, to celebrate the low-cost airline’s new route from the country capital. Meanwhile, passengers on the first flight were given baseball caps as gifts by the airline’s for the occasion tropically themed cabin crew.

  • VietJet Air, the Vietnamese low-cost airline that launched in December last year, has launched its third route after Ho Chi Minh City – Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – Da Nang. The airline now flies from the country capital Hanoi (HAN) in the north to Nha Trang (CXR) on the country’s south central coast. Flights operate daily with the airline’s single fleet of 180-seat A320s, competing with Vietnam Airlines’ 28 flights a week. From 1 June, Jetstar Pacific, the low-cost airline in which the national carrier is a shareholder, will also compete on the route with daily flights.

  • WestJet added a new domestic Canadian destination to its network on 17 May. From Vancouver (YVR) on the Pacific coast, the airline now flies daily to Whitehorse (YXY), the capital of Yukon, the territory bordering Alaska. Flights are operated with 119-seat 737-600 aircraft and competes with Air Canada’s twice-daily and Air North’s 13 weekly flights on the same route. John MacLeod, WestJet’s VP Network Management and Alliances, commented: “Whitehorse’s impressive landscape and year-round outdoor adventures make it an ideal getaway for any traveller. We’re also pleased to offer residents of the Yukon daily access to WestJet’s 75-city North American, Mexican and Caribbean network.”

Cutting the ribbon welcoming Yamal Airlines’ Moscow route to Gothenburg in Sweden were the Russian interpreter Tatiana Gueorguieva-Ehling and Gothenburg Landvetter Airport’s director Olle Sundin. This is the first time in over a decade that Sweden’s second-largest city has a non-stop link with Russia’s capital.

  • Yamal Airlines launched its first Western European route on 21 May when the airline connected the Russian capital airport Moscow Domodedovo (DME) with Gothenburg (GOT) in western Sweden. Using 50-seat CRJ200 aircraft, the Russian airline operates the 1,590-kilometre route three times weekly; on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Notably, this is the first time Sweden’s second-largest city has a non-stop link with the Russian capital since Aeroflot dropped its services in 2000. Andrew Dubrov, CFO Yamal Airlines, said: “Yamal Airlines is in the program to increase its fleet and expand the network of international new routes. May 21st a direct scheduled flight to Gothenburg opens. We are delighted to offer our passengers a high quality service and convenient schedule and ability to carry flight out of Domodedovo to more than 200 destinations with our own and our partner’s flights. The direct air services will open new opportunities for tourism and business.” Sabine Söndergaard, CEO of Göteborg & Co, added: “There has long been a strong desire for service to Russia from our business partners. A large and exciting market is now opening up for our destination.”


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