New airline routes launched (4 – 10 December 2012)

Qatar Airways’ Doha to Warsaw

Attending the launch ceremony for Qatar Airways new service to Warsaw were Hadi Bin Nasser Al-Hajri, Qatari Ambassador to Poland; Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker; Warsaw Airport’s Director, Michał Marzec; and Robert Rostek, Polish Ambassador to Qatar.

  • Qatar Airways, which commenced services to Belgrade in Serbia in late November, on 5 December became the first MEB3 airline to launch regular flights to Warsaw (WAW), and now offers four-weekly frequencies on the 3,900-kilometre route from its Doha (DOH) hub. During the launch ceremony, Akbar Al Baker, the airline’s CEO, said: “I sincerely thank our partners in Poland who have been instrumental in the airline’s expansion into this country. I am confident that the demand for services to and from here will steadily grow, allowing us to further increase frequencies.” Michał Marzec, Director of the Warsaw Airport, underlined the benefits: “While a slight decline has been observed in demand levels, it is not the case for premium segments, which are bound to be attracted by the new service.” Notably, one-stop travel to a range of worldwide destinations from Warsaw is now possible, including connections to Australia. Qatar Airways will operate the route using A320s. Another MEB3 carrier, Emirates, will begin to serve Warsaw from Dubai in early February 2013.

Monarch Airlines’ London Gatwick to Friedrichshafen

Cutting the celebratory cake for Monarch Airlines’ maiden arrival to Friedrichshafen was the airport’s CEO, Gerold Tumulka; and the airline’s Commercial Director, Jochen Schnadt. joined the party and you can read the  full launch report here.  

  • Monarch Airlines officially inaugurated its operation in Friedrichshafen (FDH), as it brought Santa to the southern German city from London Gatwick (LGW) on 6 December. While regular services don’t start until 14 December, Monarch put one of its 757 to operate the maiden flight, creating an excuse for a whole day’s celebration. Regular operation will be carried out using A320 with four-weekly frequencies.

The rest of this week’s new routes

  • Air India inaugurated services on its first route to Saudi Arabia on 5 December, as it launched flights from Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) in the Indian state of Kerala, to Riyadh (RUH). Twice-weekly services will be operated with one of the airline’s 747-400s.

  • Air One commenced flights on the fifth route from its southern Italian base in Catania (CTA) on 6 December and now offers twice-daily services to Venice (VCE). Services on the 900-kilometre domestic route are operated with one of the airline’s 10 A320s. While there is no competition on the route to begin with, Volotea is scheduled to begin five weekly services on 19 December.

Jasmine Lee, AirAsia Berhad’s Commercial Director, posed for a commemorative picture together with the airline’s cabin crew and models during the launch event for the airline’s new route from Kuala Lumpur to Kunming. The Chinese city is AirAsia’s fifth destination in the country from the Malaysian capital.

  • AirAsia expanded its offering to China from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on 10 December, as it launched first route to the capital of the Chinese Yunnan province, Kunming (KMG). Flights on the 2,500-kilometre route are operated with four-weekly frequencies in competition with Malaysia Airlines’ five weekly flights.

Ecuador’s Vice President, Álvaro García Linera, helped inaugurate BoA’s new service from Santa Cruz to Madrid. During the conference he then indicated the need for new services to Asia.

  • Boliviana de Aviación commenced operations on the ex-Aerosur route from Santa Cruz Viru Viru (VVI) to Madrid (MAD) on 7 December. Four-weekly flights are offered on the 8,900-kilometre route, and the airline uses the purpose-leased A340 to operate it. Boliviana de Aviación faces competition from Air Europa’s twice-weekly frequencies, which launched on 29 November. Commenting on the launch of the new service, Ronald Casso, the airline’s CEO, said: “We launched this route chiefly for the Bolivian community in Spain. Inaugural services were full in both directions.”

Zagreb welcomed British Airways with wintry landscapes, but the launch ceremony showcased truly festive colours. Cutting the cake to the tune of traditional Christmas carols were David Slinn, British Ambassador to Croatia; Miroslav Drljača, Zagreb Airport’s CEO; Katja Selle, BA’s Commercial Manager Central Europe; and Ivan Grdešić, Croatian Ambassador to the UK.

British Airways received the obligatory celebratory water-arch for the launch of its 27-weekly A319 connection from London Heathrow to Leeds Bradford Airport on 10 December. Assisting the ceremony were British Airways’ Capt. James Rowlands; Leeds Bradford Airport’s CEO, John Parkin; Olympic Gold medallist, Luke Campbell; British Airways’ Operations Director, Andy Lord; and the airport’s Commercial Director, Tony Hallwood. The latter commented on the success: “This is the culmination of three years hard work. We expect an extra 200k passengers per annum and increased connectivity to the Indian Sub-Continent and the US through this new link.”

British Airways returns to Leeds Bradfort after over three decades; adds short-haul services to Rotterdam and Zagreb

The maiden arrival of British Airways' thrice-daily service from London Heathrow to Rotterdam was welcomed with the traditional water cannon salute.

