New airline routes launched (19 – 25 March 2013)


easyJet’s Milan Linate to Rome Fiumicino

Carolyn McCall, easyJet’s CEO, was desperately trying to avoid being bathed in champagne, opened by Giulio De Metrio, COO and Deputy CEO of SEA, to celebrate the airline’s launch of flights from Rome Fiumicino to Milan Linate.

Hamburg Airport’s Head of Aviation Marketing, Jörgen Kearsley, and easyJet’s Hugh Aitken, presented a welcome cake upon the airline’s arrival in Hamburg.

Five new routes were launched last week by easyJet from Edinburgh Airport and were celebrated with a sweet replica of one of the airline’s aircraft. Posing for commemorative pictures on the tarmac were Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport’s CEO; Humza Yousaf, Scottish politician; and Hugh Aitken, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager.

Prague Airport treated passengers on the first easyJet service to Edinburgh to a glass of bubbly.

  • easyJet expanded its presence in Edinburgh (EDI) on 21 March, as it launched flights to five destinations Europe-wide, ranging from Reykjavik (KEF) to Prague (PRG). Four days later, on 25 March, the airline also commenced the long-awaited services on the domestic Italian route from Milan Linate (LIN) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO). easyJet gained access to this lucrative market, previously the exclusive domain of Alitalia, following a ruling by the Italian competition authorities in autumn last year. The launch constitutes yet another landmark opening for the British carrier, following last week’s inauguration of the London to Moscow route, extensively covered by anna.aero.
Launch date Origin Destination WF* Competition
21-Mar-13 Edinburgh (EDI) Reykjavik (KEF) 2
Copenhagen (CPH) 4 bmi regional (12)
Norwegian (5)
Hamburg (HAM) 4
Prague (PRG) 3 Jet2.com (4)
Berlin Schönefeld (SXF) 3
25-Mar-13 Rome Fiumicino (FCO) Milan Linate (LIN) 14 Alitalia (158)
Source: Innovata w/c 1 April 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.

Alitalia’s Kraków to Rome Fiumicino

While frosty weather in Kraków made the traditional watercannon salute impossible, the scene was recreated in the weclome cake prepared by Kraków Airport for the arrival of Alitalia from Rome Fiumicino. Celebrating the launch at the southern Polish airport were Riccardo Guariglia, Ambassador of Italy in Poland; Kraków Airport’s Jan Pamuła, President of Management Board; and Grzegorz Michorek, Commercial Director; Justyna Kochańska, Alitalia’s Station Manager; and George Athanasiou, Alitalia GM Poland.

  • Alitalia returned to the southern Polish city of Kraków (KRK) on 25 March, when it inaugurated thrice-weekly services from its Rome Fiumicino (FCO) hub. Poland’s second-largest airport, Kraków was previously served by the Italian carrier from Milan Malpensa between 2005 and 2008. Alitalia then discontinued operations on the route following the decision to close its Milan hub. Kraków now returns to Alitalia’s network as its second destination in the country (the other one being Warsaw, which is operated with five weekly services).

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


  • Aerocon, the Bolivian operator of Fairchild Metro turboprops, inaugurated operations at the newly upgraded airport in Potosí (POI) on 20 March. The airport, which is located at an altitude of 3,900 metres above sea level, and remained closed for the last seven years, is now connected with six weekly services to Bolivia’s two most important centres. Aerocon’s 19-seater turboprops arrive from Santa Cruz (SRZ) and then continue onwards to La Paz (LPB) in the north of the country, reversing the routing on the return leg.

  • AeroMéxico added a second stopping service connecting Culiacán (CUL) and Los Angeles, CA (LAX) on 24 March. In addition to the existing routing via Hermosillo, which the airline offers with daily frequencies, it is now also possible to make the journey with a stopover in Loreto (LTO). Twice-weekly frequencies are offered on the route and operated by AeroMéxico Connect using ERJ145. Volaris provides competition in the market from Culiacán to Los Angeles, which it serves directly with single weekly flights.

