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New airline routes launched (15 July – 21 July 2014)

Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi to Perth

Cutting the ceremonial first flight ribbon at Rome Fiumicino welcoming the inaugural daily Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi are: Hasan Al Hammadi, SVP Executive Affairs, Etihad; Giorgio Starace, Italian Ambassador to the UAE; Khaled Al Meherbi, SVP Government and Aeropolitical Affairs, Etihad; Lorna Dalziel, Country Manager Italy, Etihad; and Fausto Palombelli, EVP Aviation Marketing Development, AdR.

Passengers and crew were welcomed with a traditional Aboriginal ‘welcome to country’ and dance performance at Perth Airport for the inaugural daily Etihad Airways route from Abu Dhabi. Cutting the ribbon were: Perth Airport EGM, Rowan Chalmers; Etihad Airways GM Australia and New Zealand, Luisa Pastrello; Etihad Airways State Manager, Western Australia, Vincent Frascogna; and Tourism Western Australia’s CEO, Stephanie Buckland.

  • Etihad Airways expanded its presence in Italy and Australia this week, with the addition of daily services to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Perth (PER) on 15 July. A330-200-operated flights to the Italian capital, the world’s 34th busiest airport, will face direct competition from Alitalia, which flies the 4,345-kilometre route five times weekly. Etihad President and CEO, James Hogan, said: “Italy is a very important market for Etihad Airways and we are delighted to establish a second gateway here, after Milan Malpensa. By starting services to Rome, we have strengthened our commitment to Italy and reinforced the close economic and political relationship it shares with the UAE, which is Italy’s leading trade partner in the Middle East and North Africa region.” Lorenzo Lo Presti, AdR CEO, said:  “We are honoured to welcome Etihad Airways to Rome, where the airline’s new daily direct flight to Abu Dhabi represents another major milestone for growing passenger and cargo traffic to and from Italy’s main airport.” Perth became Etihad’s fourth Australian destination, along with Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. It will be operated by a variety of equipment and will face no direct competition. Brad Geatches, Perth Airport CEO said: “We are very excited to welcome Etihad Airways to Perth today. We have been working with the airline for some time now and it is pleasing to celebrate the arrival of the inaugural flight. The commencement of Etihad Airways’ Perth operations will add approximately 190,000 annual seats from Perth to the Middle East. The Middle East has become increasing popular as a hub for passengers travelling between Perth and North America, as well as for passengers between Perth and Europe.” See how Perth Airport’s FTWA compares to the others sent in this week from around the world.

Pegasus Airlines’ Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen to Budapest

Passengers on the first flight between Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen and Budapest were given a delicious bon voyage with some Turkish Delight being handed out. Passengers and crew still seem un-phased by the giant boarding pass issued at Sabiha Gökçen — but how do you get it in your carry-on baggage?

At the other end of the new route, Budapest Airport’s Airline Development Manager, Sándor Saly presents Onur Bicer, Handling Contracts Specialist, Pegasus Airlines with a traditional celebratory cake to welcome the inaugural flight and its crew from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen.

  • Pegasus Airlines began operations to its 21st European capital city this week, when it launched flights from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) to Budapest (BUD). Flying four times weekly, the fifth largest European LCC (by passenger numbers) will use its 189-seat 737-800s on the route, with services begining on 16 July. Wizz Air also operates the airport pair with daily services, while Turkish Airlines flies from Istanbul Atatürk to Budapest thrice-daily. Joining the Budapest-Turkey market gives Pegasus an immediate 14% share of all scheduled seats, as well as offering 12% of Budapest’s weekly flights to Turkey. The launch further consolidates Turkey’s position as the seventh largest country market served from Budapest, with 32 weekly scheduled operations offering a total of 5,253 weekly seats. See how Budapest Airport’s FTWA compares to the others sent in this week from around the world.

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

Thumbs up from the crew and VIPs on board the inaugural Air India flight from Delhi to Moscow Domodedovo. The four times weekly 787-8 service is the Star Alliance carrier’s only Russian route. (Images courtesy of Marina Rubanova and Artem Kashirin).

