New airline routes launched (16 April – 22 April)

Virgin America Los Angeles, CA to Las Vegas, NV

Did someone say picture opportunity with Vegas Showgirls? In trademark understated style of all route launches involving Richard Branson, the UK entrepreneur was on hand to welcome the start of his US off-shoot Virgin America’s new 19-weekly A319 service from Los Angeles, CA to Las Vegas, NV.

  • Virgin America started its 19-weekly A319 Las Vegas, NV (LAS) operation from its focus city of Los Angeles, CA (LAX) on 22 April. Despite offering this level of frequency, the airline will command less than 10% of weekly flights, when it starts operations, coming up against the combined might of five different carriers, both legacy and LCC — Southwest Airlines (79 weekly frequencies), Delta Air Lines (62), United Airlines (36) American Airlines (35) and Spirit Airlines (14). France Lyon to Seville

  • France has started four new flights from two French regional airports this week. On 16 April, the LCC inaugurated services on the 1,800-kilometre route between Lille (LIL) in French Flanders to Oujda (OUD) in north-east Morocco. Three more routes were started from the airline’s third base (Lille is the fourth) in Lyon (LYS), with six weekly flights split between Heraklion (HER), Marrakech (RAK) and Seville (SVQ).
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/c Competition (WF)
16-Apr-13 Lille (LIL) Oujda (OUD) 2 B738
20-Apr-13 Lyon (LYS) Heraklion (HER) 3
21-Apr-13 Marrakech (RAK) 2 Royal Air Maroc (5), easyJet (4), Jetairfly (1)
22-Apr-13 Seville (SVQ) 1
Source: Innovata w/c 29 April 2013. WF = weekly frequencies at launch.

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

  • Air Astana inaugurated flights on the 1,100-kilometre route between Astana (TSE) and Orenburg (REN) on 16 April. The airline connected the capital of Kazakhstan with the southern Russian city situated on the border between Europe and Asia with thrice-weekly frequencies, and will operate the service using its 97-seat ERJ-190s.

  • Air France has launched two new long-haul routes from its Paris CDG (CDG) hub. On 16 April, the airline enhanced its South America route coverage, as it commenced a four-weekly service to Uruguay’s capital Montevideo (MVD). The flights will be operated via Buenos Aires (EZE) using 264-seat 777-200s and frequency will increase to five-times weekly from 21 May. The airline currently operates nine routes in eight countries in South America. However Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay and Suriname still do not have direct air connections with France. In addition, on 22 April, the airline inaugurated flights on the 10,400-kilometre route to Kuala Lumpur (KUL). The thrice-weekly service now breaks Malaysia Airlines’ long-running monopoly in the market, which currently serves the city pair with daily operations.

  • Air Méditerranée, the French charter-scheduled operator, which was recently analysed by, commenced three sun destinations last week. On 20 April the airline inaugurated weekly flights from both Marseille (MRS) and the eastern French city Mulhouse (MLH) to Split (SPU), located on the Adriatic coast in Croatia. On the following day it launched flights from Marseille to Corfu (CFU) in Greece. All of the routes are operated on a seasonal basis using 737s and the schedules vary throughout the year. [NB. Mulhouse is the French designation for Basel (BSL) airport, which straddles the border between France and Switzerland.]

  • airberlin expanded its network from its Zurich (ZRH) base with the resumption of flights to Naples (NAP) in Italy on 19 April. The 900-kilometre route, which was last served in 2010, is now operated twice-weekly, using various narrowbody equipment and the seasonal service is scheduled to terminate at the end of October. This will be the airline’s eighth route to Italy from Zurich this summer, joining Brindisi, Cagliari, Catania, Lamezia Terme, Olbia, Palermo and Rimini.

Paderborn now connected to Paddington: The start of six weekly flights from London City Airport to Paderborn-Lippstadt Airport on 22 April by CityJet has erased one of three UK routes that the German airport wanted services to on its Route Shop profile.

  • CityJet inaugurated flights from London City (LCY) to Paderborn-Lippstadt (PAD) in Germany on 22 April. The airline connects London with Germany’s important industrial and information technology centre, and will serve the route six-times weekly using 50-seat Fokker 50 equipment. Notably, the route was one of the three UK destinations, required by the German airport on The Route Shop, the other two, Manchester and Bournemouth, both still remaining unserved.

  • Dniproavia grew last week with three new routes launched on 22 April. The airline inaugurated flights from Kiev Boryspil (KBP) to Donetsk (DOK) and Odessa (ODS), served by the airline with twice-daily and daily frequencies respectively. The newly launched domestic services will compete with Ukraine International Airlines, which already operates twice-daily flights on both of the routes. In addition, the airline commenced daily operations on the 800-kilometre route connecting Ukraine’s fourth-largest city Dnepropetrovsk (DNK) and Moscow Domodedovo (DME). The route is served with a 49-seat ERJ-145, and operates in competition with existing twice-weekly flights provided by Transaero Airlines.

