New airline routes launched (3 – 9 December 2013)

Ethiopian Airlines’ Addis Ababa to Singapore

Ethiopian Airlines’ inaugural flight from Addis Ababa (via Bangkok) arrived at a rather wet Singapore Changi Airport on 3 December. Celebrating the event were (from left to right); Mr. Wong Woon Liong, Senior Advisor of Changi Airport Advisory Group; Mr. Solomon Bekele, Ethiopian Airlines Area Manager; Mr. Yam Kum Weng, Executive Vice President (Air Hub & Development) of Changi Airport; Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO; H.E. Mr Seyoum Mesfin, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to Singapore; Mr. Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Trade & Industry Singapore; H.E. Mr. Taddesse Haile, Ethiopian State Minister for Ministry of Trade and Industry; and Mr. Vanu Gopala Menon, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Secretary (Southeast Asia & ASEAN) and Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the African Union. At a dinner reception speeches were made, gifts were exchanged and the audience were treated to an Ethiopian dance troupe. (All photos courtesy of Changi Airport Group.)

  • Ethiopian Airlines now serves Singapore (SIN), the airline’s 78th international destination, with the introduction of thrice-weekly flights from Addis Ababa (ADD) via Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. The first flight on the 7,270-kilometre sector took place on 3 December, and was operated by a 767-300. Mr. Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian, said: “Singapore is a major and preferred gateway to Asia and Australia. That is why we have decided to make Singapore our main strategic point of access to the Oceania market and its huge Ethiopian/African diaspora community by availing excellent connectivity options through our code-share agreement with fellow Star Alliance member, Singapore Airlines. Our flights to Singapore will also greatly contribute to the strengthening of trade, investment, and tourism ties between a booming Africa and a highly developed, innovative, and business-friendly Singapore.”

Air New Zealand’s Christchurch to Perth

Seeing off the first Air New Zealand flight to Perth along with the aircraft’s crew were: (left) Kim Grafton, Sales Manager for Air New Zealand; and (centre) Jim Boult, CEO of Christchurch International Airport. Separately, a very happy Matthew Findlay, GM Aeronautical Business Development, Christchurch International Airport was also on-hand to help treat the passengers to a piece of the splendid route launch cake.

  • Air New Zealand commenced seasonal (until 26 April) twice-weekly services between Christchurch (CHC) and Perth (PER) on 3 December. Operated on Wednesdays and Saturdays by the Star Alliance carrier’s 234-seat 767-300s, Air New Zealand will face no competition on the 5,050-kilometre sector.

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

  • Air Moldova commenced operations to its fifth Italian destination on 9 December, launching flights from Chisinau (KIV) to Venice (VCE). The 1,287-kilometre sector to Venice was resumed after it was last operated during summer 2012 and will be served twice-weekly (Monday and Friday), utilising the airline’s 114-seat E190s. Air Moldova’s 18th route from Chisinau will face direct competition from Carpatair’s twice-weekly services.

AirAsia Zest began serving Miri in Malaysia from Manila on 7 December. The airline presented the airport with a gift as part of the celebrations.

  • AirAsia Zest has added two further destinations from its Manila (MNL) hub. On 6 December it began thrice-weekly flights on the 1,160-kilometre route to Macau (MFM), followed on 7 December by four times weekly flights on the 1,352-kilometre route to Miri (MYY) in Malaysia. Competition on the Macau route comes from Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines, who both operate daily flights. This brings to 16 the number of destinations the airline formerly known as Zest Air now operates from the Philippine capital.

Biman Bangladesh Airline resumes flights to Myanmar

Air Marshal Jamal Uddin Ahmed (retired), Chairman, Biman Board of Directors was on hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon to commemorate the launch of twice-weekly flight from Yangon to Dhaka. The 970-kilometre sector will be flown on Mondays and Thursdays by the airline’s 737-800s.

  • Biman Bangladesh Airlines has resumed flights on 9 December from Dhaka (DAC) to Yangon (RGN) in Myanmar, after a gap of over seven years. The twice-weekly service (Mondays and Thursdays) on the 970-kilometre sector will be operated by 737-800s. No other airline serves the route.

  • Conviasa, the flag carrier and the largest airline of Venezuela, launched on 5 December a new service from Panama City (PTY) to Managua (MGA), in Nicaragua. The 816-kilometre sector to Nicaragua’s capital will be served weekly (Sunday), utilising the carrier’s 104-seat E190s, and will face direct competition from Copa Airlines’ 19 weekly flights. The service is an extension to the carrier’s current daily flights between Panama City and Caracas.

