New airline routes launched (16 September – 29 September 2014)

Tigerair Taiwan’s Taipei Taoyuan to Singapore

Tigerair Taiwan launches operations

Tigerair Taiwan launched its first route (from Taipei to Singapore) on Friday 26 September. The joint venture between Tiger Airways of Singapore and China Airlines of Taiwan will face intense competition on this route which is already served by six other carriers offering a total of 65 weekly flights each way.

  • Tigerair Taiwan, the new joint venture between Singapore’s Tiger Airways and Taiwan’s China Airlines, and the first Taiwan-based LCC, launched its maiden flight on Friday 26 September. The airline’s first daily flight on the 3,212-kilometre route between Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Singapore (SIN) had only three empty seats on the airline’s 180-seat A320. Competition on the route is considerable: China Airlines and Singapore Airlines each operate 14 weekly flights; Jetstar Airways has 11 weekly flights; Scoot 10 weekly flights; Tiger Airways nine weekly flights; and EVA Airways seven weekly flights. According to Taiwanese authorities the number of passengers travelling in and out of Taiwan on budget airlines has climbed from just 260,000 in 2009 to 2.3 million in 2013, an increase of almost 800%.

Wizz Air’s Katowice to Glasgow

On 29 September, Katowice Airport celebrated the launch of Wizz Air’s operations to Glasgow with cake, served to passengers on the inaugural flight. This is the ULCC’s third route to the Scottish gateway, as it already operates from Gdansk and Warsaw Chopin.

  • Wizz Air expanded its presence at Glasgow (GLA) with the addition of its third route to the Scottish gateway on 29 September, this time from Katowice (KTW). The 1,672-kilometre sector will be served twice-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays), using the ULCC’s 180-seat A320s. Wizz Air is also serving Glasgow with twice-weekly operations from Gdansk and Warsaw Chopin. No other airline serves this airport pair. 

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

On 23 September, Tirana Airport welcomed the resumption of Air Serbia’s flights from Belgrade, a route that was last operated in 2009. While the sector will be served utilising the airline’s ATR 72s, on this occasion Air Serbia operated one of its A320s. Cutting the ribbon are: Suela Keri, CFO, Tirana Airport; and Slobodan Stamenković, Executive Director Commercial Operations, Air Serbia. 

  • Air Serbia, formerly known as JAT Airways, increased its European offering with the addition of a new destination on 23 September — Tirana (TIA), from its Belgrade (BEG) hub. The 381-kilometre sector to Albania’s capital will be served thrice-weekly, using the carrier’s 62-seat ATR 72s. No other carrier serves this airport pair. Commenting on the route launch, Dane Kondić, CEO, Air Serbia, said: “The re-introduction of services to Tirana benefits the more than two million Albanian diaspora in Europe with increased travel options and connectivity over our Belgrade hub to their homeland. The route will also further contribute to the growth of Albania’s inbound tourism.” See how Tirana Airport’s FTWA compares to the others sent in this week from around the world.

On 18 September, Seattle-Tacoma Airport celebrated the launch of Alaska Airlines’ new route to Albuquerque with a special ceremony in the terminal, which included a cake, ribbon cutting and live musicians. 

  • Alaska Airlines continued to grow at Seattle-Tacoma, WA (SEA), this time with the addition of daily flights to Albuquerque, NM (ABQ). The airline launched operations on the 1,899-kilometre sector on 18 September, a sector which will be served utilising a mixed fleet of Alaska Airlines’ 124-seat 737-700s, 163-seat 737-800s and 181-seat 737-900s. The carrier will face direct competition on the new route from Southwest Airlines’ daily operations. Commenting on the route launch to the most populous city in the US state of New Mexico, Joe Sprague, SVP Communications and External Relations, Alaska Airlines, said: “Albuquerque’s rich history and year-round sunshine provide endless adventure for leisure and business travellers alike. This new route further builds on the strength of our Seattle hub from where we serve three times more cities than any other carrier.”

  • American Airlines increased its domestic offering from Philadelphia, PA (PHL), adding two new routes to Jacksonville, FL (JAX) and New Orleans, LA (MSY) on 26 September. Both airport pairs are operated daily using Republic Airlines’ 76-seat E175s. Noteworthy is the fact that the new links to Jacksonville and New Orleans are already operated by its partner, US Airways with twice-daily and 11 weekly flights respectively.

On 29 September, Stockholm Bromma Airport welcomed the arrival of Estonian Air from Tallinn with a special event, including a ribbon cutting and a fantastic cake. While the sector will be served utilising leased equipment from DOT LT, on this occasion Estonian Air operated one of its E170s. Cutting the ribbon are: Anders Ljunggren, Ambassador of Sweden to Estonia; Peder Grunditz, Airport Director, Stockholm Bromma; and Jan Palmér, CEO, Estonian Air. 