  • Eastar Jet, the South Korean low-cost airline inaugurated four-weekly service on the 4,300-kilometre route from Seoul Incheon (ICN) to the popular resort destination of Phuket (HKT) in Thailand on 18 April. The newly launched 737-800 operated service faces substantial competition, provided by Asiana Airlines (seven weekly flights), Korean Airlines (7), Thai Airways (7) and Business Air (3).

  • easyJet has further expanded its network, with two new routes launched last week. On 19 April, the airline started operations between Milan Malpensa (MXP) and Belgrade (BEG), the capital of Serbia, which has not been served by the airline before, and now offers thrice-weekly flights in competition with Jat Airways’ existing four-weekly departures on the same route. In addition, on the following day it commenced a twice-weekly service from Manchester (MAN) to Mykonos (JMK) island in Greece. On the launch day Ali Gayward, Commercial Manager for easyJet, said: “Demand for affordable holidays in Greece has grown dramatically over the last year, with easyJet expecting to carry a staggering 150,000 passengers between Greece and the North West this summer.” Including a Santorini service starting next week, the airline will serve a total of five routes to Greece from Manchester this summer.

flydubai’s CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith was on board flydubai’s first flight to Juba on 16 April, and was welcomed by the Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Dr Riek Macha Teny, at the Presidential terminal.

  • flydubai continues its expansion from Dubai (DXB), with two new routes inaugurated last week. On 16 April, the airline launched its fifth destination to Russia, and now operates a twice-weekly schedule to Mineralnye Vody (MRV), the country’s gateway to Caucasian mineral waters. flydubai competes in the market with Ural Airlines, which already serves the route on a weekly basis. Also on 21 April, the airline started four-weekly operations on the 3,400-kilometre route to the capital of South Sudan, Juba (JUB). On the launch day flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al Ghaith, said: “We are pleased to start operations to Juba as it enables us to further broaden our network in Africa and opens up more routes to previously underserved markets”. Both of the routes are operated with the airline’s 189-seat 737-800s.

Holding the banner for the new Tbilisi to Düsseldorf route are: John Kohlsaat, CEO at FlyGeorgia; Antonio Di Monaco, Düsseldorf Airport Airline Manager and FlyGeorgia crew.

Holding the banner for the new Tbilisi to Düsseldorf route are: John Kohlsaat, CEO at FlyGeorgia; Antonio Di Monaco, Düsseldorf Airport Airline Manager and FlyGeorgia crew.

  • FlyGeorgia which inaugurated its first flight only eight months ago, continues to expand its network, and in addition to the recently launched Kiev Boryspil service, it added one more international destination on 19 April. The airline connected its Tbilisi (TBS) base with Düsseldorf (DUS) in Germany and now serves the city pair with twice-weekly frequencies, using a 125-seat A319. The carrier is the sole operator on the 3,100-kilometre route.

  • Georgian Airways, the nation’s privately owned flag-carrier, has started a weekly operation between the Black Sea coastal city of Batumi (BUS) and Kiev Zhulyany (IEV) on 20 April.  Services are expected to be quickly ramped up to twice-weekly on the 1,300km route, which is operated by the Caucasus-located airline’s CRJ-200 fleet.

  • jetBlue Airways has begun operations from its New York JFK, NY (JFK) hub to the largest city in the state of New Mexico – Albuquerque (ABQ). Starting from 22 April, and flown daily by the airline’s A320 aircraft, jetBlue will face no direct or indirect competition on the route. The new service represents the airline’s only route foray into Albuquerque at present.

The inaugural Royal Air Maroc service from Zurich to Casablanca was celebrated by (left to right) Peter Grünig, Head Aviation Marketing, Zurich Airport along with Mourad El Kanabi, Vice President Europe & Switzerland, Royal Air Maroc and Mohamed Balbacha, Chargé d’Affaires, Royal Embassy of Maroc in Berne. Despite the delicious buffet and drinks for all passengers and invited guests, confirms it will not be starting a ‘Couscous of the Week’ competition.

  • Royal Air Maroc has re-commenced operations between its main operational hub in Casablanca (CMN), and Zurich (ZRH), following an 18-month hiatus on the route. Complementing the Moroccan flag carrier’s existing operations into Geneva, the thrice-weekly service will be conducted by its B737-700s thrice-weekly from 19 April.

