New airline routes launched (12 – 18 March 2013)

Air Arabia’s Sharjah to Hambantota

The launch of Air Arabia’s new route coincided with the official opening of Sri Lanka’s second international airport. The country’s President, Mahinda Rajapaksa (pictured waving his hand), was onboard of the maiden flight to the airport and then went on to welcome Air Arabia’s arrival. Another Middle-Eastern LCC, flydubai, also visited throughout the day, although it will not start scheduled services to the airport until late May 2013.

  • Air Arabia inaugurated operations on the route from its Sharjah (SHJ) base to Hambantota (HRI) in southeast Sri Lanka, on 18 March, becoming the first foreign airline to serve this recently commissioned airport. Twice-weekly flights on the 4,400-kilometre route, which is the airline’s second to Sri Lanka, are offered. Adel Ali, CEO of the Air Arabia Group, said: “Since inception about a decade ago, Air Arabia has prided itself on being an airline of firsts. Today, we are extremely delighted to become the first international carrier to arrive in Mattala, further reinforcing our commitment to expand our presence in Sri Lanka.” The airline plans to double the frequencies on the route starting 19 May.

easyJet’s London Gatwick to Moscow Domodedovo

easyJet takes off to Moscow, dispatched by

Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s CEO, cut the spectacular award-winning cake (baked exclusively by our publisher’s wife!), assisted by Simon Burns, Minister of State for Transport; and Guy Stephenson, London Gatwick’s CCO. More exciting pictures from the launch can be seen here.

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

Branded as Mexico’s “Executive Airline”, Aeromar offers flights to a total of 18 destinations throughout the country from Mexico City, and now adds McAllen in Texas as its first international destination.

  • Aeromar, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, commenced operations on its only US route on 18 March, as it launched five weekly flights from Mexico City (MEX) to McAllen, TX (MFE). McAllen is close to the Mexican border, on the southern tip of Texas. Flights on the 750-kilometre route are carried out using CRJ-200s. The airline is planning to reduce frequencies to thrice-weekly, effective 8 April. When the route was announced in January Aeromar’s President Ami Lindenberg said, “For 25 years, we have been committed to the Mexican market by offering high quality air transport service. Today we are proudly announcing a new chapter for the company: our first international flight to McAllen, Texas. Aeromar is truly grateful that this City welcomes foreign investment and that it believes in the reliability and the constancy of our company. This announcement is indeed a day for celebration and the start of much more to come for Aeromar. We are fully committed to this new partnership.”

Ex-PAF Division Chef, III-CSIS CAAP, Benjamin Dofitas; Caecilia Legowo and Kristiarto Legowo, Ambassador of Indonesia; and Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific Air’s VP Marketing and Distribution, helped dispatch the airline’s inaugural flight to Bali…

…while Esthy Reko Astuty, Director General of Tourism Marketing , Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia; Maria Rosario Aguinaldo, Ambassador of the Philippines; Alexander Lao, Cebu Pacific Air’s VP Commercial Planning; and Caecilia Legowo, performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony on the return leg.

  • Cebu Pacific inaugurated flights on its second route from Manila (MNL) to Indonesia on 16 March, and now connects the Philippine capital with twice-weekly services to Denpasar (DPS) in Bali. Flights on the 2,700-kilometre route are carried out using A319s in competition with Philippine Airlines’ thrice-weekly services.

  • FastJet, one of Africa’s youngest airlines, which only launched its operations in late November last year, further expanded its domestic operation in Tanzania last week, as it launched flights from Kilimanjaro (JRO) to both Mwanza (MWZ) and Zanzibar (ZNZ). Daily A319-operated services are offered on each route. Precision Air provides competition in both markets operating daily flights to Mwanza and four daily to Zanzibar. Additional competition on the latter route comes from Fly540, which serves it with twice-weekly flights. You can read more about FastJet’s impact on Tanzania’s air travel market in’s country story.

  • flydubai tripled the amount of destinations it serves in Pakistan last week, as it launched services from its Dubai (DXB) base to both Sialkot (SKT) and Multan (MUX) on 13 and 14 March respectively. flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said: “Our flights to Karachi have been busy since operations began in June 2010. With a significant number of expatriates living in the UAE, and established trade links, we expect these new destinations to be equally successful as people seek affordable fares between our nations.” While thrice-weekly flights are offered on each route, competition exists only in the market to Multan, which is served with weekly services by Pakistan International Airlines.

  • Golden Myanmar Airlines, the recently founded low-cost airline of Myanmar, inaugurated services on the route from Yangon (RGN) to Singapore (SIN) on 15 March. Daily A320-operated flights face competition from incumbents Silkair (11 weekly frequencies), Myanmar Airways International (10),  Jetstar Asia (7), and Singapore Airlines (7).

Traditional Hawaiian dancing accompanied the launch of Hawaiian Airlines’ maiden service from Auckland to Honolulu, a route on which it now competes with Air New Zealand.