  • British Airways, which resumed flights from London to Seoul the previous week, added one domestic and two European routes to its network from London Heathrow (LHR) on 9 December. Leeds Bradford (LBA) returned to British Airways’ route map after three decades, and the carrier now serves it with 27 weekly frequencies; bmi previously operated the route until March 2009. James Keegan, British Airways’ Commercial Services Manager UK regions, said: “The well-timed four flights a day will offer our customers the chance to complete a full day’s business in the capital without the expense or inconvenience of an overnight stay.” On the same day, British Airways also added two new European routes to its Heathrow offering – thrice-daily flights to Rotterdam (RTM) in The Netherlands, as well as daily to Zagreb (ZAG) in Croatia, which will face competition from Croatia Airlines’ nine weekly departures. All three new routes were made possible as a result of slots being freed up by the purchase of bmi earlier this year by British Airways’ parent company, IAG.

Performing the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Cebu Pacific’s inaugural service from Cebu to Kuala Lumpur were Nigel Paul Villarete; Cebu Airport’s CEO; Rowena Montecillo; Regional Director of Department of Tourism Central Visayas; Antonio Jose Rodriguez; Cebu Pacific’ VP Airport Services; and Masrina Mohd Bakri, Tourism Attaché and Director of Tourism Malaysia, Embassy of Malaysia.

Assisting the launch of Cebu Pacific’s service from Cebu to Bangkok were Hembler Mendoza, City Tourism Officer, Lapu lapu City; Nigel Paul Villarete, Cebu Airport’s CEO; Antonio Jose Rodriguez, Cebu Pacific’s VP Airport Services; Prasas Prasasvinitchai, Thai Ambassador to the Philippines; and Garry Garcia, VP Resorts for Hotel, Resorts and Restaurant Association of Cebu.

  • Cebu Pacific added two international destinations to its network from Cebu (CEB), and now offers flights to a total of six non-Philippine airports. On 8 December, the airline commenced twice-weekly services to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) in Malaysia, which it already serves from Manila with twice-daily frequencies. On the following day, Cebu Pacific returned on the 2,600-kilometre route also from Cebu to Bangkok (BKK), which it previously operated between June and August 2008. Both new routes are offered with twice-weekly frequencies using A320 family aircraft.

  • China Eastern Airlines continues its expansion in Kunming (KMG) in the Yunnan province following last week’s launch of services to Foshan, and now offers daily flights to Xining (XNN), the capital of Qinghai province located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in the west of the country. Flights on the 1,300-kilometre domestic route are operated with A320s. 

Jiagedaqi Airport in Northeast China serves primarily the forestry industry: China United Airlines is only second after Okay Airways carrier to provide commercial services.

  • China United Airlines inaugurated daily services on the domestic Chinese route from Harbin (HRB), the capital of the Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China, to Jiagedaqi (JGD) on 5 December. Okey Airways provides competition on the route, as it serves the market from Harbin to Jiagedaqi also with daily frequencies.

  • Darwin Airline launched new routes to the Serbian city of Niš (INI) last weekend, and now offers respectively four and one weekly departures from Zürich (ZRH) and Geneva (GVA). Both routes will be operated with Saab 2000s until 20 January.

  • Dutch Antilles Express, which launched daily flights to Paramaribo in mid-November, added two regional routes on 10 December, both of which it will serve with Fokker 100s. Flights from Aruba (AUA) to Santo Domingo (SDQ); and from Curaçao (CUR) to Port-au-Prince (PAP) are now offered, each with twice weekly frequencies.

The arrival of Emirates’ inaugural service to Lyon coincided with the launch of the Lyon Lights Festival and colourful lightbeams replaced the traditional water cannon salute. Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ EVP Commercial; and Philippe Bernand, the airport’s CEO, cut the celebratory cake. Full cabin and 12 tons of cargo travelled on the inaugural service to Dubai.

  • Emirates Airlines added one destination each in Europe and Asia last week. On 5 December, the MEB-3 carrier launched Lyon (LYS) as the third gateway in France. Five weekly flights from Dubai (DXB) are operated with A340-500 in three cabin classes. Thierry Antinori, Emirates’ EVP Passenger Sales Worldwide, said: “The South West France was on our radar for some time. Strong local interest and support is an excellent marker of success.” The Rhone-Alps region, of which Lyon is the capital, is the sixth-largest economy in Europe, and benefits from strong banking, pharmaceutical and biotech industries. In addition, on 10 December, the airline commenced daily services on the 4,900-kilometre route to Phuket (HKT), making it its second Thai destination.

  • Jin Air launched its second, after Shanghai Pudong (PVG), international route from its Jeju (CJU) base on 6 December. Flights to Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) are now operated with twice-weekly departures using 737-800. Transasia Airways provides competition with four weekly services.

  • Malaysia Airlines relaunched flights on the 4,200-kilometre route from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) in the north-west of Borneo to Perth (PER) in Western Australia. The route, which was previously operated by Malaysia Airlines for a year before January 2011, is now reinstated with weekly frequency and operated with 737-800s. 

Mango’s inaugural service to Port Elizabeth was welcomed with the traditional water cannon salute.

