New airline routes launched (28 January – 3 February 2014)

KLM’s Amsterdam to Santiago

On 2 February, KLM’s new service from Amsterdam to Santiago was greeted with a ribbon cutting ceremony on its arrival in Chile by (left to right): Patrick Alexandre, EVP Commerical, Air France KLM; Kappeyne van de Copello, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Chile; and Pieter Elbers, COO & Deputy CEO, KLM. The thrice-weekly services were resumed after last served in March 2000 and will be operated via Buenos Aires Ezeiza.

Peach Aviation’s Matsuyama to Osaka Kansai

Peach celebrated the launch of its new twice-daily service between Matsuyama and Osaka Kansai on 1 February. The two fancy-dress mascots represent Ehime Prefecture (called Mikyan, left in pictures) and Matsuyama Castle (called Yoshiaki-kun, the one holding the spear, right in pictures). Matsuyama becomes the airline’s ninth domestic route from Osaka Kansai.

  • Peach Aviation continues to expand its domestic network in Japan with the addition of Matsuyama (MYJ) to its network. On 1 February twice-daily flights were launched on the 245-kilometre sector from Osaka Kansai (KIX) using the airline’s 180-seat A320s.The airline will face no competition on the airport pair. This is now Peach’s ninth domestic route from Osaka Kansai since it began operations on 1 March 2012. According to Airbus data the airline’s fleet now comprises 11 A320s.

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

  • Air Armenia expanded its international network on 3 February with a new service from its Yerevan (EVN) base to Krasnodar (KRR) in Russia. The carrier’s seventh route to Russia will be served thrice-weekly, utilising its 113-seat 737-500s. Competition on the 692-kilometre sector to the administrative centre of Krasnodar Krai is provided by UTair Aviation’s four weekly services (which also started this week) and Aeroflot’s thrice-weekly flights.

  • China Eastern Airlines began twice-weekly flights (Wednesdays and Saturdays) on 1 February between Shanghai Pudong (PVG) and Chiang Mai (CNX) in Thailand. The 2,670-kilometre sector is already served by Juneyao Airlines who operate the route six times weekly at present, though this reduces to four times weekly from mid-February. China Eastern, which already serves Chiang Mai twice-daily from Kunming, will operate the route with A320s. Last year, Chiang Mai International Airport handled over five million passengers.

Floral tributes were laid on for the first Etihad Airways flight arriving from Abu Dhabi into the Muslim holy city of Medinah in Saudi Arabia on 1 February. VIPs from airport operator TAV, as well as TIBAH, GACA and the airline were also on hand to celebrate the route.

  • Etihad Airways, has added its fourth service into Saudi Arabia, with the start of daily services to Madinah (MED), joining existing flights to Dammam, Jeddah and Riyadh. The A320-operated service began on 1 February from the carrier’s Abu Dhabi (AUH) hub. Competition on the 1,510-kilometre city pair comes from Saudi Arabian Airlines, which serves the route twice-weekly.

On 3 February, Stuttgart Airport celebrated with a cake the launch of Etihad Regional’s four times weekly services to Geneva. On hand to cut the celebratory cake’s first slice were (left to right): Joerg Im Wolde, Director Sales and Marketing, Stuttgart Airport; and Mario Testa, Head of Sales, Etihad Regional.

Far Eastern Air Transport crew celebrated the launch of the airline's new Taipei Songshan to Tianjin service.

Far Eastern Air Transport celebrated the launch of its new Taipei Songshan to Tianjin service on 28 January. The airline operates a fleet of eight MD-80 series aircraft on low-frequency routes between Taiwan and mainland China.

  • Far Eastern Air Transport, an airline that can trace its origins back to the late 1950s, has started twice-weekly flights (Tuesdays and Fridays) between Taipei Songshan (TSA) and Tianjin (TSN) in China. The 1,610-kilometre route was launched on 28 January and will be flown by the airline’s MD-83s, competing with Air China (four times weekly flights) and TransAsia Airways (twice-weekly flights). The airline already serves the Chinese airports of Taiyuan (thrice-weekly) and Nanning (weekly) from Taipei Songshan airport.

fastjet’s first flight to Lusaka in Zambia from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania was celebrated by the carrier’s crew along with the first passengers on 1 February at the Zambian airport.

  • fastjet, the Tanzanian low-cost carrier, commenced its second international route to Lusaka (LUN) in Zambia on 1 February, joining its existing services to Johannesburg. The 1,500-kilometre sector from Dar es Salaam (DAR) will be served twice-weekly (Thursdays and Saturdays), utilising the airline’s 125-seat A319s. The flights to one of the fastest-developing cities in southern Africa will face no competition from other carriers. Commenting on the route launch, Ed Winter, CEO of fastjet, said: “We are incredibly pleased that, in accordance with our planned growth strategy, the roll-out of our international route network is now gaining real momentum and we are fulfilling our promise to the people of Africa to democratise air travel across the continent.  We look forward to bringing the benefits of affordable, high-quality air travel to the people of Zambia.”