  • AirAsia India, the latest sub-brand of the LCC AirAsia mega-brand, has added its third domestic route from its Bangalore (BLR) base, the world’s 124th busiest airport, with daily Kochi (COK) services. Flown by the airline’s 180-seat A320s, the route began on 20 July and will face competition from nearly 50 existing weekly services. These are split between the four incumbents – Jet Airways (20), Alliance Air (nine), Spicejet (seven) and IndiGo (six).

On 17 July, Pereira Airport celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony and refreshments served to passengers, the inaugural flight of Avianca to New York JFK, which is operated thrice-weekly via Cartagena. 

  • Avianca, which in the previous week added domestic flights between Bogota and Villavicencio, continued to expand its network with three new services this week, all of which were launched on 17 July with thrice-weekly flights, using its 120-seat A319s. The Star Alliance member launched operations on the 623-kilometre sector from Pereira (PEI) to Cartagena (CTG), a route that is already operated by VivaColombia’s four weekly operations. In addition, the same day, this carrier launched flights from Pereira (PEI) to New York JFK, NY (JFK) via Cartagena (CTG). Nevertheless, the new service from Cartagena (CTG) to New York JFK, NY (JFK) will fly in direct competition with JetBlue Airways’ six weekly flights. Avianca is also flying to New York JFK from Bogota (twice-daily), Medellin (daily), San Salvador (twice-daily) and San Pedro Sula (twice-weekly). See our recent airline analysis of Avianca. Also, see how Pereira Airport’s FTWA compares to the others sent in this week from around the world.

  • China Southern Airlines began its third connection to the Russian city of Vladivostok (VVO), adding to its existing operations from Dalian and Shenyang. Started on 16 July, it will offer thrice-weekly services from Yanji (YNJ). The route, just 181 kilometres in length, will encounter no competition and will be flown by the SkyTeam carrier’s 151-seat A320s.

  • Garuda Indonesia expanded its domestic network with the addition of daily operations from Surabaya (SUB) to Jember (JBB) on 16 July. The 156-kilometre sector will be operated by the SkyTeam member’s 70-seat ATR 72s. There is no competition on Garuda’s new airport pair.

  • GOL, the second largest Brazilian operator according to Innovata weekly seat capacity for this July, expanded its presence at Sao Paulo Viracopos (VCP) with the addition of three routes during the course of last week, all of which are operated by the airline’s 177-seat 737-800s. On 18 July, GOL launched 42 weekly operations on the 407-kilometre sector to Rio de Janeiro Santos (SDU). Next day, on 19 July, the carrier inaugurated thrice-weekly flights to Santo Domingo (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic. In addition this route will continue to Miami, FL (MIA) with thrice-weekly operations, starting 19 July as well. The Brazilian low-cost carrier will face competition only on the route to Rio de Janeiro Santos from Azul Airlines’ 94 weekly flights.

  • Hainan Airlines, which during the course of last week commenced its fourth route to Yinchuan, increased its domestic offering from Guangzhou (CAN) with the addition of two new airport pairs on 15 July, utilising its 163-seat 737-800s. Firstly, the carrier launched thrice-weekly operations on the 1,238-kilometre sector to Chengdu (CTU). Besides this, Hainan also inaugurated the 1,202-kilometre route to Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) with daily operations. The airline will face extensive competition on both airport pairs, with the former being served by China Southern Airlines (63), Air China (49), Sichuan Airlines (23), Shenzen Airlines (14), Beijing Capital Airlines (seven), Chengdu Airlines (seven), and the latter already being flown by China Southern Airlines (63), China Eastern Airlines (62), Shanghai Airlines (49), Spring Airlines (28), Air China (14), Juneyao Airlines (seven).

  • Iberia launched a seasonal domestic service between Asturias (OVD) and Gran Canaria (LPA), which will operate between 18 July and 31 August only. Air Nostrum will fly the 1,922-kilometre sector four times weekly with its 90-seat CRJ 900s. Air Europa will provide direct competition, flying the route weekly.

La Compagnie plans to give company to Delta and United on Paris-Newark

La Compagnie had a soft launch of its initially twice-weekly 74-seat 757 operations between Paris CDG and New York Newark on 21 July. Its schedule will be gradually enhanced up to six times weekly.

