New airline routes launched (18 – 24 February 2014)

JetBlue Airways’ New York JFK to Port of Spain

JetBlue Airways’ inaugural flight from New York JFK to Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago was celebrated at the US airport on 24 February, with a ribbon cutting ceremony as well as traditional music and dances. Cutting the ribbon were (left to right): Ronald Woodruffe, First Officer, JetBlue; Tom McNicholas, Captain, JetBlue; Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam, Consul General, Trinidad and Tobago; Jeff Goodell, VP, JetBlue; and Adeola James, Counsel Tourism, Trinidad and Tobago.

  • JetBlue Airways, the US low-cost carrier that in the previous week inaugurated two domestic links from Savannah, GA, expanded its international offering with a new service from New York JFK, NY (JFK) to Port of Spain (POS) in Trinidad and Tobago on 24 February. The airline’s 84th destination will be operated daily, utilising its 150-seat A320s. The 3,547-kilometre sector to the capital of Trinidad and Tobago will face direct competition from Caribbean Airlines’ 24 weekly flights.

Vueling’s Barcelona to Dakar

Barcelona Airport Head of Cabinet, Gloria Rodríguez Mir cut the commemorative cake with the captain and some members of the crew.

Passengers on Vueling’s inaugural weekly service from Barcelona to Dakar were received by the Spanish airport’s Head of Cabinet, Gloria Rodríguez Mir (second right). She cut the commemorative cake with the captain and some members of the crew.

  • Vueling, the Spanish low-cost carrier, expanded its international network with a new service from its Barcelona (BCN) base to Dakar (DKR) in Senegal. The 3,497-kilometre sector was inaugurated on 22 February with weekly flights (Saturdays), utilising the airline’s 180-seat A320s. No other carrier serves this airport pair. The route will be increased to thrice-weekly in April.

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

  • Air Antilles, which in the previous week launched its second route from Guadeloupe to St Martin, has commenced two international routes this week, with both new services beginning on 18 February. The first new island pair is from Fort-de-France (FTF) in Martinique to San Juan (SJU) in Puerto Rico. Flown thrice-weekly by the Caribbean airline’s ATR 42-500s, the service will operate via Pointe-a-Pitre weekly on the outbound flight, but with all three inbound flights stopping off at the largest city in Guadeloupe. Competition on the Fort-de-France to San Juan sector comes from a four times weekly service from Seaborne Airlines. The second new island pair is from Pointe-a-Pitre (PTP) in Guadaloupe to Dominica (DOM) in Dominica. Again flown thrice-weekly by Air Antilles’ ATR 42-500s, the service will face competition from one incumbent, namely LIAT (thrice-weekly). In addition, this airport pair is also operated by Air Antilles’ new partner Winair (thrice-weekly) as part of their strategic Caribbean alliance.

  • EGYPTAIR, the flag carrier of Egypt that in the previous week launched services to London Heathrow, has further expanded its Luxor (LXR) offering with the launch of a new international route to Paris CDG (CDG) on 22 February. The 3,676-kilometre sector will be operated weekly (Saturdays), utilising a mixed fleet of the airline’s 145-seat A320s and 161-seat A321s. EGYPTAIR’s sixth service from Luxor will face no direct competition from other carriers. The airline already serves Paris CDG with 10 weekly flights from Cairo using a mixed fleet of A330-300s and A320s.

The airline's new Taichung route was greeted on its arrival in Kinmen with the traditional water arch salute.

Far Eastern Air Transport’s new service from Taichung was greeted on its arrival in Kinmen with the traditional water arch salute on 22 February. Find out how Kinmen Airport got on in this week’s Arch of Triumph competition.

  • Far Eastern Air Transport, a Taiwanese airline that can trace its origins back to the late 1950s, expanded its domestic presence with the addition of daily services from Taichung (RMQ) to Kinmen (KNH). The carrier’s operations on the 231-kilometre sector began on 22 February, utilising its 143-seat MD-80s. In addition, the Taiwanese airline’s new airport pair will face direct competition from Mandarin Airlines’ 19 weekly flights.

  • Hainan Airlines, the fourth largest Chinese carrier in terms of fleet size, expanded its international network on 23 February, with a new service from Hefei (HFE) to Singapore (SIN). The 3,663-kilometre sector will be served thrice-weekly via its main base, Haikou, utilising the airline’s 164-seat 737-800s. Hainan’s 14th route from Hefei will face no direct competition from other carriers.

  • Malawi Airlines, which in the previous week added Lusaka to its Lilongwe offering, continued to expand its presence in Africa, with a new service from its Lilongwe (LLW) base in Malawi to Dar es Salaam (DAR) in Tanzania on 18 February. The 998-kilometre sector will be served thrice-weekly, utilising Ethiopian Airlines’ 69-seat Q400s. The carrier’s new route to the largest city in Tanzania will face no competition from other carriers. Commenting on the partnership with Malawi, Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethiopian, said: “Ethiopian is first and foremost a pan-African carrier that strongly believes that intra-African partnership is critical for the emergence of a globally competitive indigenous African airline industry. It is with this spirit that we have entered into a long-term partnership in Malawi. Together, we aim to serve the public and the air travel needs in the southern Africa region, both for regional and inter-continental travel, through an integrated network that offers seamless and convenient connectivity options to our 79 global destinations.”

The new twice-weekly Taipei Songshan to Fuzhou service on the tarmac.

Although marketed as a Mandarin Airlines service, the new twice-weekly Taipei Songshan to Fuzhou service is clearly operated by parent company China Airlines.

  • Mandarin Airlines is starting a new service between Taipei Songshan (TSA) and Fuzhou (FOC) in eastern China. Operated twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays), but by the airline’s parent China Airlines’ 737-800s, the 254-kilometre sector started on 18 February. The route will be flown in direct competition with Xiamen Airlines (six times weekly) and TransAsia Airways (four). In addition, Mandarin will face indirect competition from Taipei Taoyuan to Fuzhou, operated by Xiamen (daily) and UNI Air (twice-weekly).

  • Norwegian began flights from Málaga (AGP) to Warsaw Chopin (WAW) on 20 February. The LCC will fly the route twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sunday) with its 737-800s under no direct competition. The service will increase to thrice-weekly from 30 March and the route was previously operated by Norwegian up until August 2010.

  • Shandong Airlines, Air China’s subsidiary, expanded its seasonal offering with the addition of twice-weekly flights (Mondays and Wednesdays) from Weihai (WEH) in China to Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). The carrier’s operations on the 1,321-kilometre route began on 24 February using its 167-seat 737-800s. The seasonal service will operate until 26 March and will face direct competition from China Airlines’ weekly flights.

A Thai AirAsia crew member presents a young passenger with an inaugural flight ticket.

‘You think you are getting my ticket for the inaugural daily flight with Thai AirAsia from Chiang Mai to Hangzhou, think again sister!’

The Vincent Aviation website.

Despite what the airline’s website still says (on 26 February at least), Vincent Aviation did not start the Syndey to Narrabri service on 19 February ‘due to unforeseen delays in reaching the milestones required.’ The flight actually started on 21 February after being granted an interim licence by Transport NSW.

  • Vincent Aviation, the New Zealand airline, expanded its Australian domestic network with the addition of a new service from Sydney (SYD) to Narrabri (NAA) on 21 February. The 422-kilometre sector will be served five times weekly, utilising the carrier’s 34-seat Saab 340s. There is no direct competition on the route.


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