New airline routes launched (27 November – 3 December 2012)

JAL’s Tokyo Narita to San Diego

A bridge to Tokyo Narita: JAL’s President, Yoshiharu Ueki; and Thella Bowens, CEO of the San Diego Airport Authority (pictured third and fourth left respectively); helped launch the airline’s “shortcut to Asia.”

  • JAL became the first carrier to launch a route to Asia from San Diego, CA (SAN) on 2 December, as it launched non-stop services to Tokyo Narita (NRT). The 9,000-kilometre route is operated with one of the airline’s 787s, making San Diego the third, after Seattle and Boston, US city to boast long-haul Dreamliner flights. During the launch ceremony, JAL’s President, Yoshiharu Ueki, said: “Flying directly into San Diego International Airport, which is conveniently located in the heart of the city, offers transpacific travellers a long-anticipated, efficient and time-saving option.” Before the arrival of JAL’s four-weekly service, San Diego was the largest US city without nonstop flights to Asia with nearly half a million people travelling between the two annually.

Fastjet’s Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro

The launch of Fastjet service to Kilimanjaro was celebrated with a small-scale cake representation of the region’s natural beauty, which was baked by the airport’s staff. Ed Winter, Fastjet’s CEO, and Charles Tizeba, Tanzania’s Deputy Transport Minister helped launch the airline’s inaugural flight in Dar es Salaam.

Ed Winter, CEO of the new airline, then travelled to Mwanza located on the southern shores of Lake Victoria – Fastjet’s second route launched on 29 November.

  • Fastjet, the latest venture of Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet, commenced operations on 29 November with two intra-Tanzanian routes. The carrier, which operates an all-A319 fleet, started flying from Dar es Salaam (DRS) to both Kilimanjaro (JRO), the self-styled gateway to Africa’s wildlife heritage located in the north-east of the country, and Mwanza (MWZ) on the southern shores of Lake Victoria. Twice-daily departures are offered on each route, both of which face competition from Precision Air’s respective 35 and 21 weekly frequencies.

The rest of this week’s new routes

  • Aero Contractors, which concentrates on servicing Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, launched daily flights on the domestic route from Abuja (ABV) to Calabar (CBQ) on 1 December. Services on the route will be offered using the airline’s 737-500. Competition on the route comes from Arik Air’s daily departures.

  • Afriqiyah Airways, which added flights to Casablanca in the preceding week, resumed services on the route from Tripoli (TIP) to the German city of Düsseldorf (DUS), which it previously operated between January 2008 and July 2011. Beginning on 3 December, the airline offers thrice-weekly services on the 2,100-kilometre route, which is its fourth in Europe after Istanbul Atatürk, London Gatwick and Rome Fiumicino. All flights are operated with A320s.

Air Arabia became the first Middle Eastern carrier to serve Kosovo, following the launch of flights to Pristina. Celebrating in Pristina were Albion Idrizi, Air Arabia's Representative in Kosovo; Mohamed Ahmed, Air Arabia's Group Director Operations; crew operating on the inaugural flight; Pristina Airport's Omer Sozener, COO; Ersen Shileku; Airport Coordination Manager; Jeton Istogu; Operations Control Center Manager.

  • Air Arabia, which expanded its European reach from Sharjah (SHJ) with new services to the Ukraine and Russia in October, now also connects the third most populous city in the UAE and Pristina (PRN) in the Balkans. Beginning on 29 November, twice-weekly flights are offered on the 3,700-kilometre route to the Kosovo capital. Notably, Pristina is also Air Arabia’s western-most destination in Europe, where it operates to a total of 10 destinations, mostly in Russia and the Ukraine. Adel Ali, Air Arabia’s Group CEO, said: “Air Arabia is delighted to become the first UAE carrier to offer scheduled services to Kosovo. We are confident that our value-driven product will further strengthen the ties between the two countries.” In addition, Basra (BSR) is now the airline’s third destination in Iraq, following the October launch of services to Erbil (which won’s Route of the Week prize) and to Najaf (April 2011). Thrice-weekly services commenced on 2 December.

