New airline routes launched (21 – 27 January 2014)

Air China’s Beijing to Honolulu

Air China celebrated the arrival of its first flight in Hawaii with some traditional local hospitality, a cake (and some Ferrero Rocher), and a banner. It becomes the second carrier after China Eastern Airlines to serve the Hawaiian market non-stop from China. (Photos: Air China)

  • Air China began thrice-weekly flights from Beijing (PEK) to Honolulu, HI (HNL) on 21 January. Service on the 8,145-kilometre route will be provided by the Star Alliance carrier’s A330-200s. There is no direct competition on the route, the only other non-stop service between Hawaii and China being China Eastern Airlines’ daily flights between Shanghai and Honolulu. The Hawaiian air travel market is examined in more detail in this week’s country market analysis. Mike McCartney, President and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) said, “China is a tremendous market for our tourism economy and this new route will provide greater ease of access to our Hawaiian Islands. The process to obtain a US visa in China has also improved, which will support our efforts to grow this expansive market.” HTA estimates the flight will provide $80.4 million in visitor spending and $8.6 million in state tax revenue annually. Mr. Wang Mingyuan, Vice President of Air China, said: “As a major airline in China and a member of the Star Alliance, Air China has always been committed to providing our passengers with convenient, high quality service. One of our goals is to create an internationally competitive network and this newly launched Beijing to Honolulu direct route is in line with our strategies. We hope that our extensive network of routes and convenient, quality flight experience will drive more visitors from around the world to the Hawaiian Islands.” During the first 11 months of 2013, Hawaii welcomed more than 123,000 visitors from China. This year, HTA expects to welcome 182,000 visitors, an increase of over 20%. The China market is the highest spending visitor market with an average of $392 per person per day spending.

bmi regional’s Gothenburg to Stavanger

Gothenburg Airport celebrated bmi regional's launch of six weekly services to Stavanger Airport with this cake.

Gothenburg Airport celebrated bmi regional’s launch of six weekly services to Stavanger Airport in Norway on 23 January.

bmi regional’s launch of the new services was celebrated by the Mayors of Sola, Sandnes, Stavanger, Harstad and Narvik at Stavanger Airport on 23 January. Christine Sagen Helgø, Mayor of Stavanger, said: “The news that bmi regional is starting direct routes between Stavanger is very progressive. The oil and gas industry is moving, and it is of vital importance to have better route connections, which bmi regional are delivering on today.”

  • bmi regional, the former subsidiary of bmi, expanded its presence in Scandinavia with four new routes from Stavanger (SVG) in Norway on 23 January, all of which are served by the carrier’s 49-seat ERJ 145s. With the longest sector being the 1,358-kilometre service to Tromsø (TOS) operated via Harstad/Narvik (EVE), and shortest being to Gothenburg (GOT) at 414-kilometre, bmi regional faces competition from Widerøe on two out of the four new services. Commenting on the launch of the services to Gothenburg, Ina Eldøy, Commercial Director of Stavanger Airport, said: “Stavanger is the energy capital of Norway, and part of the fastest growing region in the country. Connecting Gothenburg with Stavanger directly will enable the oil and gas industry and its supply chain to benefit from significant time and cost savings. bmi regional also expect to see a boost in Norwegian visitors to Gothenburg, because of its lively cultural scene, stylish shopping as well as being the gateway to West Sweden, with its breath-taking mix of coastline, islands, lakes and forests.”
Launch date Origin Destination WF A/C Competition (WF)
23-Jan-14 Stavanger (SVG) Harstad/Narvik (EVE) 5 ER4
Tromsø (TOS) via Harstad/Narvik (EVE) Widerøe (3) via BGO
Gothenburg (GOT) 6
Kristiansund (KSU) 5 Widerøe (1)
Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 28 January 2014

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

Celebrating the inaugural flight at a ribbon cutting ceremony were Art Boncato Jr., Assistant Secretary, Philippine Department of Tourism; Agnes Udang, Engineer, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines; and Al Ryan Alejandre, Councillor, representing the Office of the Mayor.

Cebu Pacific Air launched thrice-weekly domestic flights on 25 January between Davao and Bacolod. Celebrating the inaugural flight at a ribbon cutting ceremony were Art Boncato Jr., Assistant Secretary, Philippine Department of Tourism; Agnes Udang, Engineer, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines; and Al Ryan Alejandre, Councillor, representing the Office of the Mayor.