  • RusLine, the Moscow Domodedovo-headquartered regional airline, has started two new routes from Chelyabinsk (CEK), the administrative center of Chelyabinsk Oblast, which boasts a population of over one million. Connections to Krasnodar (KRR) and Novy Urengoy (NUX) were started on 20 April and 21 April respectively – with no competitors on either route. The 1,949-kilometre flight to Krasnodar is operated by the airline’s CRJs weekly, but will be increased to twice-weekly between 21 May and 12 September. The link to the oil and gas production city of Novy Urengoy will be flown twice weekly.

  • Skymark Airlines, on 20 April, began two new routes from Sendai (SDJ), the capital of the Miyagi Prefecture, to Fukuoka (FUK), situated on the northern coast of Kyushu Island, and Sapporo Chitose (CTS), Japan’s fourth largest city. The former will be flown twice-daily by the LCC, in competition with three airlines – Ibex Airlines (42 weekly), JAL’s regional subsidiary J-Air (14) and ANA (7). Competition will be fiercer for Skymark on the Sendai-Sapporo city pair, with the three incumbents offering 119 weekly flights between them – Air Nippon Network, the subsidiary feeder airline for ANA (28 weekly), fellow LCC Air Do (56) and J-Air (35). Both routes will be operated by the LCC’s 737-800s.

  • Spring Airlines, the self-proclaimed first and only LCC in China, has inaugurated a service between Shijiazhuang (SJW) and Dalian (DLC) on 19 April. Flights on the 600-kilometre route are operated by the carrier’s A320s in competition with China Southern Airlines, which also flies the city pair daily. The route becomes the twelfth destination the airline flies from Shijiazhuang, the capital and largest city of North China’s Hebei province.

  • Transaero Airlines launched two new connections to Kiev Zhulyany (IEV), with the Ukrainian capital’s airport now receiving flights from two new points in Russia, namely Ufa (UFA) and Ekaterinburg (SVX). Beginning on 20 April, the link from Ufa, the capital city of the Republic of Bashkortostan, will be flown twice-weekly by the carrier’s 737-700s. Started on the following day was the 2,110-kilometre service from Ekaterinburg, one of Transaero’s hubs, also using the same aircraft with the same weekly frequency. However, the latter route, will face indirect competition, as Ukraine International Airlines flies thrice-weekly from Kiev Borispol.

  • has commenced weekly connections from Amsterdam (AMS) to Kalamata (KLX), via the island of Kithira (KIT), on 20 April. The route is operated by the airline’s 737-800s.

  • Ukraine International Airlines, based at Kiev Borispol (KBP), launched operations from its home hub on 21 April to Rostov-on-Don (ROV), the Russian port city and the administrative centre of Rostov Oblast. The 732-kilometre route will be flown by the airline’s 73-seat An-148s on a five-times weekly basis, and currently faces no direct competition on the city pair.

The launch of services by Volotea to Corsica from Brest was welcomed by the familiar water arch on 20 April. On the apron with the aircraft’s crew were (right to left): Andre Jourt, VP Brest CCI, and Philippe Morel, Brest Airport Operations Director. The airport gave away cakes on the launch: thought that this was a great way to increase the airline’s ancillary revenue (better than marketing support), as these Corsican Canistrelli can be a bit dry (though excellent), so much so that soft drinks sales must have rocketed on the aircraft.

  • Volotea, the pan-European LCC, has continued its rapid route expansion this week, adding another four routes to its portfolio. Of the four routes launched, the Nantes (NTE) to Palermo (PMO) sector is the longest at 1,561 km, while the shortest is the 671-kilometre service between Toulouse (TLS) and Bastia (BIA). Additional weekly flights will be operated on the Brest (BES) to Ajaccio (AJA) and Bastia runs during the peak season.
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/c Competition (WF)
19-Apr-13 Nantes (NTE) Palermo (PMO) 2 B717
20-Apr-13 Brest (BES) Ajaccio (AJA)
Bastia (BIA)
21-Apr-13 Toulouse (TLS) easyJet (3)
Source: Innovata w/c 29 April 2013. WF = weekly frequencies at launch.

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  1. Michael says:

    It might be worth mentioning that Russia’s s7 airlines, a oneworld alliance member, has started Moscow Domodedovo services to Genoa on 20 April, twice a week, using A319 equipment with 128 seats in a two-class layout. The service to Italy will be increased to thrice weekly in June and up to five flights weekly in July.
    s7 also launched twice weekly (Wednesday and Saturday) flights from Moscow Domodedovo to Athens on 27 April, also using the A319. The Athens service competes with Star alliance’s Aegean Airlines from Domodedovo and indirectly with Aeroflot, a Skyteam member, from Moscow Sheremetyevo, meaning all three alliances now have direct services between the Russian and Greek capitals.

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