  • IndiGo, the biggest airline in the Indian domestic market has introduced a daily service between Delhi (DEL) and Bagdogra (IXB). The A320-operated flights on the 1,130-kilometre route began on 2 February. Indigo, which is the subject of our airline profile this week, will become the fourth carrier on the route joining Air India, Jet Airways and SpiceJet, who all operate the route with daily flights. IndiGo made Bagdogra its 30th domestic destination last December, when it introduced non-stop services from both Kolkata (twice-daily) and Guwahati (daily).

  • Malawi Airlines, which was recently formed in July 2013 as a result of a joint venture with Ethiopian Airlines, began operations with the launch of its first services from its Lilongwe (LLW) base to Blantyre (BLZ) and to Harare (HRE) on 30 January, the latter being operated via Blantyre (BLZ). Due to the hectic start of the carrier, which was supposed to be launched on 1 January, the future situation of Malawi’s route network is uncertain. Both services will be served thrice-weekly, utilising a mixed fleet of Ethiopian’s 154-seat 737-800s and 69-seat Q400s. However, the flights to Malawi’s centre of finance and commerce, Blantyre, will increase to twice-daily once six more international routes will be launched to Tete, Lusaka, Dar es Salaam, Beira, Johannesburg and Maputo in February. The airline’s first connections will face no competition from other carriers.

Malaysia Airlines' first flight to Krabi was welcomed at the Thai airport with this banner.

Malaysia Airlines’ first flight to Krabi was welcomed at the Thai airport on 3 February with a banner, and by the Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand Krabi Office, Wiyada Srirangkul (centre). The service will operate four times weekly and compete with AirAsia’s twice-daily service. (Photo: Phuket Gazette)

  • Malaysia Airlines on 3 February began flights between its main hub at Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Krabi (KBV) in Thailand. The 650-kilometre route will be served four times weekly by the airline’s 737-800s and will compete head-on with AirAsia’s twice-daily flights. According to Malaysia Airlines’ Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, “Malaysia Airlines is excited to expand its network by introducing Krabi as its latest destination. Krabi is a popular holiday spot and a favourite amongst Malaysians, therefore we are pleased to offer our guests the opportunity to visit Krabi via Malaysia Airlines.” According to the airline, Krabi, the gem of the Andaman Sea, is abundant with picturesque landscapes, stunning limestone cliffs, beautiful beaches, refreshing waterfalls, breathtaking inland and sea caves and riveting underwater. Krabi is home to several National Parks with over 130 surrounding islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta.

NIKI commenced serving the Vienna to Larnaca airport route.

Operating in competition with Austrian Airlines’ daily flights, NIKI commenced serving the Vienna – Larnaca airport pair on 31 January. See how this FTWA measures up against new routes being celebrated this week.

  • NIKI, the Austrian-based subsidiary of airberlin, expanded its European network on 31 January with a new service from Vienna (VIE) to Larnaca (LCA). The 2,039-kilometre sector to the third largest city on the southern coast of Cyprus will be served thrice-weekly, utilising the airline’s 112-seat E190s. From 3 March the airline will operate its larger 180-seat A320s on the route. Competition on the route is provided by Austrian Airlines’ daily flights. Commenting on the route launch, Wes Porter, CEO of Hermes Airport, said: “We welcome NIKI to Cyprus and we are delighted that Larnaca has been added to the NIKI route network. NIKI’s affordable fares, convenient flight schedule and excellent service will ensure the success of the Larnaca to Vienna route. Access to NIKI and airberlin’s extensive route network via NIKI’s Vienna hub will give the travelling public wider access to a range of destinations”.

  • Norwegian has increased its network of services from its two Canary Islands bases with the addition of flights to Berlin Schönefeld (SXF). The airline has commenced twice-weekly services (Thursdays and Saturdays) from Tenerife Sur (TFS) from 1 February, becoming its 15th destination from the island, and will be flown in direct competition with Condor and easyJet (both twice-weekly). The LCC has added twice-weekly services (Thursdays and Sundays) from Gran Canaria (LPA) from 2 February, its 26th network point from Las Palmas, and will be flown in direct competition with Condor (twice-weekly). In addition, airberlin provides indirect competition on the city pairs from Berlin Tegel, flying six times weekly to Gran Canaria, as well as five times weekly to Tenerife Sur. Both new Norwegian services are operated with its 186-seat 737-800s.

  • Philippine Airlines has introduced a weekly (Tuesdays) service from Cebu (CEB) to Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). The first flight on the 1,660-kilometre route, operated by one of the airline’s A320s, was on 28 January. No other carrier operates non-stop between these two airports. This becomes the airline’s third international route from Cebu, after Tokyo Narita (served twice-daily) and Seoul Incheon (four weekly flights). With regard to Taipei flights, Philippine Airlines already serves the Taiwanese capital daily from Manila, and twice-weekly from Kalibo.