  • Cebu Pacific Air has added a new domestic route in the Philippines. On 25 January it commenced thrice-weekly flights using its A320s on the 490-kilometre route between Davao (DVO) and Bacolod (BCD). No other carrier serves this route. It becomes the airline’s eighth domestic route from Davao and its fourth from Bacolod. Jorenz Tanada, VP for Corporate Affairs, Cebu Pacific Air said during the maiden flight launch, “Inter-island routes can now take everyJuan to their destinations quicker, more often, on the lowest fare available. EveryJuan can now go home for the weekend or bring their families on vacation somewhere new. Business meetings can be done in one day, even if the appointment is miles away. We hope that with our expansion, more travellers of varied economic backgrounds will find the Philippines accessible, and with a vibrant tourism sector. It has been our long-time commitment to be a partner in nation-building by boosting tourism and trade in the destinations we fly to.” Last year Cebu Pacific carried 14.4 million passengers (+8.3%), of which 3.3 million (+10.7%) were on its international services. However, with the launch of longer-haul international services, in terms of ASKs (Available Seat Kilometres), the airline’s international services now represent 55% of its network. The airline’s fleet is 48 aircraft strong, comprising two A330s, 28 A320s, 10 A319s and eight ATR 72-500.

  • China Southern Airlines has introduced twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) service between Shenzhen (SZX) and Kota Kinabalu (BKI) in Malaysia. The 1,850-kilometre route will be served by the airline’s 178-seat A321s and will face competition from AirAsia’s daily flights. This is China Southern’s first Malaysian destination from Shenzhen. It already serves Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Lumpur and Penang from its base in Guangzhou.

  • Frontier Airlines, the US low-cost carrier, increased its seasonal offering with two new services to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) in Mexico, both operated on behalf of Apple Vacations utilising the airline’s 138-seat A319s. With the longest sector being the 3,119-kilometre service from Lansing, MI (LAN) launched on 24 January, and the shortest being inaugurated on 27 January from Rockford, IL (RFD) at 2,826-kilometre. Both seasonal routes are operated weekly, Fridays until 25 April and Mondays until 21 April respectively. Both airport pairs will face no competition from other carriers.

  • InterCaribbean Airways, the new name for Air Turks & Caicos, has launched flights between Kingston (KIN) in Jamaica and Santo Domingo (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic. The service, which started on 21 January, will operate thrice-weekly using the airline’s 30-seat Embraer 120s. The airline faces no competition on the 750-kilometre route.

China’s Lucky Air chose Singapore Changi Airport as its first ever international destination. Celebrating the arrival of the first flight from Kunming via Guiyang on 25 January were (left to right): Mr Yacoob Piperdi, EVP Gateway services, SATS; Mr Zou Yuhui, Vice President, Kunming Airport; Mr Wong Woon Liong, Senior Advisor, Changi Airport Advisory Group; Mr Ding Yongzheng, CEO, Lucky Air; Mr Liu Qijia, Chief Economist, Yunnan Airport Group; and Mr Lim Ching Kiat, SVP Market Development, Changi Airport Group. Flights will operate twice-weekly using the airline’s A320s. (Pictures: Changi Airport Group)

  • Lucky Air, a member of Hainan Airlines Group, has launched its first international route, with Singapore (SIN) the chosen destination. On 25 January the airline began twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) flights from Kunming (KMG), via Guiyang (KWE) to Changi Airport, using A320s. There are no other carriers operating non-stop between Singapore and Guiyang, but China Eastern Airlines (daily flights) and SilkAir (five weekly flights) operate non-stop between Kunming and Singapore.

Malindo Air introduces two new Penang routes.

  • Malindo Air has expanded its domestic network in Malaysia with the introduction of services from Penang (PEN) to both Kota Bharu (KBR) and Langkawi (LGK), using its 68-seat ATR 72-600s. Both routes began on Monday 27 January and will be operated daily. The 130-kilometre route to Langkawi will face competition from both AirAsia and firefly (who both offer daily flights), while firefly also operates daily flights on the 245-kilometre route to Kota Bharu.