Mango’s inaugural service to Port Elizabeth was welcomed with the traditional water cannon salute. The airline, which has benefited from 1time’s recent demise, now serves the city from both Johannesburg and Cape Town.

  • Mango took advantage of the recent demise of 1time on 10 December, as it entered two new markets from Port Elizabeth (PLZ) and now offers seven weekly services to Johannesburg (JNB), as well as six weekly departures to Cape Town (CPT). Mango’s CEO, Nico Bezuidenhout, said: “The launch of flights to and from Nelson Mandela Bay marks the beginning of a new growth phase for Mango. We plan to add several new destinations, both domestic and regional, to its network over the next 24 months.” Competition on both routes comes from South African Airways (respectively 34 and 43 weekly frequencies) and British Airways (7 and 34).

  • Mihin Lanka inaugurated its seventh international service from Colombo (CMB) in Sri Lanka on 7 December, with the launch of thrice-daily flights on the 350-kilometre route to Madarai (IXM) in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nandu. The new A321-operated service faces competition from SpiceJet’s daily frequencies.

  • SpiceJet added yet another international route from Kochi (COK) on 10 December, following the launch of services to Malé in the last week of November. Dubai (DXB) is now served by the Indian carrier with daily frequencies using B737-700 equipment. Competition on the route comes from twice-daily frequencies by Emirates, as well as daily flights from Air India Express and IndiGo.

Turkish Airlines’ 200th aircraft, which it received in early November, operated the airline’s inaugural service on the circular route from Istanbul Atatürk to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mombasa in Kenya. Turkish Airlines, which is currently the world’s fifth largest airline by fleet size, wants to take over as #1 by 2023.

  • Turkish Airlines inaugurated five weekly services on the route from Istanbul Atatürk (IST) to Kilimanjaro (JRO) in Tanzania, which will make a stopover in Kenya’s coastal city and important port of Mombasa (MBA) before returning to the carrier’s Turkish hub. Kilimanjaro is the second destination offered by Turkish Airlines in Tanzania, and the country’s Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, John Mngodo, said during the launch: “Kilimanjaro belongs to Tanzania’s prime tourist destinations, and the new route will help us boost tourist arrivals. It will also make the export of flowers grown on the slopes of Mount Meru in the northern part of the country easier.” An equally warm welcome awaited Turkish Airlines in Mombasa, where Kenya Airports Authority’s Chairman, Mutuma Mugambi, commented: “The dominance of seasonal air charters as a business model for this airport is now changing with the introduction of scheduled offering. I urge hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents and tourism stakeholders to embrace this opportunity to revamp the sector.” Turkish Airlines launched the service on 4 December using 737-900ER equipment.

Nguyen Thanh Hung, VietJet Air’s Vice Chairman (pictured sixth left), led the launch ceremony for the airline’s new service from Hanoi to Da Lat, which was assisted by representatives of the country’s central agencies.

  • VietJet Air continues its domestic expansion following the launch of services from Ho Chi Minh City to Vinh in mid-November, as it inaugurated new route from Hanoi (HAN) to the popular Vietnamese resort of Da Lat (DLI) on 7 December. Known as “the flower of Vietnam”, Da Lat is considered as one of the country’s most enchanting destinations; VietJet Air will operate the route on daily basis using A320s in competition with Air Mekong and Vietnam Airlines, which each provide also daily departures. 

Denver, CO, welcomed the inaugural arrival of Volaris’ flight from Mexico City with this grandiose multi-storey cake. The airline now serves seven US destinations from the Mexican capital.

  • Volaris became the third carrier on the route from Mexico City (MEX) to Denver, CO (DEN), as it inaugurated twice-weekly services on 8 December. Paul Washington, Denver’s Director Economic Development, commented during the launch: “From a trade standpoint, our country’s fortunes grow as Mexico’s fortunes grow: since the North American Free Trade Agreement was implemented in 1994, trade with Mexico has increased threefold and 40% of all imports from Mexico are categorized as value-added.” Flights on the 2,300-kilometre route are operated with the airline’s A320s in competition with AeroMexico’s thrice-weekly and United’s weekly frequencies.

Cutting the celebratory cake for the launch of Wizz Air’s service to Tel Aviv in Budapest were the airline’s CEO, József Váradi; Ilan Mor, Israeli Ambassador to Budapest; and Jost Lammers, Budapest Airport’s CEO.

It’s all about form: Wizz Air showcased the true jewels of the Mediterranean, as it hosted the first mile-high fashion club ever en-route from Budapest to Tel Aviv. Daniel de Carvalho, the airline’s Corporate Communications Director, joined the fashionable party.

  • Wizz Air inaugurated thrice-weekly services from Budapest (BUD) to Tel Aviv (TLV) on 6 December, as it further develops its relationship with the Hungarian airport. József Váradi, Wizz Air’s CEO, said: “We hope that today’s first flight to Tel Aviv will be followed by many more exciting routes offered to Hungarian consumers as Wizz Air continues to expand its route network.” Wizz Air already announced that it was to increase the frequencies to daily during the summer 2013 peak due to high demand. El Al’s four-weekly flights provide competition on the 2,200-kilometre route.


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