Celebrating the arrival of Air Europa to Brussels with a themed cake were Léon Verhallen, Brussels Airport’s Head of Aviation Marketing; Felipe Formariz, Director of the Tourist Office of Spain in Brussels; and Imanol Perez, Air Europa’s Director Marketing & Sales.

Santa Cruz Viru Viru welcomed Air Europa’s inaugural service with thick fog. Aerosur previously operated the route before it run into financial trouble earlier this year.

  • Air Europa launched its fifth route from Madrid (MAD) to South America on 29 November, and now offers twice-weekly flights to Santa Cruz Viru Viru (VVI). Services on the 8,900-kilometre route to Bolivia’s main airport are operated using the A330-200. Olavi Linkola, the airline’s GM Bolivia, commented: “Dynamic growth not only in Bolivia but in the region as a whole is not a secret. The new route will help us grow in South America as the economic exchange between Spain and Bolivia increases.” Air Europa will face competition on the route when Boliviana de Aviación launches its four weekly services on 7 December. In addition, Air Europa commenced flights from the Spanish capital to Brussels (BRU), a route on which its 13 weekly flights challenge Iberia’s 26 and Brussels Airlines’ 11 weekly frequencies. All operations are carried out using E190s.

  • Air India resumed services on the route from Delhi (DEL) to Dhaka (DAC) in neighbouring Bangladesh, which it previously served until December 2007, on 3 December. Daily services will now be operated using the A320 in competition with Jet Airways’ also daily flights.

  • Air Onix commenced weekly service from its base in Simferopol (SIP) in the Ukraine, to Tel Aviv (TLV) on 29 November. The Crimea-based Air Onix was launched in 2007 and serves a number of international routes in the region. Flights on the 1,500-kilometre route are operated with 737-500. AeroSvit’s weekly service provides competition on the route.

In Busan, helping to launch AirAsia Japan’s second route to South Korea were the airlines CEO, Kazuyuki Iwakata; and CFO, Uchiyama Masayuki.

  • AirAsia Japan launches its second South Korean route from Tokyo Narita (NRT), following the launch of services to Seoul Incheon in late October (which resulted in an instant Route of the Week prize from!). On 27 November, the airline added services from the Tokyo airport to Busan (PUS), located on the south-eastern most tip of the Korean peninsula. Daily, A320-operated flights face competition from existing services by JAL (26 weekly frequencies), Air Busan and Korean Airlines (7 each).

  • Ak Bars Aero expanded its offering in Nizhny Novgorod (GOJ) on 3 December, and now offers flights to Astrakhan (ASF), which sits on the left bank of the Volga river, north of the Caspian Sea. Thrice-weekly departures are offered on the 1,200-kilometre route; all will be operated by CRJ200s.

Alitalia fills the missing MEB3-airport link at Rome Fiumicino

Cutting the ribbon for the inauguration of Alitalia’s new service to Abu Dhabi in Rome were the airline’s VP Alliances & Network Agreeements, Andrea Tucci; Marco Malato, Ethiad Airways’ GM South Europe; and Sergio Berlenghi, AdR’s Head of Aviation Commercial Department.

Cake ceremony in honour of Alitalia’s inaugural service to Abu Dhabi was performed by Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister for Foreign Trade; Giorgio Starace, the Italian Ambassador to the UAE; and senior executives from Etihad Airways, Alitalia and ADAC. Andrea Tucci, Alitalia’s VP Alliances & Network Agreements, said: “This new route strengthens the partnership between Alitalia and Etihad Airways, developed in December 2009 with a code-sharing agreement.”

  • Alitalia inaugurated flights on the 4,300-kilometre route from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Abu Dhabi (AUH), which has been the only unserved MEB3-airport without direct services to the Eternal City (flights to both Dubai and Doha are served by the respective hub carriers). Beginning on 1 December, Alitalia deploys one of its A330s to provide four-weekly frequencies on the route.