  • Corsair, France’s second largest airline after Air France, despite operating only eight long-haul aircraft (four A330s and four 747-400s – according to, began operations between Paris (CDG) and La Romana (LRM) in the Dominican Republic. Operated on behalf of Corsair by Spain’s Pullmantur Air, using one of its 747-400s, the weekly service will be flown on Saturdays, starting on 7 December. The seasonal route will operate until 19 April and will face no direct competition.

  • Delta Air Lines, the oldest airline still operating in the US, launched its 19th route to Mexico on 3 December. The 2,198-kilometre sector from Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to Leon/Guanajuato (BJX) is being offered on a daily basis by the SkyTeam member and faces direct competition from Aeromexico’s twice-weekly services and United Airlines’ daily flights. The service is scheduled to be operated by SkyWest Airlines’ 76-seat CRJ 900s.

  • Eastar Jet, the South Korean LCC, has become the latest carrier to offer service between Seoul Incheon (ICN) and Hong Kong (HKG). On 5 December it launched daily flights on the 2,080-kilometre route, the airline’s seventh from Seoul’s major airport. Competition on the route comes from Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Korean Air (all operating four daily flights), as well as daily flights from Jeju Air, Jin Air and Thai Airways. Eastar Jet is examined in more detail in this week’s airline profile.

Emirates’ new service was greeted on its arrival in Kabul by a senior delegation of Afghan and airline officials, who were on hand to cut the celebratory cake’s first slice.

  • Emirates became the first of the MEB3 carriers to operate a service to Afghanistan, when it launched daily flights on 4 December from Dubai (DXB) to Kabul (KBL). The 1,690-kilometre sector to Afghanistan’s capital will be served utilising the carrier’s 258-seat A340-500s, and faces extensive competition from Safi Airways (twice-daily flights), Ariana Afghan Airlines (five times weekly), flydubai (thrice-daily) and Kam Air (daily). Commenting on the launch, Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ COO and Executive Vice President, said: “This new route launch today presents a new opportunity for the population of Afghanistan to access new travel opportunities and destinations thanks to our extensive global network across six continents. It will also provide an opportunity for the many Afghans living overseas to visit home again whilst experiencing Emirates renowned service and product.”

Germania staff and crew celebrating the launch of services from Leipzig to Moscow.

The second of a trio of new routes to Moscow Domodedovo from Germania started on 5 December — this time a twice-weekly operation from Leipzig. Karlsruhe-Baden will join the existing Bremen services next week.

  • Germania launched its second service to Moscow Domodedovo (DME), this time from Leipzig (LEJ) on 5 December, joining the carrier’s existing service from Bremen (next week will also see the airline launch services to the Russian capital from Karlsruhe-Baden). The A319-operated, twice-weekly, 1,740-kilometre sector will be flown on Thursdays and Sundays, and is only the carrier’s second service from Leipzig, joining its existing flights to Bremen. There is no direct competition on this exact airport-pair, and there are also no services to the other main Moscow airports from Leipzig.

On 4 December, Hamburg Airport’s Senior Manager Traffic Development Gesa Zaremba (left in both pictures) celebrated germanwings’ new Klagenfurt sector, and then four days later held more new route celebrations, this time with Lara Münch, Traffic Development and Sales at Hamburg (right, second picture), when the LCC launched twice-weekly operations to Memmingen…

…where the arrival of the first germanwings flight was also marked by a new route cake as well as Ralf Schmid, the southern German airport’s CEO (third from right), welcoming the crew. The LCC’s Memmingen routes are aimed at the ski market.

  • germanwings, has started some new services this week, as opposed to inheriting them from its mother company Lufthansa, which has seemingly been the norm for the LCC over recent weeks. Both Berlin (TXL) and Hamburg (HAM) have seen a new international route begin to Klagenfurt (KLU) in Austria, as well as new domestic sectors to Memmingen (FMM). All four routes will be flown uncontested by germanwings. The international routes will be flown on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while the domestic flights will be operated on Thursdays and Sundays. See how Memmingen’s FTWA does in this week’s Arch of Triumph.
Launch date Origin Destination WF Aircraft Competition
04-Dec-13 Berlin Tegel (TXL) Klagenfurt (KLU) 2 A319
Hamburg (HAM)
08-Dec-13 Memmingen (FMM) CR9
Berlin Tegel (TXL)
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 10 December 2013