  • Air One, Alitalia’s lower cost subsidiary, grew its offering from Venice (VCE) last week, as it resumed services on three domestic routes, all of which were last served by the airline at least a year ago. Competition on two of the routes – to Bari (BRI) and Lamezia-Terme (SUF) comes from Volotea, while easyJet provides thrice-daily flights in the market from Venice to Naples (NAP).
Launch date Origin Destination WF* A/c Competition
24-Mar-13 Venice (VCE) Bari (BRI) 5 A320 Volotea (6)
Lamezia-Terme (SUF) 4 A320 Volotea (5)
Naples (NAP) 9 A320 easyJet (21)
Source: Innovata w/c 1 April 2013.    *WF: Weekly frequencies at launch

Air Seychelles’ CEO, Cramer Ball; Abu Dhabi Airports Company Chief Commercial Officer, Mohamad Al Baloo; and Etihad Airways’ CCO, Peter Baumgartner, helped dispatch Air Seychelles’ inaugural service from Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong.

Air Seychelles’ CEO, Cramer Ball; Abu Dhabi Airports Company Chief Commercial Officer, Mohamad Al Baloo; and Etihad Airways’ CCO, Peter Baumgartner, helped dispatch Air Seychelles’ inaugural service from Abu Dhabi to Hong Kong. The two airlines will codeshare on the route and Eithad’s CEO, James Hogan, commented: “The codeshare with Air Seychelles allows Etihad to commence services to Hong Kong and extend its reach into Greater China sooner than would have been possible independently. It gives Etihad immediate and direct access to rich, new sources of passenger and cargo revenue in Hong Kong and major outbound travel markets in southern China such as Guangzhou and Shenzen.”

Leading the launch celebrations for Air Seychelles’ new route to Hong Kong was the airline’s CEO, Cramer Ball, who said: "It is a momentous occasion for Air Seychelles, capping a remarkable year in which we returned to profitability. Through our partnership with Etihad Airways we have been able to transform our business and make improvements that we could not have achieved independently." Air Seychelles’ transformation is analysed in  this week’s anna.aero airline analysis. 

  • Air Seychelles extended its existing service from Mahé to Abu Dhabi (AUH), which it launched in March last year, with thrice-weekly flights from the UAE airport to Hong Kong (HKG). Flights on the 6,000-kilometre route commenced on 24 March and are operated using A330-200 in competition with Cathay Pacific’s twice-weekly departures. As the recent anna.aero analysis of the market from the UAE to Hong Kong has shown, Air Seychelles’ entry into the market also brings benefits to its business partner, Etihad, which is the only MEB3 carrier to stay clear of the Asian financial centre.

  • Air Tanzania inaugurated services on the 700-kilometre route from Dar es Salaam (DAR) to Moroni (HAH) in the Comoros Islands, on 25 March, a route it last served three years ago. Thrice-weekly flights are now offered on the route and operated using a leased 737-200 in competition with Precision Air’s service of the same frequency.

Cutting the cake for the inauguration of airberlin’s new route to Chicago O’Hare were Klaus Wowereit, Berlin’s Mayor; Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, airberlin’s CEO; Wilhelm Heinz, Captain on the inaugural flight; Hartmut Mehdorn, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg’s CEO; and James Melville, envoy of the US embassy in Berlin.

airberlin’s arrival at Chicago O’Hare was greeted with the traditional water cannon salute.

airberlin’s arrival at Chicago O’Hare was greeted with the traditional water cannon salute. Speaking during the launch event in Berlin, Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, airberlin’s CEO, said: “With the launch of this long-haul service we are not only increasing the strength of our hub in Berlin, but also our presence in the growing US market.”

Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, airberlin’s CEO; Jerzy Józef Margański, Polish Ambassador to Germany; and Hartmut Mehdorn, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg’s CEO helped launch the airline’s new service connecting the German and Polish capitals.

Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, airberlin’s CEO; Jerzy Józef Margański, Polish Ambassador to Germany; and Hartmut Mehdorn, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg’s CEO helped launch the airline’s new service connecting the German and Polish capitals.

To mark airberlin’s arrival in Warsaw, the airport organised a special event for local spotters, although the dedication to their hobby was severely tested in the cold outdoors.

