New airline routes launched (9 – 15 July 2013)

Air China’s Houston – Beijing

Air China launches non-stop flights from Beijing to Houston

Houston Mayor, Annise Parker, was on hand to greet the delegation from China led by Yinxiang Wang, Co-Chairwoman of Air China; Chinese Consul General for Texas and seven southern US states and Puerto Rico, Erwen Xu; and former Houston Rockets star and now Houston's Honorary Goodwill Ambassador, Yao Ming.

  • Air China, which already operates flights from Beijing (PEK) to Los Angeles (14 weekly), New York JFK (11) and San Francisco (7) in the US, added Houston Intercontinental, TX (IAH) as its fourth destination in the country on 11 July. Four-weekly services are offered on the 11,600-kilometre route and operated using 777-300s. “The entire Houston region will benefit from this new Air China flight, both economically and from a cultural standpoint,” said Houston Aviation Director, Mario Diaz.

Frontier’s Tampa to Wilmington

Despite launching last week, Tampa International Airport's cake celebrating its new twice weekly route by Frontier Airlines to Wilmington, DE takes this week's prize under Article 19.1b of the Cake of the Week rules, as published on the back of the door in's toilet, which states: "If no other airport or airline provides with a cake picture from the week in question, cakes from the preceding week can be considered for Cake of the Week." So that settles it. Justin Meyer, Director of Air Service and Development, Tampa International Airport; Chris Magulski, GM Corporate Sales, Frontier Airlines; and Kari Goetz, Director of Marketing, Tampa International Airport, posed for a picture to commemorate  the airline’s new service to Wilmington that launched last week .

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

  • Aegean Airlines commenced operations from its Athens (ATH) hub to London Stansted (STN) on 11 July. The Greek airline returns to the London airport after nearly a four-year hiatus. The newly launched thrice-weekly flights compliment the airline’s existing service to London Heathrow, which it operates with the same frequency. Seasonal flights on the newly launched route are operated using 168-seat A320s and scheduled to terminate on 16 September.

Flanked by Air Asia X’ cabin crew, were Azran Osman-Rani, the airline’s CEO; Amirul Rizal, Director of Tourism Promotion Board in Seoul; Claire Choi, Korea Manager of Tourism Australia; Kyong-sop Ohm, President of Busan Tourism Organization; and Dato’ Ramlan bin Ibrahim, Ambassador of Malaysia in South Korea.

  • AirAsia X grew its offering to South Korea on 15 July with the addition of four-weekly services from its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) base to the country’s second-largest city, Busan (PUS). The airline, which already offers 11 weekly flights to Seoul Incheon, operates all services with its fleet of 13 A330-300s.

  • airblue, Pakistan’s second-largest airline with around 20% of domestic market, commenced services on the 2,900-kilometre route from Karachi (KHI) to Jeddah (JED) on 9 July. A thrice-weekly schedule is offered on the route using A319s in competition with PIA (6 weekly flights), Saudia Airlines (6) and Shaheen Air (2). The new service comes in addition to the thrice-weekly flights to Jeddah from Lahore, which had been launched a day earlier.

Avianca’s Commercial Director, Pablo Gómez; Jesús Almaguer Salazar, Director of Cancun’s Visitor and Convention Bureau; Julio Nolasco, Commercial Manager; and Moisés Patiño, Avianca’s Head of Sales Mexico

Avianca’s Commercial Director, Pablo Gómez; Jesús Almaguer Salazar, Director of Cancun’s Visitor and Convention Bureau; Julio Nolasco, Commercial Manager; and Moisés Patiño, Avianca’s Head of Sales Mexico announced the new service from Bogota to Cancun in late May. Cancun expects up to 40% more Colombian tourists as a result of this new route.

Bogota Airport dispatched Avianca’s inaugural service to Cancun with a special event at the gate.

Avianca’s inaugural service was welcomed with the traditional water arch

Upon arrival in the Mexican resort, Avianca’s inaugural service was welcomed with the traditional water arch.