Tallinn Airport celebrated on 29 September the inaugural flight of Estonian Air to Stockholm Bromma. Cutting the ribbon are: Erik Sakkov, Member of the Board, Tallinn; Anders Ljunggren, Ambassador of Sweden to Estonia; and Indrek Randveer, Member of the Board, Estonian Air. 

On 19 September eurolot celebrated the launch of flights from Krakow to Zielona Gora. The domestic sector will be served weekly, utilising the airline’s Q400s.

On 16 September, fastjet launched its fourth international route with Dar es Salaam-Entebbe twice-weekly flights, which will see a frequency increase to four times weekly starting 29 September. Cutting the celebratory ribbon at the gate in Dar es Salaam are: Jean Uku, Commercial Manager Tanzania, fastjet; and Jimmy Kibati, General Manager East Africa, fastjet.

  • fastjet, the low-cost operator providing pan-African services, commenced its fourth international route on 16 September, adding flights from Dar es Salaam (DAR) in Tanzania to Entebbe (EBB) in Uganda. The 1,072-kilometre sector will be operated twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays), using the airline’s 125-seat A319s. However, the new route will see a frequency increase to four times weekly starting 29 September. No other airline serves this airport pair. Commenting on the route launch, the airline’s CEO, Ed Winter, said: “fastjet has responded to requests from Ugandans and Tanzanians asking for a direct route between the two cities with affordable, reliable flights. Until now, travellers had to depend on lengthy road transportation or have been excluded from air travel by the significant costs of flying between the two cities, with cheapest flights up until now costing more than US$240 one-way on average.”

Ghaith Al Ghaith, flydubai’s CEO has been clocking up the air miles over the last two weeks, launching five new routes in four different countries – Almaty and Shymkent (Kazakhstan), Moscow Vnukovo (Russia), Entebbe (Uganda) and Kigali (Rwanda). He’s seen here launching the LCC’s new daily service to the Russian capital on 23 September.

A traditional Kazakh welcome – and a new route cake ‒ was waiting for flydubai representatives when the airline arrived in Almaty and Shymkent this week. The former route will be flown thrice-weekly, while the latter will be operated twice-weekly by the LCCs 737-800s.

27 September saw flydubai increase its presence in Africa, with the addition of daily flights to Entebbe in Uganda, as well as thrice-weekly services to Kigali in Rwanda. flydubai’s delegation was headed by Hamad Obaidalla, flydubai’s CCO, who presented a route launch gift to Abraham Byandala, Uganda’s Minister for Works and Transportation.

  • flydubai has been busy over the last two weeks, starting five new routes in four different countries (see table below). Commenting on the launch of flights to Kazakhstan, Ghaith Al Ghaith said: “The start of flydubai’s direct flights from Dubai to Almaty and Shymkent, provide a convenient link between these economic hubs in the Middle East and Central Asia. It marks a milestone in the relations between our countries and sees the expansion of flydubai’s network in the region to five countries.” A week later, he was also speaking at a press conference at Moscow Vnukovo: “Since launching flights to Russia in 2010 we have consistently seen strong demand for travel between the UAE and Russia and with daily flights to Moscow, flydubai provides passengers with another option to travel between the two countries. The new route will enhance connectivity and strengthen trade, travel and tourism.” The airline launched flights to Russia in 2010, starting services to Samara and Yekaterinburg, followed by Kazan and Ufa in 2011 and it doubled its network last year with four destinations in south-west Russia:  Krasnodar, Mineralnye Vody, Rostov-on-Don and Volgograd. Commenting on the launch of the Entebbe route, flydubai CCO Hamad Obaidalla said: “We are delighted to be flying to Entebbe, one of Africa’s leading commercial centres. With daily flights offering the choice of Economy and Business Class, we will facilitate the flow of tourism and business between Uganda and the UAE.” See how Almaty, Entebbe and Moscow Vnukovo airports’ FTWAs compare to the others sent in this week from around the world.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
16-Sep Dubai (DXB) Almaty (ALA) B738 (3) Air Astana (7)
19-Sep Shymkent (CIT) B738 (2)
23-Sep Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) B738 (7) Transaero Airlines (4)
27-Sep Entebbe (EBB) B738 (7) Emirates (7)
Kigali (KGL) B738 (3) RwandAir (7)

Flynas Jeddah to Sharjah

Having stopped serving the route last April, flynas has decided to re-enter the Jeddah to Sharjah market, competing with Air Arabia.

  • flynas, the Saudi Arabian LCC, has restarted services between Jeddah (JED) and Sharjah (SHJ), after a 17-month hiatus. Flying four times per week, the 1,708-kilometre sector will be flown in competition with Sharjah-based Air Arabia, which operates the route 15 times weekly. Started on 16 September, the city pair will be flown by the airline’s 164-seat A320s. “We want to be on everyone’s radar when it comes to travel between Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” said Wael Al Sarhan, Director of Marketing & Communication at flynas. “That’s why we are re-launching this route, offering excellent value flights given the high growth of air traffic between Saudi Arabia and Emirates.” The service opens numerous connection possibilities, with Jeddah being a flynas hub, there are onward connections to Adana, Cairo, Dammam, Jizan, Antalya, Khartoum, Riyadh, Istanbul and Aswan.

