New airline routes launched (20 August – 2 September 2013)
Air India’s Delhi to Sydney and Melbourne
- Air India began its assault on the India to Australia market (and potentially the lucrative ‘kangaroo route’ from Europe too), when it began the only direct flights between the two countries, starting Delhi (DEL) to Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL) on 29 August. The 787-operated service touched down at Sydney first, before continuing on to Melbourne, and then returning from the Victoria state capital to Delhi — it will fly this routing from the Indian capital four times weekly. In addition, the non-aligned carrier will fly Delhi-Melbourne-Sydney-Delhi thrice-weekly (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays). Take a look to see how Sydney Airport’s fire truck water arch (FTWA) performed in the inaugural FTWA scoring feature – launched this week by anna.aero.
bmi regional’s Aberdeen to Kristiansund
- bmi regional celebrated the launch of its latest new route, linking Aberdeen (ABZ) to Kristiansund (KSU) in Norway. The service which started on 28 August is being offered on weekdays (five-weekly) with no competition. The former subsidiary of British Midland International (BMI), now a fully independent airline, will fly the new 860-kilometre connection using E135s. The CEO of bmi regional, Cathal O’Connell, commented on the launch, saying: “Our new Kristiansund route will link two important energy sector locations and we are especially pleased to be launching the service in time for Offshore Europe 2013”. Celebrations held in Aberdeen included a promotional Viking, bagpipes and an impressive Viking cake. The route becomes Kristiansund’s only current year-round international scheduled service, as its other main scheduled routes are to Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim (all operated by Widerøe), and Oslo (SAS).
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
- Afriqiyah Airways, based in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, introduced flights from Misurata (MRA) to the Egyptian capital Cairo (CAI) on 20 August. The twice-weekly operation is scheduled to be flown using A320s by the state-owned carrier on the 1,574-kilometre sector. Afriqiyah will compete with the Libyan flag carrier Libyan Airlines, which flies a weekly service. Although Afriqiyah and Libyan Airlines currently have separate operations, plans to merge the two are making progress, albeit slowly. The Afriqiyah route launch brings the total number of services offered by the airline into Cairo to three, with services also available from Tripoli and Benghazi. The latest route, is its fifth Egyptian service, with the airline offering three routes into Cairo, and two into Alexandria.
- Air Arabia inaugurated two routes to Iran inside a week, launching flights from its Sharjah (SHJ) hub, to Lar (LRR) and Mashad (MHD). The low-cost carrier commenced operations to Lar, Larestan County’s capital city in Fars Province, on 25 August. The new 283-kilometre service is offered twice-weekly with no competition. Air Arabia also offers services to Mashad, the country’s second largest city, after its latest launch on 29 August. The LCC utilises one of its 32-strong (including three at Air Arabia Maroc), single aircraft fleet of A320s on the weekly (Thursday), uncompeted 1,273-kilometre sector.
- Alaska Airlines has added its latest service, expanding the network between Portland, OR (PDX) and Atlanta, GA (ATL) on 26 August, marking the eighth new route added from Portland within the last 12 months. Atlanta is scheduled daily using 737-800s on the 4,023-kilometre route. The new service is the 35th direct destination out of its Portland hub; Alaska Airlines competes with Delta Air Lines, which offers the route 20 times weekly. Although the major carrier is not an alliance member, it does however operate codeshares with members from both oneworld and SkyTeam. In addition to this launch, Alaska Airlines is also planning to launch Dallas/Fort Worth from Portland on 16 September. On the launch, Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines’ Vice President of Marketing, said: “With these new flights to Atlanta, our Portland-area customers will enjoy non-stop service to a great south-eastern city, as well as connecting opportunities throughout North America via our partner Delta Air Lines’ hub there.”
- Allegiant Air has added a 290-kilometre city pair between Oakland, CA (OAK) and Reno-Tahoe, NV (RNO). The new operation is scheduled twice-weekly (Friday and Sunday) using the airline’s venerable MD80s. The American low-cost carrier now serves a total of five routes from Oakland, the others being Bellingham (Washington), Eugene (Oregon), Phoenix-Mesa (Arizona) and Provo (Utah). It is also the airline’s third route from Reno, as it already serves Bellingham and Las Vegas. Commenting on the launch, Andrew Levy, the President of Allegiant Travel Company, said: “We are pleased to bring a new, affordable and convenient travel option to the residents of the San Francisco Bay area and we are confident that the community will appreciate the convenience of flying non-stop to Reno.” Last year Oakland Airport handled just over 10 million passengers, while Reno-Tahoe Airport handled almost 3.5million.