  • Avianca, the former flag carrier of Colombia now merged with Taca Airlines, inaugurated services on the 2,300-kilometre route from its Bogota (BOG) hub to Cancun (CUN) in the Yucatán peninsula, which it last operated in January 2001. Commencing on 15 July, the airline offers four-weekly flights on the route, which it operates using A319s in competition with Copa Airlines’ service of the same frequency.

Boston Airport, Copa Airlines’ ninth airport in the US, threw a huge welcome party to celebrate the airline’s maiden service to Panama City.

  • Copa Airlines, which had previously served eight destinations across the US from its Panama City (PTY) base, further increased its coverage of the country in the last week. Beginning on 10 July, the carrier operates daily flights on the 3,800-kilometre route to Boston (BOS) using its fleet of 18 737-700s. Pedro Heilbron, Copa Airlines’ CEO, commented: “Boston has long been the largest US market without non-stop services to Latin America. We now offer services to 55 points across the region via our hub in Panama.” Panama City is featured in this week’s airport analysis.

Cubana lands in Sao Paulo Guarulhos

Cubana’s non-stop service, which arrived in Sao Paulo last week, will save travellers up to 10 hours travel time.

  • Cubana inaugurated operations on the 6,400-kilometre route from Havana (HAV) to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) on 10 July. The route, last operated in December 2004, is offered with weekly frequency using IL-96s and reflects Cuba’s new economic strategy to foster foreign investment on the island, especially the New Port of Mariel Development Project, supported by the Brazilian Government with $800 million.

Traditional Hawaiian and Taiwanese performances were part of the celebration in Honolulu…

…which continued upon arrival in Taipei Taoyuan and included an impressive four fire truck water cannon salute.

  • Hawaiian Airlines launched its ninth route since November 2010 on 9 July, as it commenced services on the 8,200-kilometre route from its Honolulu, HI (HNL) hub to Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). Thrice-weekly frequencies are operated on the route using A330-200s in competition with China Airlines’ twice-weekly flights.

  • Hong Kong Airlines inaugurated operations on the 4,800-kilometre route from Hong Kong (HKG) to Male (MLE) in the Maldives. Starting on 10 July, the carrier offers four-weekly, A330-200-operated frequencies on the route, in competition with Mega Maldives’ thrice-weekly service.

  • Hong Kong Express commenced operations on two routes previously served by its parent company, Hong Kong Airlines. Beginning on 12 July, the carrier offers daily flights from Hong Kong (HKG) to Chongqing (CKG) and Kota Kinabalu (BKI). Air China (daily), Dragonair (daily) and Spring Airlines (thrice-weekly) provide competition on the new route to China, while AirAsia (14 weekly flights), Malaysia Airlines (9) and Dragonair (7) serve Malaysian Kota Kinabalu. Both routes are operated using A320s.

  • HOP!, the regional brand of Air France, increased its seasonal domestic offering on 13 July with the launch of services on the 1,100-kilometre route from Caen (CFR) in north-western France to Figari (FSC) in Corsica. Weekly CRJ-700-operated flights are offered until the end of August.

Miguel Alemán Velasco, Chairman of Interjet (pictured in the Middle), led the launch ceremony in Mexico City.

Miguel Alemán Velasco, Chairman of Interjet (pictured in the centre), led the launch ceremony in Mexico City.

Bogota welcoming Interjet’s arrival

Bogota welcomed Interjet’s arrival with the traditional water cannon salute.

Interjet expanded its international offering from Mexico City (MEX) to eight destinations last week, as it commenced operations on the 3,200-kilometre route to Bogota (BOG) on 10 July. In addition, the carrier grew its domestic network from the capital airport, with two new destinations. All new routes are offered with daily frequencies using A320s and face competition from at least two airlines.

Launch date Origin Destination WF* A/c Origin
10-Jul-13 Mexico City (MEX) Bogota (BOG) 7 A320 Avianca (21)
Aeromexico (7)
Copa Airlines (7)
15-Jul-13 Campeche (CPE) 7 A320 Aeromexico (20)
VivaAerobus (3)
La Paz (LAP) 7 A320 Aeromexico (19)
Volaris (10)
Source: Innovata w/c 22 July 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.