Gulf Air’s first flight from Bahrain to Dubai Al Maktoum was celebrated by Gulf Air and airport authority staff on 8 December with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

  • Gulf Air launched a new service from its Bahrain (BAH) hub to Dubai Al Maktoum (DWC) on 8 December. The flag carrier of Bahrain now serves a total of three airports in the UAE, the two others being Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The 480-kilometre city pair will be operated daily, utilising the airline’s 136-seat A320s, which will complement the carrier’s 51 weekly flights to Dubai’s main airport. No other airline operates this airport-pair, but Emirates (thrice-daily) and flydubai (24 times weekly) provide indirect competition by flying between Bahrain and Dubai (DXB). See if this new route wins this week’s “Arch of Triumph”.

  • Interjet has begun flights between Guadalajara (GDL) and San Antonio, TX (SAT). The twice-weekly service launched on Friday 6 December, but will operate thereafter on Thursdays and Sundays using the airline’s A320s. Competition on the 1,110-kilometre route will come from fellow Mexican LCC Volaris, who also serve the route twice-weekly. This is now Interjet’s fourth route to San Antonio as it already serves the Texan city from Mexico City (launched 1 December 2011), Monterrey (launched 29 November 2012) and Toluca (launched 6 December 2012).

JetBlue’s inaugural to Santa Clara, in Cuba, was celebrated with a “Cuban” cake, featuring the country’s famous symbols, namely coffee, cigars and Che Guevara. The flight is operated as a charter service due to the trade embargo between the two countries.

JetBlue Airways’ Fort Lauderdale, FL – Port-au-Prince launch was marked with the traditional cake, Haitian dances and music.

  • JetBlue Airways strengthened its presence in the Caribbean with three new services last week. The low-cost airline linked New York JFK, NY (JFK) and Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) with Port-au-Prince (PAP), the capital of Haiti. In addition, the airline launched a weekly flight (Wednesday) from Tampa, FL (TPA) to Santa Clara (SNU) in Cuba, which is operated as a charter service due to the trade embargo between the US and the largest Caribbean island. The two services to Port-au-Prince are flown in direct competition with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Spirit Airlines. Commenting on the launch of the services to Haiti, Dave Barger JetBlue’s president and CEO, said: “We see great opportunities with our new service to Port-au-Prince. We look forward to bringing competitive fares along with our award-winning service to Haiti. With one-third of our network serving the Caribbean and Latin America, we are very pleased to add this important destination to our network.” See if these new routes win this week’s “Arch of Triumph”.
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/C Competition (WF)
04-Dec-13 Tampa, FL (TPA) Santa Clara (SNU) 1 A320
05-Dec-13 New York JFK, NY (JFK) Port-au-Prince(PAP) 7 A320 American Airlines (7), Delta Air Lines (7)
Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) 14 E190 American Airlines (14), Spirit Airlines (7)
Source: Innovata/Diio Mio for w/c 10 December 2013

  • Kyrgyzstan Air expanded its international network on 9 December, with a new service from Bishkek (FRU) to Dubai Al Maktoum (DWC). The airline’s 10th destination from its Bishkek hub, will be operated twice-weekly (Monday and Friday), utilising a mixed fleet of 113-seat 737-500s and 133-seat 737-300s. The 2,667-kilometre sector faces no direct competition, but flydubai (five times weekly) provides indirect competition by serving Bishkek from Dubai’s main airport.

  • Lion Air has added a new domestic route in the Indonesian market. On 6 December it launched daily flights between Batam (BTH) and Balikpapan (BPN). The 1,445-kilometre route will be served by the airline’s 737-800s, and will not face direct competition from any other carrier.

  • Meridiana started new flights from Naples (NAP) on 7 December, linking Italy’s third largest municipality (after Rome and Milan) to Kiev Boryspil (KBP). The weekly (Saturday) operation intends to utilise leased-in 737-300 equipment from Air Italy on the 1,650-kilometre sector. There are no competitors on the city-pair and this represents the airline’s first service to the Ukrainian capital. However, Meridiana also intends to start a twice-weekly operation from Verona to Kiev Boryspil from 21 December.