- American Airlines has introduced five new non-stop routes from Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to; Columbus, OH (CMH), Fayetteville/NW Arkansas, AR (XNA), Hartford, CT (BDL), Indianapolis, IN (IND) and Pittsburgh, PA (PIT). The five new launches all took place on Tuesday 27 August and bring the carrier’s total number of non-stop destinations out of Los Angeles to 49. Four of the five new routes are flown using the airline’s 737-800s, with Fayetteville flights being operated by American Eagle’s CRJ700s. Each new route is being offered as a daily service, two compete with Delta Air Lines and one (Pittsburgh) with United Airlines. American Airlines will also begin adding a daily service from its Los Angeles hub to Sao Paulo in December.
|Launch date||Origin||Destination||WF*||A/c||Competition (WF)|
|27 August||Los Angeles, CA||Columbus, OH||7||B738||Delta Air Lines (5)|
|27 August||Los Angeles, CA||Fayetteville/ NW Arkansas, AR||7||CR7|
|27 August||Los Angeles, CA||Hartford, CT||7||B738|
|27 August||Los Angeles, CA||Indianapolis, IN||7||B738||Delta Air Lines (6)|
|27 August||Los Angeles, CA||Pittsburgh, PA||7||B738||United Airlines (7)|
|Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 26 August 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.|
- BA CityFlyer added a 467-kilometre city pair between London City (LCY) and Düsseldorf (DUS) on 1 September. The new operation between the two business centre cities is scheduled with thrice-daily operations (Monday to Friday), as well as daily (Saturday and Sunday), resulting in 17 weekly flights. Saab 2000s (operated by Eastern Airways on BA CityFlyer’s behalf) are used on the route which has no direct competition. However, British Airways also serves Düsseldorf with up to six daily flights from London Heathrow, while Lufthansa also serves Heathrow (with five daily flights), with further competition coming from airberlin (up to three daily flights to London Stansted), and easyJet (twice-daily flights from London Gatwick). Düsseldorf becomes the second German destination served by BA CityFlyer from London City Airport, after Frankfurt.
- China Airlines, Taiwan’s biggest airline, began services on 1 September from Taipei Taoyuan (TPE), the airport which anna.aero featured in July, to Busan (PUS) in South Korea. The 1,352-kilometre, six times weekly operation will be flown on the SkyTeam carrier’s 158-seat 737-800s against some entrenched competition, namely Air Busan (seven weekly flights) and TransAsia Airways (five). Busan, the second largest city in South Korea, becomes the airline’s second route to the country after its existing 11-weekly operation to Seoul Incheon.
- China Eastern Airlines, China’s second largest airline by weekly flights and seats, has commenced operations on 30 August from Yinchuan (INC) to Hong Kong (HKG). The 1,930-kilometre route, will be flown on the SkyTeam carrier’s 158-seat A320s, with twice-weekly rotations (Mondays and Fridays). Currently there is no competition on the city pair. Yinchuan becomes the 20th Chinese point connected to Hong Kong by China Eastern.
- EGYPTAIR EXPRESS began operating its latest route network addition between Sohag (HMB), on the western banks of the Nile, and Kuwait City (KWI), situated on the Persian Gulf. The service was introduced on 24 August with thrice-weekly rotations, offering flights on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The regional carrier, which is a member of Star Alliance through its parent company EGYPTAIR, utilises Embraer E170s to fly the 1,630-kilometre sector. EGYPTAIR EXPRESS competes on the route with the daily frequency offered by Jazeera Airways. The new route has been launched despite the recent conflicts within Egypt, including violence in the Sohag Governorate capital itself. EGYPTAIR flies one other route out of Sohag, to Cairo, also a thrice-weekly operation.
- Ethiopian Airlines has inaugurated services between Addis Ababa (ADD) and Enugu (ENU) with the introduction of four weekly rotations. Enugu will become the Star Alliance member’s third Nigerian destination with the major African airline and flag carrier for Ethiopia already serving Abuja five times weekly, and Lagos, daily. Ethiopian Airlines operates the new service using 737-800s and has no competition on the 3,455-kilometre sector. The historic flight marked the start of Enugu Airport’s international services, and is part of its transition to become an international airport in which it has undergone a three phase renovation and expansion program. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian, said: “Enugu is another exciting step. Nigeria has always been, and continues to be, one of our important destinations in West Africa. We thank the people and the government of Nigeria for their continued support in making this new service to Enugu possible.”