Golden Myanmar Airlines celebrated the launch of its new service from Yangon to Chiang Mai in Thailand with a lavish ceremony at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel in Chiang Mai, on 20 September, three days before the first flight took place.

  • Golden Myanmar Airlines has begun operating thrice-weekly flights (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays) between Yangon (RGN) and Chiang Mai (CNX) in Thailand. The short 364-kilometre sector will be flown by the airline’s A320s and will face direct competition from Air Bagan’s twice-weekly flights. This is the airline’s second destination in Thailand as it already operates flights to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi.

HK Express Nagoya Press Conference

At the HK Express Nagoya Press Conference, HK Express’ Commercial Director Luke Lovegrove announced the amazing inaugural one-way fare accompanied by Fuu, the mascot of Chubu International Airport. Competition on the route comes from Cathay Pacific Airways (twice-daily flights) and All Nippon Airways (daily flights).

HK Express announced inaugural one-way fare to Zhengzhou

HK Express’ Executive Chairman and President, Jimmy Ma announced the amazing inaugural one-way fare to Zhengzhou with a group of Siu Lin Ku Fung kids. China Southern Airlines and Dragonair both already serve the city pair.

  • HK Express continues to expand its network from its Hong Kong (HKG) base. On 18 September the airline began six times weekly flights on the 2,602-kilometre route to Nagoya (NGO) in Japan. Competition on this route comes from Cathay Pacific Airways (14 weekly flights) and All Nippon Airways (seven weekly flights). On 26 September Zhengzhou (CGO) in China was added to the network. This 1,379-kilometre route will be served five times weekly and faces competition from China Southern Airlines and Dragonair, who both operate daily flights. With 13.14 million passengers in 2013 (+12.6%), Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport ranked 18th in China in 2013. See how Nagoya Chubu International Airport’s fire truck water arch salute compares to others from around the world this week.

On 22 September, NextJet celebrated its first flight from Sundsvall to Gothenburg with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the aircraft. The new domestic sector will be served 10 times weekly, using the airline’s Saab 340s.

  • NextJet, increased its presence in the Swedish domestic market, with a new route from Sundsvall (SDL) to Gothenburg (GOT) on 22 September. The 613-kilometre sector will be served 10 times weekly until 27 March, utilising the carrier’s 32-seat Saab 340s. The airline’s new route to the second largest city in Sweden will face no competition from other carriers.

SpiceJet celebrated its first international route from Kolkata, and a return to the Bangkok market, with a lavish cake and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The route will operate daily and will face competition from IndiGo and Thai Airways.

  • SpiceJet, on 25 September launched its first international service from its base at Kolkata (CCU). Daily service on the 1,608-kilometre route to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) will be provided by the airline’s 737-800s. Competition comes from Indigo (14 weekly flights), Tashi Air and Thai Airways (daily flights). Despite this being SpiceJet’s first international airport pair, the route is as not as long as the airline’s thrice-daily domestic flights to Mumbai, a distance of 1,669 kilometres. In total SpiceJet now operates 10 routes (with 20 daily departures) from Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, giving it a seat market share of 16.2%, second only to IndiGo (with 40.7%).

On 20 December, Kelowna Airport welcomed the inaugural flight of United Airlines’ daily flights from San Francisco with a cake ceremony and jazz musicians at the gate, performing “I left my heart in San Francisco.”

  • United Airlines increased its international offering from San Francisco, CA (SFO) with the addition of a new destination in Canada, namely Kelowna (YLW) on 20 September. The 1,392-kilometre sector will be operated daily, utilising SkyWest Airlines’ 50-seat CRJ 200s. The Star Alliance member will face no competition on the new airport pair.

Vueling starts a new route domestic trio in Italy

Turin Airport came up with this graphic to celebrate the fact that Vueling now has a night-stopping aircraft based in the Northern Italy city to operate the 20 times weekly service to Rome Fiumicino.

  • Vueling has launched a trio of routes, all domestic, linking the Italian regions with the capital – Rome Fiumicino (FCO). The most frequently operated route is from Turin (TRN), with the 529-kilometre sector being flown 20 times weekly from 17 September. Alitalia will provide the competition on this city pair, with 44 weekly services. On the same day, the carrier also began a 15 times weekly operation to Genoa (GOA), which will similarly face the sole competition of the national carrier, this time with its 37 weekly flights. Finally, Vueling began a daily service to Reggio (REG) on 18 September. In addition to Alitalia’s competition on this city pair (20 times weekly), Blue Panorama Airlines flies the 505-kilometre sector four times weekly. All routes are flown by the LCC’s 180-seat A320s.


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