  • Philippine Airlines has resumed flights from Manila (MNL) to Dammam (DMM) in Saudi Arabia for the first time in over a decade. On 3 December the airline began thrice-weekly flights on the 7,460-kilometre sector, on which it will compete against Saudi Arabian Airlines, who also serve the market with thrice-weekly flights. The first A330-300 flight into Dammam carried 216 passengers, while the first return flight had 367 people on-board. The airline last served the route in August 2001. Last week Philippine Airlines resumed flights from Manila to Riyadh.

  • Qantas has started services between the capital of Western Australia, Perth (PER) and the largest city in New Zealand, Auckland (AKL). The 5,350-kilometre sector will be flown twice-weekly (Fridays and Saturdays) by the oneworld carrier’s 235-seat A330s. Beginning on 6 December, and operating until 31 January only, Qantas will face competition from Air New Zealand’s daily 777-200 operation.

  • Royal Air Maroc, which in the previous week grew its offering to the Spanish market, resumed two services, both operated from its main base at Casablanca (CMN). With the longest sector being the 7,390-kilometre service to Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) in Brazil, and the shortest being the 2,320-kilometre route to Munich (MUC), the national airline of Morocco faces no direct competition on either of the two new services. The largest Brazilian city was last served 21 years ago, but on 9 December the carrier restarted operations with thrice-weekly flights operated by its 236-seat 767-300s. Royal Air Maroc’s fifth service to Germany resumed on 7 December, and will be operated twice-weekly (Tuesday and Saturday), utilising a mixed fleet of 126-seat 737-700s and 171-seat 737-800s.

Miss Jatuporn Dilokraweepong became the first passenger on Thai Lion Air’s inaugural flight from Bangkok Don Mueang to Chiang Mai. The airline put on quite a show at the airport to celebrate the launch of operations, which will see further routes launched before the end of the year.

  • Thai Lion Air, the new Bangkok-based subsidiary of Indonesia’s Lion Air, has launched its first route from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) to Chiang Mai (CNX). It will serve the 565-kilometre domestic route with thrice-daily flights, but faces intense competition from Thai AirAsia (12 daily flights) and Nok Air (10 daily flights). Flights will be operated by the airline’s 215-seat 737-900ERs.

  • Ukraine International Airlines, the flag carrier and the largest airline from Ukraine, extended its international network with the launch of a new service from Kiev Boryspil (KBP) to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) on 7 December. The 7,390-kilometre sector will be operated weekly (Saturday) using the airline’s 285-seat 767-300s, but this will increase to thrice-weekly from 17 December. There is currently no direct competition on the route, though in January Windrose Airlines plans to start serving the market.

Volaris launched twice-weekly flights between Tuxtla Gutierrez and Tijuana on 4 December. Much to the delight of’s Editor the airline chose to operate the inaugural flight with an aircraft named after his wife. To see how Tuxtla Gutierrez’s welcoming fire truck water arch compared with its rivals this week, click here

  • Volaris launched a total of five new routes during the last week including three new low-frequency domestic routes from Cancun (CUN), a twice-weekly service from Tijuana (TIJ) to Tuxtla Gutierrez (TGZ), and a thrice-weekly service from Mexico City (MEX) to Phoenix, AZ (PHX). Commenting on the launch of the Cancun services Volaris CEO Enrique Beltranena, said: “We are committed to offer our customers the best travelling options in one of the youngest aircraft fleet of the Americas while delivering the outstanding service that distinguishes us. By having the best airfares, customers will no longer have to spend hours on a bus to get to Cancun”. The new route to Phoenix is the airline’s second, having started service from Guadalajara in October of this year.
Launch date Origin Destination WF Aircraft Competition
4 December Cancun (CUN) Hermosillo (HMO) 2 A32S
4 December Cancun (CUN) San Luis Potosi (SLP) 2 A320
4 December Mexico City (MEX) Phoenix, AZ (PHX) 3 A32S US Airways (14)
4 December Tijuana (TIJ) Tuxtla Gutierrez (TGZ) 2 A319
5 December Cancun (CUN) Veracruz (VER) 2 A32S VivaAerobus (7)
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi w/c 10 December 2013


  1. When describing Philippine Airlines new routes to Damman it states “competing against Saudi Arabian Airlines.” Please note that the latter reverted to its former name of “Saudia” in a re-branding that took place last year. If requested, I can provide recent photos of Saudia airplanes with the changed name.

    • Marc Watkins says:

      Hi Peter – the below is taken from the airline’s website…hence why in our first reference to the airline we use their full name, but in subsequent references we would call them Saudia, as you suggest.

      Copyright @ Saudi Arabian Airlines 2013 All Rights reserved

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