Aruba-based Tiara Air inaugurated flights to its first US destination

Upon arrival in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Tiara Air Aruba’s inaugural flight from Aruba was welcomed with a traditional water cannon salute.

  • Tiara Air Aruba inaugurated flights to its first US destination from Aruba (AUA) on 27 November. The 1,800-kilometre route from the Caribbean island to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) is now served with five weekly frequencies using the carrier’s 141-seat 737-300s. Aruba Air faces competition from Spirit Airlines’ weekly flights on the same route.

Gregory Pomerantsev, Novosibirsk Airport’s CCO (pictured first left) welcomed the arrival of Azerbaijan Airlines’ inaugural flight from Ganja with this rather sizeable cake, which awoke much interest among passengers.

  • Azerbaijan Airlines added its second (after Baku) low-frequency route from Azerbaijan to Novosibirsk (OVB) on 29 November, and now flies to the Siberian city with also weekly frequency from Ganja (KVD). Gregory Pomerantsyev, Novosibirsk Airport’s CCO, pointed out the business reasoning behind the launch: “Azerbaijani diaspora of Novosibirsk is one of the most numerous in the Russian Federation, and the opening of the new flight in addition to already operating flights from Novosibirsk to Baku will contribute to the strengthening of business, cultural and social ties between Novosibirsk and Azerbaijan.” Flights on the 3,100-kilometre route from Azerbaijan’s second-largest city are operated using the 757-200. 

  • Bangkok Airways resumed services on the route from Bangkok (BKK) to Vientiane (VTE), which it previously operated during the winter season 2007/2008, on 1 December. Flights on the 500-kilometre route to the capital and the largest city of Laos are now operated with daily frequencies using A319s. Competition on the route comes from both Lao Airlines and Thai Airways, which serve it each with twice-daily flights.

  • BQB, which launched its first ex-Pluna route in early September, continues to enter routes operated by the Uruguayan carrier prior to its demise in July. The airline, which operates a fleet of ATR72s, now offers twice-daily flights from Montevideo (MVD) to Buenos Aires Aeroparque (AEP), an airport serving some of the Argentine capital’s domestic and regional traffic. Aerolineas Argentinas, as well as Paraguay’s Sol, already operate the route – each with twice-daily services.

British Airways resumes its Seoul Incheon service after 15 years

British Airways returned to Seoul Incheon after more than a decade and now offers six weekly frequencies in competition with Asiana Airlines and Korean Air.

  • British Airways returned on the 8,900-kilometre route from its London Heathrow (LHR) base to the airport serving the South Korean capital, Seoul Incheon (ICN). Notably, the launch of the new route has been helped by the “Gangnam Style” song by Psy, which took the internet by storm and is helping to put South Korea on the travel map. Keith Williams, British Airways’ CEO, commented: “We couldn’t have foreseen the enormous response to the current Gangnam Style phenomenon when we announced the route. It is really helping to put Seoul on the map for UK travellers looking for an exciting and fun destination.” Six weekly flights are offered on the route in competition with Asiana Airlines and Korean Air, which already serve the market from London to Seoul – each with daily frequencies.

  • Cambodia Angkor Air, the national carrier of Cambodia, inaugurated flights on the route from Siem Reap (REP), located in the vicinity of the popular tourist destination, to Bangkok (BKK) in Thailand. The launch of this daily service on 30 November broke Bangkok Airways’ monopoly on the route, but at 35 weekly flights, the Thai carrier still provides the lion’s share of capacity. Cambodia Angkor Air will operate ATR72s on the route. 

  • Caribbean Airlines inaugurated flights on its fourth route to Toronto Pearson (YYZ) on 1 December, and now serves the Canadian city from Georgetown (GEO) in the South American Guyana. Twice-weekly services are offered on the 4,900-kilometre route; all will be operated using 737-800s. 