  • RusLine, which is headquartered in Moscow, has commenced flights between Voronezh (VOZ), the administrative centre of the Voronezh Oblast, and Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW). Beginning on 30 January, the 1,416-kilometre sector will be flown twice-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays) with the carrier’s 50-seat CRJ 200s. There will be no competition on the route.

  • Ryanair has begun its sixth Italian domestic route from Alghero (AHO) in Sardinia with the start of daily services to Bologna (BLQ). Starting on 3 February, the 737-800 operated, 500-kilometre sector will be flown with no competition. This brings to 57 the number of domestic routes Ryanair operates in Italy.

On 2 February, TAM Airlines launched twice-weekly services from Belem in Brazil to Miami, FL, a route that no other carrier operates.

  • TAM Airlines, the largest Brazilian carrier, expanded its presence in the US with the introduction of twice-weekly flights (Wednesdays and Sundays) from Belem (BEL) in Brazil to Miami, FL (MIA). The service, which was inaugurated on 2 February, will be operated by the Star Alliance member’s 221-seat 767-300s. The 4,554-kilometre sector will face no competition from other carriers.

  • Turkish Airlines began its 31st route from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW), and its thirteenth international destination, with the start of services to Munich (MUC) on 30 January. The daily 737-800 service will be operated by SunExpress and will fly in direct competition with Pegasus Airlines’ existing daily service. Turkish Airlines will provide indirect competition for itself from Istanbul Atatürk, where it operates a four times daily service to Munich. In addition, its Star Alliance partner Lufthansa also offers 15 weekly services on the city pair.

  • Ukraine International Airlines, the flag carrier and the largest airline of Ukraine, increased its European offering with the launch of a new seasonal service from its Kiev Boryspil (KBP) hub to Adler/Sochi (AER) in Russia on 2 February. The 1,017-kilometre sector will be served five times weekly until 25 February, utilising the carrier’s 178-seat 737-800s. The airline’s new route to the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics will face no competition from other carriers.

  • Ural Airlines launched a new service on 3 February between Adler/Sochi (AER) and Milan Malpensa (MXP) with twice-weekly flights (Mondays and Fridays) using a combination of its A320s and A321s. The 2,475-kilometre sector will be flown just for the period of the Winter Olympics, which are taking place in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, with the last of just nine flights due to be operated on 3 March. There is no competition on this briefly served route. The airline does serve Italy already, with weekly services from Ekaterinburg to Rome Fiumicino, as well as Moscow Domodedovo to Rimini. Ural Airlines is examined in more detail in this week’s airline profile.

  • UTair linked Krasnodar (KRR) in the west of Russia to Yerevan (EVN) on 2 February. Flights to the capital of Armenia will be flown four times weekly with the airline’s 113-seat 737-500s and will join the carrier’s existing services to Yerevan from Adler/Sochi, Mineralnye Vody and Rostov-on-Don. Competition on the route will come from Aeroflot and Air Armenia (both thrice-weekly), with the latter having only started the service itself on 3 February. It is possible that both UTair and Air Armenia are reacting to Yakutia Airlines’ withdrawal on the city pair, as it had been flying daily services on the route up until 2 February (according to Innovata schedule data).

Passengers arriving on Vanilla Air’s first flight from Tokyo Narita to Sapporo Chitose Airport in Hokkaido were greeted with free souvenir goody bags on arrival in Hokkaido. Four other carriers already serve the route, including Vanilla Air’s parent company, All Nippon Airways. The snow at the airport should come as no surprise as Sapporo held the winter Olympics in 1972. This year’s winter Olympics start this week in Sochi, Russia.

  • Vanilla Air, the new wholly-owned LCC subsidiary of All Nippon Airways, launched its third and fourth routes during the last week. From its Tokyo Narita (NRT) base it now operates thrice-daily flights on the 790-kilometre route to Sapporo Chitose (CTS) as well as twice-daily flights on the 1,230-kilometre route to Seoul Incheon (ICN). Competition is considerable on both routes, with four competing airlines on the domestic route and six on the route to South Korea.
Launch date From To WF (aircraft) Competition (WF)
29 January Tokyo Narita (NRT) Sapporo Chitose (CTS) 21 (A320) Jetstar Japan (28), Japan Airlines (21), All Nippon Airways (14), Skymark Airlines (14)
1 February Tokyo Narita (NRT) Seoul Incheon (ICN) 14 (A320) Asiana Airlines (28), Korean Air (23), Japan Airlines (14), Jeju Air (14), Eastar Jet (7), United Airlines (7)
Source: Vanilla Air, Innovata / Diio Mi for w/c 4 February 2014


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