  • airberlin inaugurated two routes last week, as it increased its offering from Berlin Tegel (TXL) with two destinations, one long- and one short-haul, on 23 March. The carrier now offers thrice-weekly flights to Chicago O’Hare (ORD), carried out using A330-200s, as well as thrice-daily services to Warsaw (WAW). The latter is operated using Q400s in competition to LOT Polish Airlines’ 11 weekly departures.

  • Blue Crane Air commenced its operations on 25 March, as it launched services on the 230-kilometre domestic route from its Port Elizabeth (PLZ) base to East London (ELS). Five weekly flights are offered on what is the airline’s sole route, and operated using Cessna 414. Marcus Van Heerden, owner of the start-up airline, commented: “We want to be able to completely fill the gaps found in short-haul routes in the Eastern Cape. The idea is to use a bigger 12-seater aircraft on our East London route and then use the smaller aircraft to service George, King William’s Town and Umtata from Port Elizabeth.” Competition on the route comes from SA Airlink, which offers eight weekly departures from Port Elizabeth to East London.

China Airlines president Sun Hung-Hsiang (third right) was joined by dignitaries from Taiwan and Japan in Taipei last week to celebrate the launch of the airline’s new route to Takamatsu in Shikoku.

China Airlines president Sun Hung-Hsiang (third right) was joined by dignitaries from Taiwan and Japan in Taipei last week to celebrate the launch of the airline’s new route to Takamatsu in Shikoku.

  • China Airlines became the first carrier to connect Taiwan and the Japanese island of Shikoku last week, as it launched services on the 1,600-kilometre route from Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) to Takamatsu (TAK) on 21 March. The start of this service coincides with the Setouchi International Art Festival that takes place on multiple islands of the Seto Inland Sea, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about the region’s heritage, including the famous, locally produced Sanuki udon noodles. Twice-weekly departures are offered on the new China Airlines route and operated with 737-800. Takamatsu is the 12th destination served by the carrier in Japan.

  • Malindo Air, the Lion Air-backed Malaysian airline, which received its AOC only two weeks ago, inaugurated its operations with the launch of two domestic routes on 22 and 23 March respectively. The start-up carrier now connects the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur (KUL), with both Kota Kinabalu (BKI) and Kuching (KCH). Thrice-daily departures are operated on the first route, on which the carrier competes against AirAsia (105 weekly frequencies) and Malaysia Airlines (74), while four-daily flights are offered to Kuching. In the latter market, Malindo Air also faces competition from AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines, which operate 98 and 69 weekly services respectively. Flights on both routes are carried out using the airline’s fleet of 737-900s, which is expected to reach 100 units within a 10-year period, according to the airline’s statement.

  • Mihin Lanka inaugurated flights from the newly opened Hambantota (HRI) airport, Sri Lanka’s second international gateway, on 24 March. The carrier now offers services from this southern Sri Lanka airport to Gaya (GAY) in the north-eastern Indian state of Bihar. The 2,100-kilometre route, which operates a circular pattern connecting Colombo, Hambantota and Gaya before returning to the capital, is offered with weekly frequencies using A320s.

Monarch’s inaugural flight from Birmingham to Gibraltar was met by Minister for Tourism, Neil Costa, along with members of the Tourist Board, including Miss World 2009, Kaiane Aldorino, and the Gibraltar Re-Enactment Society, on Saturday morning. It is the airline’s third route to The Rock, following services from Manchester and London Luton.

  • Monarch Airlines added a total of six new routes last week in expectation of capturing the early Easter traffic. On 23 March, the airline added its 15th destination to its offering from Birmingham (BHX), and now connects the city to Gibraltar (GIB) with thrice-weekly frequencies. In addition, the carrier also launched a host of low-frequency summer services from Leeds/Bradford (LBA). Most of these routes face competition from both Jet2.com and Ryanair.
Launch date Origin Destination WF* Competition
23-Mar-13 Birmingham (BHX) Gibraltar (GIB) 3
22-Mar-13 Leeds/Bradford (LBA) Tenerife Sur (TFS) 2 Jet2.com (3)
Ryanair (2)
Thomson Airways (1)
23-Mar-13 Faro (FAO) 3 Jet2.com (5)
Ryanair (5)
23-Mar-13 Palma de Mallorca (PMI) 4 Jet2.com (7)
Ryanair (5)
24-Mar-13 Larnaca (LCA) 2
25-Mar-13 Lanzarote (ACA) 2 Jet2.com (2)
Ryanair (2)
Source: Innovata 1 April 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.