- Etihad Airways commenced operations to Yemen on 1 September, linking Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Sana’a (SAH), the capital and largest city in the Middle Eastern country. The MEB3 carrier will fly the 1,473-kilometre city pair four times weekly on one of its 136-seat A320s. In terms of competition, Yemenia Yemen Airways operates thrice-weekly from Sana’a to Abu Dhabi direct, but each of the inbound flights operate via a separate intermediary point — namely Aden, Seiyun and Riyan. Sana’a becomes non-stop destination #75 for Etihad, according to anna.aero’s recent analysis, and the last of the MEB3 to serve this point in Yemen. Emirates connects its Dubai hub on a daily basis to Sana’a (with widebody A330s), while Qatar Airways flies five times weekly from Doha, using A320-series aircraft.
- Iraqi Airways continues to build its portfolio of services from Erbil (EBL), Iraq’s fourth largest city (after Baghdad, Basra and Mosul), with services to Turkey’s capital of Ankara (ESB). Starting on 31 August, the 1,053-kilometre route will benefit from twice-weekly CRJ900 rotations. Ankara becomes the carrier’s second route into Turkey from Erbil, and eleventh in total from the northern Iraqi city, and will face some existing competition – Pegasus Airlines flies thrice-weekly 737-800s, while Zagros Air (part-owned by Turkey’s Atlasjet Airlines) offers the same weekly frequency with A321s (leased from Atlasjet).
- Malaysia Airlines, following an 11-year hiatus in flying the route, will link Cochin (COK) in India to its Kuala Lumpur (KUL) hub from 1 September. Operated with a daily schedule, the oneworld member will service the 2,923-kilometre route with a 160-seat, 737-800. The route is contested by the carrier’s long-time LCC adversary AirAsia, which also flies daily. The Malaysian national carrier already flies 55 weekly services to India across five points – Bengaluru (10 per week), Chennai (14), Delhi (12), Hyderabad (seven), and Mumbai (12).
- Malindo Air, the Lion Air-backed carrier, has inaugurated its first international service since starting operations in March this year, launching daily 737-900 flights from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Dhaka (DAC) in Bangladesh on 28 August. Competition will be fierce for the newcomer, with four airlines already vying for market supremacy – Biman Bangladesh Airlines (seven per week); Malaysia Airlines (14); Regent Airways (seven) and United Airways (seven). Malindo Air had planned to start services to Tiruchirappalli and Cochin in India this week, but these have failed to come to fruition. However, the self-styled “not just low cost” carrier has announced plans this week to start daily 737-900 flights to Jakarta (23 September), and Bali/Denpasar (26 September) in Indonesia.
- Malmö Aviation began marketing year-round services between Malmo (MMX) and Visby (VBY) on 27 August. The short 387-kilometre sector, which was originally seasonal, is now operated by NextJet, thrice-weekly, using Saab 340s. Malmö Aviation also offers services to Stockholm-Bromma from its Malmö base. The regional airline also added flights from Stockholm Bromma (BMA) to Östersund (OSD) on 2 September. The 466-kilometre sector is being offered up to four times daily (though no flights on Saturday), and is operated by Braathens Regional and its Saab 2000s.
- Nok Air has begun its first flights to Myanmar on 1 September, commencing a short 154-kilometre hop across the border from Mae Sot (MAQ) to Mawlamyine (MNU). Daily operations will be flown by 34-seat Saab 340s, with no competition currently. This first Myanmar route will be shortly joined by another, as Nok Air plans to start four times weekly 737-800 operations from Bangkok Don Mueang to Yangon on 1 November. Nok Air thus becomes the first carrier to launch international services to Mawlamyine, joining Myanma Airways which operates domestic routes from the airport.
- Norwegian has started flights from London Gatwick (LGW) to Lanzarote (ACE) in the Canary Islands. The low-cost carrier inaugurated the new 2,708-kilometre service on 2 September and operates the twice-weekly schedule using 737-800s on Mondays and Fridays. Norwegian competes with five other carriers (see table below) on the route which is its 25th service out of Gatwick.
|Launch date||Origin||Destination||WF*||A/c||Competition (WF)|
|2 September||London Gatwick||Lanzarote||2||B738||Monarch Airlines (7), easyJet (4), Thomson Airways (4), British Airways (2), Thomas Cook Airlines (1)|
|Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 26 August 2013. *WF: Weekly Frequencies at launch.|
- Pegasus Airlines commenced flights from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) to Tirana (TIA) in Albania on 2 September. The 805-kilometre sector will be operated five-times weekly using 737-800s, and has no direct competition, though Turkish Airlines operates twice-daily flights from Istanbul Atatürk. Pegasus now offers 73 destinations from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen.