Crew on Cathay Pacific’s inaugural flight to Hyderabad cut the celebratory cake upon arrival in the Indian city. Present at the ceremony were also Hyderabad International Airport’s CEO, Vikram Jaisinghani, and Tom Wright, Cathay Pacific’s GM South Asia, Middle East & Africa.

  • Cathay Pacific, which already offers flights to Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai from its Hong Kong (HKG) base, launched its fourth Indian destination on 1 December, and now offers four weekly services to Hyderabad (HYD). Tom Wright, Cathay Pacific’s GM South Asia, Middle East and Africa, said: “The potential in this market is tremendous: The influx of IT and pharmaceutical companies into the city has made Hyderabad one of the fastest growing markets. We already see strong corporate and student traffic and believe there is real potential for leisure traffic.” Cathay Pacific will operate the flights using its A330-300s.

  • China Eastern Airlines started flying from Kunming (KMG) in the South-Western Chinese province of Yunnan, to Foshan (FUO) in the central Guangdong province of China. Daily 737-800 departures will be operated by China United Airlines.

In celebration of Egyptair’s return on the route to Osaka Kansai, Egyptian tourism minister, Hisham Zaazou, was handing out flowers to travellers from Japan in Cairo.

In celebration of Egyptair’s return on the route to Osaka Kansai, Egyptian tourism minister, Hisham Zaazou, was handing out flowers to travellers from Japan in Cairo.

  • Egyptair returned on the 9,300-kilometre route from Cairo (CAI) to the Japanese destination of Osaka Kansai (KIX), which it served previously, but saw itself forced to suspend in January 2011 following the outbreak of political unrest in Egypt. Beginning on 1 December, twice-weekly services are offered on the route, which the airline will operate using A340-200s. Osaka is Egyptair’s second Japanese destination, whereby the Egyptian carrier also flies thrice-weekly to Tokyo Narita.

Garuda Indonesia launches flights from Jakarta to Abu Dhabi

Garuda Indonesia’s maiden arrival in Abu Dhabi was welcomed with the traditional water cannon salute. The airline has signed a codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways, which will enable passengers on this route to connect further from Jakarta or Amsterdam.

  • Garuda Indonesia inaugurated services on the 6,600-kilometre route from Jakarta (CGK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) on 3 December, becoming the second carrier (after Hainan Airlines) to choose the Middle Eastern airport over Dubai as an intermediate stop. Garuda Indonesia now offers its four-weekly service to Amsterdam via Abu Dhabi using A330-200s. Emirsyah Satar, Garuda Indonesia’s CEO, said: “Garuda Indonesia’s stopover in Abu Dhabi is an effort to continually improve its services to customers and is part of its partnership with Etihad Airways, our code-share partner on the route.”

Hainan Airlines moves from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for its Luanda service

Early morning arrival of Hainan Airlines’ flight from Beijing to Abu Dhabi was welcomed with traditional water cannon salute. The airline’s COM, Hou Wei, said: “We’re glad to work with ADAC on the new operation. I believe that expanding our network to Abu Dhabi will be a strategic step for Hainan Airlines.”

  • Hainan Airlines inaugurated services on the route from Beijing (PEK) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) en route to Luanda, the capital of Angola in western Africa, on 3 December. Twice-weekly service will operate via with B767 equipment. Hainan Airlines will see competition from Etihad’s daily service from Beijing to Abu Dhabi, as well as from the weekly non-stop service from Luanda to the Chinese capital provided by TAAG of Angola. Hainan Airlines introduces Abu Dhabi as new destination in replacement of Dubai, which it also served with twice-weekly services until end of November.

Todd Mihara, captain on Hawaiian Airlines’ inaugural flight to Brisbane in Australia, flashed the “shaka” sign, signaling ‘all clear’ from the cockpit. Traditional Hula dancers and a special Maile Lei blessing ceremony were awaited passengers in Honolulu.