  • Pegasus Airlines commenced operation on the 3,700-kilometre route from its Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) to the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek (FRU) on 21 March. Daily flights are offered on the route, on which the airline faces competition from the daily services offered by the Kyrgyz airline Air Manas. Almaty in Kazakhstan is the only other destination served by Pegasus Airlines in Central Asia, and twice-daily flights are offered on this route.

  • Ryanair, in addition to a handful of seasonal service resumptions, inaugurated flights on a total of five genuinely new routes in the course of last week in the hope to fully benefit from the Easter holiday traffic. All of the newly launched routes operate with twice-weekly frequencies and only two faces competition – Manchester (MAN) to Paphos (PFO).
Launch date Origin Destination WF* Competition
20-Mar-13 Manchester (MAN) Paphos (PFO) 2 easyJet (9)

Thomson Airways (4)

Jet2.com (2)

Thomas Cook (2)

21-Mar-13 Weeze (NRN) Corfu (CFU) 2
23-Mar-13 Alghero (AHO) Dortmund (DTM) 2
24-Mar-13 East Midlands (EMA) Marseille (MRS) 2
25-Mar-13 Brussels Charleroi (CRL) Paphos (PFO) 2
Source: Innovata w/c 1 April 2013.     *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.

  • SA Airlink, the regional subsidiary of South African Airways, commenced services on the 1,000-kilometre route from Johannesburg (JNB) to Kasane (BBK) in northern Botswana, on 22 March. Four weekly departures are now offered on the route in competition with Air Botswana’s service of the same frequency. Flights are carried out using ERJ135s.

  • SriLankan Airlines began operations at the new Sri Lankan international gateway, Hambantota (HRI) on 21 March with twice-weekly services to Jeddah (JED). On the following day, the airline also inaugurated stopping services to Beijing (PEK), which operate via Bangkok (BKK). Both routes are offered with twice-weekly frequencies and originate in the country’s capital.

  • UTair Ukraine continued its growth last week, as it added services from Kiev Zhulyany (IEV) to Vilnius (VNO) on 23 March. Thrice-weekly services are now offered on the 600-kilometre route and operated using ATR72-500s. Onward connections to destinations such as Odessa, Lviv, Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lugansk and Tbilisi, are available. Moreover, the airline plans to add a second route to Vilnius in June, from Simferopol.

Celebrating Vueling’s new route to Berlin Tegel were Patrick Zeuner, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg’s Marketing and Public Relations Officer; Julian Munar, Vueling’s First Officer; Jana Lificiu, Cabin Crew; Marco Massa, Captain on the inaugural flight; Rebecca Jimenez, Purser; and Patricia Lopez, Cabin Crew.

Celebrating Vueling’s new route to Berlin Tegel were Patrick Zeuner, Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg’s Marketing and Public Relations Officer; Julian Munar, Vueling’s First Officer; Jana Lificiu, Cabin Crew; Marco Massa, Captain on the inaugural flight; Rebecca Jimenez, Purser; and Patricia Lopez, Cabin Crew.

  • Vueling, which in the previous week inaugurated two routes from Spain to Hannover, continued its expansion in Germany last week, as it connected both Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Hamburg (HAM) with Florence (FLR) in northern Italy. Moreover, flights to the Italian destination are now offered by the airline also from Copenhagen (CPH). The 1,300-kilometre route from Palma de Mallorca (PMI) in the Balearic Islands to London Heathrow (LHR) is offered with daily frequencies and is the only route on which Vueling faces competition.
Launch date Origin Destination WF* Competition
22-Mar-13 Florence (FLR) Berlin Tegel (TXL) 4
23-Mar-13 Copenhagen (CPH) 4
23-Mar-13 Hamburg (HAM) 3
23-Mar-13 Palma de Mallorca (PMI) London Heathrow (LHR) 7 British Airways (2)
Source: Innovata w/c 1 April 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.

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