New airline routes launched (26 February – 4 March 2013)

Sichuan Airlines’ Chengdu to Melbourne

Premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu (pictured third left) welcomed China’s Sichuan Airlines on its inaugural flight from Chengdu to Melbourne: “I am delighted Sichuan Airlines has chosen Melbourne for its first direct service to Australia, with Melbourne its second long haul international destination after Vancouver. Their presence is symbolic of the strengthening relationship between Sichuan Province and Victoria.”

  • Sichuan Airlines started flying on the 8,700-kilometre route from its Chengdu (CTU) hub to Melbourne (MEL), making the latter its first Australian destination. Thrice-weekly services are operated with A330-300s. Sichuan Airlines offers flights to five other international destinations from Chengdu – Malé, Phuket, Seoul Incheon, Taichung, Taipei Song Shan – and to Hong Kong.

Minoan Air’s London Oxford to Edinburgh

Greek-based Minoan Air launched scheduled flights from London Oxford to Edinburgh on Monday using a Fokker 50. Celebrating the launch were Tony Farmer, Head of Sales and Route Development, London Oxford Airport; James Dillon-Godfray, Business Development Director, London Oxford Airport; Monica Slottensjo, Marketing Executive, Minoan Air; and Marcos Caramalengos, CCO, Minoan Air. A Scottish themed cake was made to celebrate the launch.'s Ralph Anker and Marc Watkins were there to congratulate Minoan's CCO and fly on the airline's first UK service.

  • Minoan Air inaugurated six-weekly flights (twice-daily on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for now) on the 480-kilometre domestic route from London Oxford (OXF) to Edinburgh (EDI) on 4 March. The new service, which was celebrated with a little help from’s Marc Watkins and Ralph Anker, is offered using Fokker 50s. Minoan Air’s CCO, Marcos Caramalengos outlines the airline’s plans for the future in this week’s 30-second Interview.

The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)

  • AeroMéxico, which last week commenced services to Cancun, Guadalajara and Monterrey from Toluca (TLC), continued its expansion from Mexico City’s second airport on 1 March, when it launched twice-weekly flights on the 300-kilometre route to Acapulco (ACA). Services to this popular resort on Mexico’s Pacific coast are operated in competition with Interjet, which offers 11 weekly departures on the route.

Air Onix launches first international destination from Kiev Zhulyany

Celebrating the arrival of Air Onix in Bratislava were Ivan Trhlík, Bratislava Airport’s CEO; František Palko, Slovak State Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development; and Pavol Hamžík, Ambassador of Slovakia in the Ukraine.

  • Air Onix, which began operation in April 2012 with the launch of twice-daily services from Simferopol in the Crimea to Kiev Zhulyany (IEV), commenced its first international route from the Kiev airport on 1 March. Bratislava (BTS), the capital of neighbouring Slovakia, is now offered with four-weekly frequencies using 737-500s. Hellenic Imperial Airways previously operated the transborder route with twice-weekly flights until September 2007.

bmi regional benefits from the demise of OLT Express Germany

bmi regional’s maiden flight from Bremen to Toulouse was commemorated in pictures taken on the tarmac. The so-called “Airbus Shuttle” route, most recently served by OLT Express Germany, was also previously operated by Germania.

bmi regional benefits from the demise of OLT Express Germany

Inaugural reception was also prepared in Toulouse to welcome bmi regional’s maiden service to Bremen.

  • Delta Air Lines, which already operates to 14 destinations from Raleigh Durham, NC (RDU), added Tampa, FL (TPA) to its offering from the airport on 2 March. Daily services on the 950-kilometre route are now operated using ExpressJet’s CRJ200s in competition with Southwest Airlines’ 20 weekly departures.

Helping to launch Emirates’ latest African route to Algiers were: Pradeep Suvarna, Global Head – DVPC, VFS (GCC) LLC; Jean Luc Grillet, Emirates’ SVP Commercial Operations Africa; Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ EVP Engineering and Operations; Hamid Chebira, the Algerian Ambassador to the UAE; Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Divisional SVP Planning and Research, Abdulla Al Hashimi; Emirates’ Divisional SVP Group Security; and Hiran Perera, Emirates’ SVP Cargo Planning and Freighters.