  • Hawaiian Airlines commenced services on the route from Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Auckland (AKL) on 13 March, breaking Air New Zealand’s monopoly. The latter, which offers twice-weekly flights on the route, now faces thrice-weekly A330-200 competition from the Hawaiian carrier. Mark Dunkerley, CEO and President of Hawaiian commented, “Hawai’i is a perfect midpoint destination for the kind of extended vacation that New Zealanders prefer, and we are ideally situated to offer dual-destination holidays and easy connections from Auckland to places like San Francisco, Las Vegas or New York City. And that works in reverse as well, making it easier than ever for US residents to enjoy the wonders of New Zealand.”

Ryanair’s stringent cabin luggage policies were sweetened up by Porto Airport as part of the celebrations of the carrier’s new route to Dortmund.

While the wintry condition didn’t allow for the traditional water cannon salute, Dortmund Airport’s CEO, Markus Bunk, welcomed the crew and passengers arriving on Ryanair’s inaugural service from Porto.

  • Ryanair started preparations for the summer season last week, as it brought its ultra low-cost services to Dortmund (DTM) in Germany for the first time. The city, best known for its beer and its Bundesliga-winning football team, was the location of an easyJet base between July 2004 and summer 2008. A total of seven routes will be served by Ryanair this summer, but the first five to airports in Portugal and Spain were launched this week. Out of those, competition exists only in the market from Palma de Mallorca (PMI), served by both airberlin and germanwings.
Launch date Origin Destination WF* Competition
14-Mar-13 Girona (GRO) Dortmund (DTM) 2
14-Mar-13 Malaga (AGP) 3
14-Mar-13 Porto (OPO) 2
15-Mar-13 Faro (FAO) 2
15-Mar-13 Palma de Mallorca (PMI) 3 airberlin (11) germanwings (8)
15-Mar-13 Weeze (NRN) Vilnius (VNO) 3
Source: Innovata w/c 25 March 2013.        *WF: Weekly frequencies at launch

  • Syphax Airlines expanded its offering from Tunisian Sfax (SFA) with services to Casablanca (CMN) on 15 March. Twice-weekly flights are now offered by the airline on the 1,700-kilometre route to Morocco.

Bangkok Airport welcomed the arrival of TransAsia Airways with a special reception in the terminal and an official gala in the evening.

  • TransAsia Airways commenced services from Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) to the Thai capital of Bangkok (BKK) on 15 March. Daily departures are now offered by the airline on the 2,500-kilometre route and operated using A330-200s. Competition on the route is provided by China Airlines (28 weekly frequencies), EVA Air (15) and Thai Airways (14).

UTair Ukraine connects Kharkov and Baku

The Kharkov Regional Organisation of the Congress of Azerbaijanis of Ukraine, which supported the launch of UTair Ukraine’s services from Kharkov to Baku, also hosted the launch event. Among attendees were Andrey Mochenkov, the state administration Deputy Head of the Kharkov Region; Viktor Rud, Director of the Department of International Relations of Kharkov City Council; Pavel Prusak, Commercial Director of the Kharkov International Airport; Nazim Aliyev, Counsellor of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Ukraine, and others.

  • UTair Ukraine inaugurated flights on the 1,500-kilometre route from Kharkov (HRK) to Baku (GYD) on 15 March. The second-largest city in the Ukraine is now connected to the Azeri capital with weekly CRJ200-operated services.

Martin Altemöller, Hannover Airport’s Head of HR, together with Vueling’s Captain Carmelo Madozzan and the crew on the inaugural flight, celebrated the airline’s maiden arrival in Hannover.

  • Vueling commenced operations on the 2,100-kilometre route from Málaga (AGP) to Hannover (HAJ) on 16 March. The airline, which initially offers twice-weekly departures on the route, will increase frequencies to thrice-weekly in the last week of June. On the same day, the airline also connected Barcelona (BCN) to this German city, launching the new route with thrice-weekly frequencies. The airline will face direct competition from Lufthansa’s in-house LCC germanwings on the Barcelona route. All flights will be operated using A320s.

Viking Express: Szczecin Airport’s CEO, Maciej Dziadosz; and Deputy Marshal of Zachodniopomorskie Voivodeship, Andrzej Jakubowski, performed the cake cutting ceremony during the launch event celebrating Wizz Air’s arrival in the airport. They were then joined for the ribbon cutting on the tarmac by Wizz Air’s Route Development Director, Balazs Zsida; and Michał Przepiera, the airline’s representative in Szczecin.

  • Wizz Air expanded its offering to Scandinavia from two northern Polish airports last week. Following the launches, the airline now offers flights to nine destinations in the region from Gdańsk (GDN), and is the only carrier to provide competition to Norwegian in Szczecin (SZZ), which the Nordic carrier serves with twice-weekly flights from Oslo. Szczecin becomes the eighth Polish airport served by Wizz Air; the other seven are Gdansk, Katowice, Lodz, Lublin, Poznan, Warsaw and Wroclaw. You can read more about Wizz Air’s presence in Stavanger in this week’s airport story.
Launch Date Origin Destination WF* A/c
14-Mar-13 Gdańsk (GDN) Ålesund (AES) 3 A320
15-Mar-13 Szczecin (SZZ) Stavanger (SVG) 2
16-Mar-13 Oslo Sandefjord (TRF)
Source: new route database


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