  • inaugurated seasonal weekly flights from its East Midlands (EMA) base to Gran Canaria (LPA) on 15 July. Low frequency flights to the island of Gran Canaria are offered until 4 November in competition with Ryanair (twice-weekly frequencies), Thomson Airways (1) and Thomas Cook Airlines (1). 737 narrow-bodies are deployed to operate the service.

  • Korean Air expanded its coverage of the Chinese market from Busan (PUS), South Korea’s second-largest city, on 12 July. In addition to Beijing (10 weekly flights), Shanghai Pudong (9) and Qingdao (7), the airline now offers four-weekly frequencies on the 1,000 kilometre route to Nanjing (NKG) in eastern China. 737-900s are deployed to fly the new service.

  • Meridiana commenced operations on the domestic route from Lampedusa (LMP) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) on 13 July. The carrier, which already operates services from the Mediterranean island to Verona (twice-weekly), Bologna and Milan Malpensa (both weekly), now offers weekly flights to the capital. The A320-operated service faces competition from Blue Panorama Airlines’ four-weekly and Alitalia’s twice-weekly frequencies, and is scheduled to terminate on 14 September.

  • Oman Air inaugurated operations on the 1,900-kilometre route from Muscat (MCT) to Medinah (MED), making the service its fourth destination in Saudi Arabia. Beginning on 9 July, the carrier offers weekly flights on the route using 737-800s. Competition is provided by Saudia Airlines, which operates services of the same frequency. Oman Air already operates twice-weekly flights to Jeddah and Riyadh, as well as 10 times weekly to Damman.

  • Shenzhen Airlines added a fourth international destination from its Shenzhen (SZX) hub last week. Beginning on 15 July, the Star Alliance member airline offers twice-daily flights to Bangkok (BKK), using 164-seat 737-800s. With 742 weekly flights to 49 destinations, the airline is the biggest operator at Shenzhen Airport, which is located just 50 kilometres from Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport and handled nearly 30 million passengers last year.

  • Skymark Airlines, which is profiled in this week’s airline feature, commenced operations to Ishigaki (ISG) in the Japanese Okinawa Prefecture on 10 July with the launch of three routes, all of which are operated with at least daily frequencies. Interestingly, the new Ishigaki Airport was inaugurated on 7 March 2013, replacing an older facility that could not accommodate larger aircraft due to infrastructure limitations (1,500 meter runway).
Launch date Origin Destination WF* A/c Comeptition
10-Jul-13 Kobe (UKB) Ishigaki (ISG) 7 B73H
Okinawa (OKA) 28 B73H Japan Transocean Air (63)
ANA (56)
Tokyo Narita (NRT) 7 B73H
Source: Innovata w/c 22 July 2013.   *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.

  • TACV, the flag carrier of Cape Verde, an archipelago of 10 islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, commenced operations on the route from Sal (SID) to Marseille (MRS) on 9 July. The route, which operates via Paris CDG, is offered with weekly frequencies using 737-800s. This is in addition to the airline’s existing, also weekly, flight to Paris CDG.

  • United Airlines inaugurated weekly flights from New York Newark, NJ, (EWR) to Saint Lucia (UVF) on 13 July. The low frequency service on the 3,300-kilometre route to the eastern Caribbean island is operated using variable 737 equipment.


  1. It’s interesting that in your news items for the launched routes BOG-CUN by Avianca and MEX-BOG by Interjet you classify CM as a competitor for thesew carriers in both cases. Indeed CM is a very worthy 6th F competitor for these carriers. However, CM does not offer direct flights on either city pair nor even a through flight nº via PTY? As far as I recall AANA’s definition of a competitor is either a non-stop or a multi sector operator under one same flight nº?

  2. Abhijith says:

    Guys, a small correction,

    Under Oman Air, you have listed Muscat-Riyadh/Jeddah being served with twice weekly frequencies, which should be twice-daily!

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