  • Hawaiian Airlines celebrated the launch of scheduled fights between its Honolulu, HI (HNL) base and Brisbane (BNE), Australia. On 28 November, Hawaii’s oldest airline connected the third-largest Australian city with Honolulu offering three weekly flights. Operated with B767-300ERs, the airline now offers 264 seats on each flight, allowing domestic connections and access to and from the US mainland. Notably, the route was sought after by Brisbane in The Route Shop and Hawaiian Airlines is now the sole carrier to serve it. This is the airline’s second destination to Australia, along with a daily service to Sydney.

Goodie bags were handed out to passengers on Indonesia AirAsia’s inaugural flight to Banda Aceh in northern Sumatra.

Goodie bags were handed out to passengers on Indonesia AirAsia’s inaugural flight to Banda Aceh in northern Sumatra.

Passengers on the airline’s maiden flight to Pekanbaru posed for a commemorative picture onboard Indonesia AirAsia’s A320.

Passengers on the airline’s maiden flight to Pekanbaru posed for a commemorative picture onboard Indonesia AirAsia’s A320.

Posing for the picture in Surabaya were cabin crew on Indonesia AirAsia’s first flight to Jakarta.

Posing for the picture in Surabaya were cabin crew on Indonesia AirAsia’s first flight to Jakarta.

  • Indonesia AirAsia expanded its network on 1 December, as it launched two new destinations from both Medan (MES) in northern Sumatra, and Surabaya (SUB) in eastern Java. All A320-operated services will face considerable competition from at least one carrier.
Origin Destination WF* Competition
Medan (MES) Banda Aceh (BTJ) 7 Garuda Indonesia (14)

Lion Air (14)

Sriwijaya Air (7)

Pekanbaru (PKU) 3 Sriwijaya Air (14)

Lion Air (7)

Surabaya (SUB) Jakarta (CKG) 21 Wings Abadi Air (21)
Semarang (SRG) 7 Sriwijaya Air (9)
Source: Innovata w/c 3 December

Rhode Island Governor, Lincoln Chafee; Warwick Mayor, Scott Avedisian; and JetBlue’s VP and Chief People Officer, Joanna Geraghty; welcomed JetBlue’s arrival in Providence, RI, which became the airline’s seventh destination in New England.

  • JetBlue introduced Providence, RI (PVD) as its 75th destination with flights to two destinations in Florida. Twice-daily flights to Orlando, FL (MCO) and daily to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) are now offered by the airline in competition with Southwest Airlines, which provides respectively 28 and eight weekly frequencies on the two routes. During the launch, Rhode Island Governor, Lincoln Chafee, commented: “I am proud to welcome JetBlue Airways to Rhode Island, as the airline’s arrival will have positive effects throughout the state and Rhode Island will continue to build its reputation as a great place to do business.”

The arrival of Lao Airlines’ inaugural flight from Vientiane to Guangzhou was celebrated in the Chinese city with the traditional water cannon salute and reception in the airport terminal.

  • Lao Airlines, which already offers daily services to Kunming in the Chinese province of Yunnan, inaugurated its second route from Vientiane (VTE) to China on 29 November, and now flies with thrice-weekly frequencies to Guangzhou (CAN), the largest city in the Guangdong province and an important trading port located on the Pearl River. Services on the 1,300-kilometre route are operated with A320s.

  • Mahan Air continues to build up its presence in Iraq, as it launched flights to its third destination in the country on 2 December. The airline, which already serves Bagdad and Erbil each with thrice-weekly flights from Tehran (IKA), now also flies with the same frequency from the Iranian capital to Najaf (NJF). Flights on the 700-kilometre route are offered with A310s in competition to Iran Air’s daily service.