- Qatar Airways inaugurated its new service from Doha (DOH) to Sulaymaniyah (ISU) on 20 August. The 1,290-kilometre non-stop sector is being operated by A320s, and is offered four times weekly. The airline now serves five destinations in Iraq, including Baghdad, Basra, Erbil and Najaf. With the addition of Sulaymaniyah, the carrier has increased its frequency to Iraq from 16 to 20 flights each week. The new service also marks the carrier’s fifth new Middle Eastern destination launched this year, after Basra, Najaf, Gassim in Saudi Arabia and Salalah in Oman. The soon-to-be oneworld alliance member’s network is planned to grow further, with additional services to China, Ethiopia, Philippines and the US being added between now and April 2014.
- SpiceJet became the first carrier to link Ahmedabad (AMD) and the Omani capital of Muscat (MCT) on 29 August. The Chennai-based, Indian LCC will operate the 1,469-kilometre city pair thrice-weekly (Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from Ahmedabad, and Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Muscat) with its 737-800s. The Muscat route joins Dubai (served daily from Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Cochin and Delhi), Sharjah (Lucknow, thrice-weekly; Varanasi, four times weekly) and Riyadh (daily from Delhi) in terms of the carrier’s growing Middle East network of services.
- Sun Country Airlines launched non-stop Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (MSP) to Washington Reagan, VA (DCA) on 20 August. The low-cost carrier’s new 1,500-kilometre, non-stop route has been scheduled six times weekly using 737-800s. Sun Country competes on the non-stop leg with Delta Air Lines, who offer five daily flights and US Airways which offers 19 weekly flights. At the announcement on 10 June, Deb Diepholz, Vice President of Planning at Sun Country Airlines commented that: “Washington D.C. will be 32nd destination Sun Country serves nonstop from Minneapolis-St. Paul, adding to our growing non-stop route network.” The airline also plans to increase to a daily frequency on 1 May 2014 for the latest non-stop addition.
- Turkish Airlines has made an adventurous move, connecting Nepal to Europe when it added a non-stop, 5,312-kilometre route between Istanbul Atatürk (IST) and Kathmandu (KTM) on 1 September, using its A330-200s. The new link is scheduled four times weekly (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday outbound, and Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from Nepal) and has no competition. The new route is the Turkish flag carrier’s 222nd destination served from its main base at Istanbul Atatürk. Ratish Chandra Lal Suman, who is the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, spoke before the launch and said: “The Istanbul connection is an important landmark for the country’s tourism at a time when Nepal’s national flag carrier, Nepal Airlines, has been unable to connect Europe”.
- United Airlines has started two new routes on the same day (27 August). The first, a 1,813-kilometre new sector, is from Chicago O’Hare, IL (ORD) to Saskatoon (YXE). The second, a 1,002-kilometre route, is offered between another of United’s hub airports, Washington Dulles, VA (IAD), and is operated to Québec City (YQB). The latest offer to Québec City is the Star Alliance member’s third service to the Canadian city, with flights already offered from Newark and Chicago. Both new routes will be flown daily using E145s, operated on behalf of United by ExpressJet, and neither route has competition.
- VivaAerobus has elected to start three new domestic routes on the same day this week (2 September), two from its focus city of Guadalajara (GDL), operating to Reynosa (REX) and Torreon (TRC), while its Monterrey (MTY) hub will benefit from an additional connection to Queretaro (QRO). All flights will be flown twice-weekly by its 148-seat 737-300 aircraft (Mondays and Fridays). Regional brand Aeromexico Connect provides the only competition on two of the three routes, serving Guadalajara to Torreon (six times weekly) and Monterrey to Queretaro (18). VivaAerobus previously operated flights connecting Monterrey and Queretaro between 1 January 2007 and 22 May 2008. The airline now serves 13 domestic destinations from Guadalajara. Guadalajara Airport is also a focus article in this week’s newsletter.
- Widerøe now markets flights between Molde (MOL) in Norway and Copenhagen (CPH). The route was launched on 1 September and is flown twice-weekly, on Fridays and Sundays, using one of the Norwegian regional carrier’s Bombardier Q400s. The 850-kilometre sector is Widerøe’s fourth service from Molde, with flights also to Bergen, Kristiansund and Trondheim. It is also the airline’s fourth route to Copenhagen, which it serves daily from Haugesund, and with multiple daily flights from both Kristiansand, and Oslo Torp.