Okay Airways celebrated the launch of twice-weekly flights between Tianjin and Jeju in South Korea.

Okay Airways became the second Chinese carrier to launch international services this week (the other is Lucky Air) when it began twice-weekly flights between Tianjin and Jeju in South Korea on 23 January.

  • Okay Airways has introduced a twice-weekly service (Thursdays and Sundays) from Tianjin (TSN) to Jeju (CJU) in South Korea, just in time for the Chinese New Year celebrations on 31 January. The 1,030-kilometre route will be flown by the airline’s 737-800s and faces no competition. Jeju, known locally as ‘the Korean Hawaii’ becomes the airline’s first international destination since launching flights in March 2005. This follows agreement with Chinese authorities last August to allow the airline to start operating flights beyond mainland China. At present the airline operates around 100 flights per day with its fleet of 22 passenger aircraft, comprising 11 737-800s and 11 MA-60s.

  • Pegasus Airlines, which began its 32nd domestic destination to Erzurum from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) on the previous day, started its 33rd to Mardin (MQM) in south-eastern Turkey on 21 January. Flown by the carrier’s 189-seat 737-800s, the 1,061-kilometre sector will be operated five times weekly. Turkish Airlines will provide competition on the airport pair, flying daily. Indirect competition is also present from Istanbul Atatürk, with the Turkish flag carrier again operating daily flights.

All of the passengers on the inaugural Changsha to Bangkok flight passengers were presented with souvenirs and gift certificates.

To mark Thai AirAsia’s inaugural service from Changsha to Bangkok Don Mueang, all of the flight’s passengers were presented with souvenirs and gift certificates. The route becomes the airline’s ninth between Bangkok and China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and will operate daily with the airline’s A320s.

  • Thai AirAsia launched its newest route from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) on 24 January with the introduction of daily flights to Changsha (CSX) in China. The 2,030-kilometre route will not face any direct scheduled competition. According to Mr. Tassapon Bijleveld, CEO of Thai AirAsia, “We are confident in the potential of the China market in the long run. Changsha is AirAsia’s ninth destination in China, and today’s inaugural flight had a load factor of over 70%, which is an acceptable number considering Thailand’s current circumstances”. Highlights for visitors to Changsha include World Heritage Jang Jia Jie Park, which is the filming location of Hollywood hit Avatar. Adventure seekers will be able to experience a sky-high cable car ride to an otherworldly range of sand stone towers. For travellers who like to drink in the atmosphere and view local cultures, Changsha also has the ancient riverside town of Fenghuang waiting to be explored.

Celebrating the launch of Tigerair Singapore services to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport were Ho Yuen Sang, COO, Tigerair and Bandhu Ibrahim Saleem, Managing Director, MACL (Maldives Airport Company Limited).

Celebrating the launch of Tigerair Singapore services to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in the Maldives on 26 January were Ho Yuen Sang, COO, Tigerair and Bandhu Ibrahim Saleem, Managing Director, MACL (Maldives Airport Company Limited). Malé becomes the airline’s 37th destination from Singapore and will be served four times weekly with a 180-seat A320.

  • Tigerair Singapore has joined Singapore Airlines in operating non-stop flights between Singapore (SIN) and Malé (MLE) in the Maldives. The airline flew the 3,400-kilometre route for the first time on 24 January (with 153 passengers on board), and will offer customers the service four times weekly. This brings to 37 the number of destinations served by Tigerair Singapore from its home base. For more about Malé Airport read this week’s airport profileSee how the flight was greeted on the tarmac by the airport’s fire department.

  • Tunisair Express, the regional subsidiary of Tunisair, expanded its domestic network with two new routes from Tunis (TUN), both operated utilising the carrier’s 70-seat ATR 72s. The airline resumed services to Gafsa (GAF) on 21 January with twice-weekly services (Tuesdays and Thursdays). One flight returns to Tunis via Tozeur (an existing route) while the other return via Gabes. In addition, on 22 January, the carrier restarted operations on the 331-kilometre sector to Gabes (GAE) with twice-weekly flights (Wednesdays and Thursdays). One of the Gabes flights operates via Gafsa outbound, while the second weekly service returns via Tozeur. Both services from the capital of Tunisia face no direct competition from other carriers.

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