  • Mandala Airlines expanded its network on 1 December as it launched two routes each domestic and international from airport in Indonesia. All but one of the A320-operated routes will face fierce competition.
Origin Destination WF* Competition
Denpasar (DPS) Singapore (SIN) 7 Indonesia AirAsia (28)
Singapore Airlines (21)
Garuda Indonesia (7)
KLM (7)
Valuair (5)
Jetstar Airways (4)
Qatar Airways (4)
Surabaya (SUB) 7 Wings Abadi Airlines (59)
Garuda Indonesia (35)
Citilink Indonesia (35)
Merpati Nusantara Airlines (14)
Indonesia AirAsia (14)
Batavia Air (9)
Jakarta (CGK) Padang (PDG) 7 Lion Air (56)
Garuda Indonesia (36)
Sriwijaya Air (14)
Batavia Air (14)
Citylink Indonesia (7)
Padang (PDG) Singapore (SIN) 7
Source: Innovata w/c 3 December. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch

Cake-cutting ceremony was performed by Philippine Airlines' Alberto Lina, Board of Directors; Felix Cruz, VP Marketing Support; Councillor Bonnie Crombie; and Howard Eng, President and CEO, GTAA, in celebration of the airline’s arrival to the Canadian airport.

  • Philippine Airlines launched flights on a pioneering route from Manila (MNL) to Toronto Pearson (YYZ) on 30 November. Thrice-weekly services on the 13,200-kilometre route will be operated with the airline’s 777-300ER non-stop on the outbound leg and via Vancouver on the way back. The airline’s President, Ramon Ang, said: “There has long been a big clamour from our customers in Toronto and all along Canada’s eastern seaboard, particularly the large Filipino community, for a Philippine Airlines service to their part of the country. We heard them loud and clear, and are excited to develop our presence in Toronto.” Notably, within a day of the launch the airline announced it was increasing frequencies on the route to daily beginning on 17 January.

Welcoming passengers arriving on SpiceJet’s inaugural service from Kochi in Malé were the Maldives deputy tourism minister, Indian High Commissioner designated to Maldives and senior delegates of SpiceJet.

  • SpiceJet launched its first route to the Maldivian capital of Malé (MLE) on 29 November, and now offers daily services to Kochi (COK) in the Indian state of Kerala on the west coast of the Deccan Peninsula. Harish Kutty, the airline’s CCO, commented during the launch: “Kochi is an important destination for us and the launch of our first international route from the city confirms it. We want to continue this growth as we add more services, including Dubai, due to launch on 10 December.”

TAME’s Lorena Maggiolo, GM Peru; Rafael Farías, CEO; Ecuador’s Vice Minister Tourism, Luis Falconí; and the respective ambassadors of each country, were present at the launch of TAME’s new daily service connecting Quito and Lima.

  • TAME, the state-owned airline of Ecuador, continues to grow its regional network from Quito (UIO) with the launch of daily flights to Lima (LIM) in neighbouring Peru. The 1,300-kilometer route along the Andes is operated with one of the two A319s purchased by the airline this year. Competition on the route comes from Taca and LAN, which connect the two capitals with respectively 14 and 11 weekly flights. Rafael Farías, TAME’s CEO, underlined: “Launch of this new route inaugurates the celebration of TAME’s 50th anniversary this December.” Notably, Lima is TAME’s third international destination launched this year, and follows the July launch of the airline’s Bogotá, which was extended to include Caracas in mid-September.

  • UTair, the parent company of UTair Ukraine, commenced daily operations on the route from Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) to Kiev Zhulyany (IEV) on 3 December. Notably, the airline’s Ukrainian subsidiary launched also daily flights on the route in early September, and this week’s launch is a de facto doubling-up of frequencies. UTair will operate the route with 737-700s.

  • Vietnam Airlines launched services on its first route to Indonesia on 2 December, as it commenced flights from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) to Jakarta (CGK). Flights on the 1,900-kilometre route are offered with four-weekly frequencies in competition with AirAsia Indonesia’s also four-weekly departures, and break the latter’s monopoly in the market from Ho Chi Minh City to the Indonesian capital. Vietnam Airlines deploys A321s on the route.

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