  • Emirates inaugurated a new route from its Dubai (DXB) hub to Algiers (ALG) on 1 March, making the Algerian capital its fourth destination in North Africa. The carrier, which already serves Cairo, Casablanca and Tunis in the region, now offers daily departures to Algiers, all of which are operated with A330-200s. Competition on the 5,100-kilometre route from the Gulf to the southern Mediterranean destination comes from five weekly services from Air Algerie.

  • flybe launched services from Manchester (MAN) to Den Helder de Kooy (DHR) in the Netherlands, on 4 March. Five weekly services are now operated by Loganair via Norwich (NWI) and constitute the only scheduled service at the Dutch airport, which handles primarily helicopter movements for the North Sea oil companies. All flights are operated using Dornier 328s.

  • IndiGo added two international destinations to its network on 1 March, when it launched daily services from Chennai (MAA) to Singapore (SIN), and from Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) to Dubai (DXB). All flights are operated using the airline’s A320s. While the LCC already serves Dubai from five other Indian cities, Singapore is a new destination in its network. Competition is substantial on both routes: on the Chennai to Singapore routing, IndiGo faces Tiger Airways (11 weekly flights), Air India (9), Jet Airways (7), Singapore Airlines (7) and Silkair (4); Emirates Airline and Air India Express offer flights in the market from Thiruvanthapuram to Dubai, with 12 and four-weekly frequencies respectively.

  • Indonesia AirAsia commenced services from Makassar (UPG) in the Indonesian South Sulawesi province to Manado (MDC) in North Sulawesi on 1 March. Indonesia AirAsia, which now operates to a total of six destinations from Makassar, offers daily departures on the 950-kilometre route. Competition is provided by Lion Air’s three and Garuda Indonesia’s two daily flights; further twice-weekly services are operated by Merpati Nusantara Airlines.

76th city in the JetBlue Airways network, Charleston, SC, now enjoys twice-daily flights to New York JFK, NY, and daily to Boston, MA.

  • JetBlue Airways commenced services to Charleston, SC (CHS) on 28 February, and now serves the city with daily flights from Boston, MA (BOS) and twice-daily from New York, NY (JFK). The airline, which had not served Charleston before, faces competition from Delta, which operates weekly and twice-daily flights respectively on the two routes. JetBlue is only the second low-cost carrier in Charleston according to this week’s analysis.

Colin Underwood, magician and entertainer, travelled on’s inaugural flight from Johannesburg to East London.

  •, the South African low-cost carrier known for surprising aircraft liveries, commenced services on a new domestic route from its Johannesburg (JNB) base to East London (ELS). Located on the south-eastern coast, East London is home to South Africa’s only river port and now enjoys twice-daily services to Johannesburg by the airline. Competition on the 770-kilometre route comes from SAA and Comair, which offer 40 and 13 weekly flights respectively. Nadine Damen, the airline’s Marketing Manager, said: “We have introduced this route to meet the demand for flights in and out of East London, and to support the economic growth of the Eastern Cape.”

  • Norwegian commenced services on its 14th domestic route from Oslo (OSL) on 1 March, and now operates thrice-weekly schedule to Longyearbyen (LYR), Norway’s northernmost outpost located in the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic. Flights on the 2,000-kilometre route are operated with the airline’s 737-800s. This is Norwegian’s second time of serving the market as it first operated this route back in March 2008. The only other scheduled service from this remote Arctic airport is currently operated by SAS, which runs an eight weekly schedule to Tromso.

  • Pegasus Airlines inaugurated services on the route from Istanbul Atatürk (IST) to Sarajevo (SJJ) in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 28 February, becoming the third airline in the market. While Turkish Airlines and B&H Airlines (whose future is currently rather uncertain) offer nine and seven weekly flights respectively, the new entrant in the market launched with five weekly frequencies. Flights will be carried out using 737-800s.