  • La Compagnie is a start-up all business class airline which launched flights between Paris CDG (CDG) and New York Newark (EWR) on 21 July, having previously planned to launch on 11 July. Initially beginning with a twice-weekly schedule, its spaciously configured 74-seat 757 will offer five times weekly service from 11 August, before adding a further weekly rotation on 1 October. The 5,872-kilometre sector will face direct competition from two US heavyweights – namely United Airlines (double-daily) and Delta Air Lines (six times weekly). For more detailed analysis of this ‘Boutique Airline’, take a look at this week’s Take-Offs and Landings story on La Compagnie.

  • Norwegian has commenced weekly (Saturdays) services between London Gatwick (LGW) and Corfu (CFU). Started on 19 July, the 2,020-kilometre sector will face opposition from over 20 weekly competing frequencies, namely from easyJet (14), Thomson Airways (six) and Thomas Cook Airlines (two). Operating until 20 September, the route will be flown by the LCC’s 186-seat 737-800s.

On 19 July, Okinawa Airport celebrated the inaugural flight of Peach Aviation to Fukuoka. The ceremony was marked by Hanagasa Maha Chan, Okinawa Tourism Ambassador along with the airline’s traditional mascots. The new domestic sector will be served daily, using its A320s.

  • Peach Aviation commenced its second route to Fukuoka (FUK), with the addition of services from Okinawa (OKA) on 19 July. The low-cost carrier is already serving Fukuoka with twice-daily flights from Osaka Kansai. The 863-kilometre sector to the capital of Fukuoka Prefecture will be served daily, utilising the carrier’s 180-seat A320s. Competition on the new domestic route is provided by All Nippon Airways (56 weekly flights), Japan Transocean Air (43) and Skymark Airlines (21).

  • Royal Air Maroc launched its ninth route to Paris Orly (ORY), with the addition of twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) operations from Nador (NDR) on 20 July. Currently, there is no direct competition on this routing, being served by the Moroccan flag carrier’s 159-seat 737-800s until 3 September. The airline is already operating to Paris Orly from Agadir, Casablanca, Essaouira, Fez, Oujda, Marrakech, Rabat and Tangier.

  • Spring Airlines, the Shanghai-based low-cost carrier, increased its presence in the Japanese market with the addition of three new routes to Osaka Kansai (KIX) during the course of last week, all of which are operated by its 149-seat A320s and will face no competition from other operators. On 18 July, the carrier inaugurated four weekly flights on the 1,677-kilometre sector from Tianjin (TSN). The same day, Spring added other four weekly operations, this time from Wuhan (WUH). In addition, on 19 July, the Chinese LCC commenced its fifth route from Chongqing (CKG) with thrice-weekly services. See our latest analysis of Spring.

On 16 July, Tokyo Narita Airport celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony the inaugural flight of Vietnam Airlines to Da Nang. This is the SkyTeam member’s third route to Narita, being served four times weekly.

  • Vietnam Airlines now serves Tokyo Narita (NRT) non-stop from three destinations in Vietnam. On 16 July, the airline began four weekly flights on the 3,866-kilometre sector from Da Nang (DAD), using its 184-seat A321s. The Vietnamese flag carrier already serves Tokyo’s primary airport from Hanoi (daily) and from Ho Chi Minh City (twice-daily). No other carrier serves the SkyTeam member’s new airport pair.

  • Yakutia Airlines has commenced three new seasonal routes to Japan, all of which will have ceased to operate by mid-September. The airline has launched weekly (Tuesdays) flights to Niigata (KIJ) from Khabarovsk (KHV) on 15 July, as well as weekly (Saturdays) flights to the same Japanese city from Vladivostok (VVO) on 19 July. Both routes will face no direct competition and will be flown by Yakutia’s 93-seat SuperJet-100-95s. On 16 July, the airline used the same aircraft type to begin weekly (Wednesdays) flights from Vladivostok to Tokyo Narita (NRT). S7 Airlines will provide Yakutia with some opposition on the city pair, flying four times weekly.


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