  • Qantas commenced flights on the 1,100-kilometre route from Sydney (SYD) to Gladstone (GLT) in the Australian state of Queensland. Eight weekly services are offered by Qantas using Dash 8s. Qantas, Australia’s largest domestic carrier, operates to a total of 23 destinations across the country from Sydney.

  • Rossiya Airlines expanded its offering to the southern French city of Nice (NCE) on 4 March, when it launched thrice-weekly services from Moscow Domodedovo (DME). The airline, which already flies twice-weekly to Nice from St. Petersburg, plans to increase frequencies on both routes, to daily and thrice-weekly respectively, in May. Flights on the new route are operated using A319s.

  • SeaPort Airlines inaugurated services on the 150-kilometre intrastate route from San Diego, CA (SAN) to El Centro/Imperial County, CA (IPL) on 1 March. The new service is launched within the US Department of Transportation Essential Air Service scheme, and enjoys 29 weekly frequencies operated with 10-seater Cessna turboprops. SeaPort Airlines’ CEO, Rob McKinney, said “We’re very pleased to be adding Imperial County Airport and San Diego International to our growing route map. We expect that customers in both communities will embrace the high frequency and customer friendly service that has been a pillar of the ‘SeaPort Experience’ since our very first flight.”

  • Spirit Airlines increased the number of destinations it offers from Myrtle Beach, SC (MYR) to nine on 1 March, when it inaugurated twice-weekly services to Charleston, WV (CRW). This seasonal service, operated with the airline’s A319s, will be increased to thrice-weekly effective 25 April.

  • launched Naples (NAP) as the third Italian destination it offers from Eindhoven (EIN). Beginning on 6 February, the airline offers four weekly departures to the southern Italian destination in addition to the thrice-weekly flights to the northern town of Bologna, which commenced on 24 February (also four-weekly services each to Copenhagen and Madrid were launched by the carrier on the same day), and the three weekly seasonal flights to Venice Treviso which resume on 25 April.

  • France inaugurated services on the 2,200-kilometre route from Paris Orly (ORY) to Essaouira (ESU), located on the Moroccan Atlantic coast, on 1 March. Twice-weekly flights are currently on offer on the route and carried out using the airline’s fleet of 737-800s. France, which already serves Marrakesh (11 weekly frequencies), Agadir (4) and Oujda (2) from the Paris airport, faces competition from Royal Air Maroc’s weekly service on the new route.

  • United Airlines commenced operations on the 4,200-kilometre route from San Francisco, CA (SFO) to Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) on 2 March. Daily flights on the route are operated using 737-800s in competition with Virgin America (13 weekly frequencies) and JetBlue Airways (7).

  • UTair Ukraine followed Ukraine International Airlines and Wizz Air as the next beneficiary of AeroSvit’s demise last week. On 1 March, the airline inaugurated daily flights from its Kiev Zhulyany (IEV) base to both St. Petersburg (LED) and Tbilisi (TBS). The two destinations had previously been served with at least daily frequencies by the now defunct Ukrainian carrier. While there is no direct competition on the Russian route, Rossiya Airlines and Ukraine International Airlines serve St. Petersburg from Kiev Borispol, with nine and seven weekly frequencies respectively. Georgian Airlines offer thrice-weekly services on the route from Kiev Zhulyany to Tbilisi, and a further 11 weekly departures are provided by Ukraine International Airlines from Kiev Borispol.

  • Wizz Air moved its Glasgow operation from Glasgow Prestwick (PIK) to Glasgow (GLA) last week. Beginning on 1 and 3 March respectively, the airline’s Warsaw (WAW) and Gdańsk (GDN) services changed airport with unchanged frequencies – twice-weekly from the Polish capital and weekly from Gdańsk. Ryanair provides indirect competition on the route from Warsaw, which it serves with thrice-weekly flights.

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  1. PB says:

    Is it just me or does that Minoan cake look more like a Dornier 228 ??

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