New airline routes launched (21 April – 27 April 2015)


La Compagnie’s London Luton to New York Newark

The men who brought La Compagnie to London. The self-proclaimed ‘boutique’ airline’s CEO Franz Yvelin was the first to check-in for the inaugural flight from London Luton to New York Newark on 27 April (notably he was not in seat 1A – he had 18F, right at the back). Also sampling the on-board product was the airport’s Airline & Cargo Development Manager, Simon Harley.

  • La Compagnie, the French all-business class carrier, began operations on its second service to New York Newark (EWR) on 27 April, with London Luton (LTN) joining the self-proclaimed boutique airline’s existing service from Paris CDG to the US hub. The 5,551-kilometre service will initially be flown thrice-weekly, with the route being ramped up through the summer – four times weekly from 3 May; five times weekly from 23 May; and six times weekly from 4 June. All flights are operated by the carrier’s 74-seat 757 aircraft and will face no direct competition. The premium service follows in the footsteps of Silverjet, which operated from the London airport to New York JFK with 767s between January 2007 and May 2008. See London Luton Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

VLM Airlines’ Southampton to Antwerp and Hamburg

On 23 April, Southampton Airport celebrated with a cake ceremony the inaugural flights of VLM Airlines to Antwerp and Hamburg. Passengers on the first flight were treated to a diamond-themed reception and had a chance to win a diamond, flown in especially from Antwerp (the Belgium city is known as the diamond capital of the world). Cutting the cake are: Dave Lees, MD, Southampton Airport; Alix De Weerdt, VLM; Arthur White, VLM; and Councillor Sue Blatchford, Mayor of Southampton.

Luton Airport VLM Airlines

On 27 April, Luton Airport welcomed a new airline, namely VLM Airlines with 12 weekly flights to Waterford – Ireland’s oldest city, dating back to 914 when it was founded by Viking traders.

VLM Airlines Birmingham

On the same day, celebrations continued at Birmingham Airport, with another cake having been cut by Tom Screen, Head of Aviation Development, Birmingham Airport, along with the aircraft’s crew.

  • VLM Airlines introduced four new airport pairs during the course of last week, all of which are operated by its 50-seat Fokker 50s. Firstly on 23 April, the Belgian carrier launched four weekly flights to Southampton (SOU) from Antwerp (ANR) and Hamburg (HAM), with the latter having been operated via Antwerp (ANR). Secondly, on 27 April, VLM introduced two new routes from Waterford (WAT) in Ireland, to Birmingham (BHX) and London Luton (LTN) with four weekly departures and 12 weekly flights respectively. Commenting on the routes from the UK airport, Dave Lees, MD, Southampton Airport, said: “Not only does this new route suit many businesses in the area and locals wanting to visit these two beautiful cities, the new flights are perfect for those in Germany and Belgium starting cruises from Southampton, which is the cruise capital for northern Europe.” See how Southampton and Birmingham Airports’ FTWAs compares to others from around the world.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
23 Apr Antwerp (ANR) Southampton (SOU) F50 (4)
Hamburg (HAM) (via ANR)
27 Apr Waterford (WAT) Birmingham (BHX)
London Luton (LTN) F50 (12)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 28 April 2015. WF = Weekly frequencies.

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


On 23 April, Ljubljana Airport celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the gate the start of Adria Airways’ twice-weekly flights to Stockholm Arlanda.

More celebrations took place on 24 April at Berlin Tegel Airport, which welcomed with a ribbon cutting the arrival of Adria Airways’ thrice-weekly flights from Ljubljana.


Starting on 24 April, AlbaStar linked Milan/Bergamo and Tarbes Lourdes with its 737-400s. A fabulous FTWA blessed the first flight.


bmi regional

Know your airport codes? Ian Woodley, Chairman bmi regional, the aircraft’s crew and Shaun Browne, Aviation Director, Bristol Airport certainly know those belonging to the airline’s two new routes starting from south-west England airport this week – Paris CDG and Düsseldorf.

Dusseldorf bmi regional

At the Düsseldorf end of the route the celebrations continued, with the bmi regional crew welcomed to Germany by Manager Airline Marketing, Christina Knicker. Bristol and bmi regional are a new airline and new destination in Düsseldorf’s UK route portfolio. In S15, a total of 14 UK destinations can be reached nonstop from the German airport, operated by seven different airlines. According to the airport this is unique in Germany – no other German airport has so many UK destinations in its network.

  • bmi regional has commenced its sixth and seventh routes from its growing Bristol (BRS) base this week (#8, Nantes begins on 4 July), beginning 11 times weekly operations to Paris CDG (CDG) and Düsseldorf (DUS), both on 27 April. While the German sector faces no direct competition, easyJet also operates to the French capital from the south-west England airport on a six times weekly basis. Both services are operated by the regional carrier’s 49-seat ERJ 145s. Shaun Browne, Aviation Director, Bristol Airport said: “We welcome the additional routes on bmi regional’s network from Bristol Airport, which are a further demonstration of bmi regional’s commitment to Bristol. The addition of these flights provides additional connectivity for business travellers to two major European business centres. The timings of the Paris flights will enable the busy business traveller to depart Bristol early in the morning and return the same day, saving valuable time without the necessity of staying overnight. Both Paris and Dusseldorf also have lots to offer for leisure visitors with a wealth of culinary delights and cultural history making for great city breaks.”

On 24 April, Croatia Airlines commenced twice-weekly seasonal flights from Dubrovnik to Nice in France, a sector which will be served until 23 October.

  • Croatia Airlines increased its French seasonal offering with the addition of a new route from Dubrovnik (DBV) to Nice (NCE) on 24 April. The 904-kilometre sector to the capital of the French Riviera will be served twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) until 23 October, using the airline’s 144-seat A319s. No other operator flies between the two points.

Route launches are all Greek to me – as easyJet adds a new weekly flight from Liverpool to Zakinthos on 23 April. Cutting the ribbon and holding the cake, along with the inaugural crew, are the airport’s Operations Director Colin Swaine and Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Commercial Manager.

Porto Airport celebrated easyJet’s latest route launch to London Luton on 26 April – becoming the airline’s ninth destination from the Portuguese airport, and it’s third to the UK, along with Bristol and London Gatwick. This new service will be operated thrice-weekly and was celebrated with the traditional cake and orange juice. Cutting the cake were: Márcia Canêdo and Paula Barbosa – the Porto Airport Marketing Team.

  • easyJet, has boosted its S15 route portfolio with four new services launched over four days between 23 and 26 April. The new city pairs varied in length from the relatively short 343-kilometre hop over the Alps between Milan Malpensa (MXP) and Stuttgart (STR), to the 2,948-kilomtere sector from London Luton (LTN) to Antalya (AYT). Two of the four routes will face competition.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
23 Apr Liverpool (LPL) Zakinthos (ZTH) A319 (1)
24 Apr Milan Malpensa (MXP) Stuttgart (STR) A319 (6) germanwings (12)
25 Apr London Luton (LTN) Antalya (AYT) A320 (2) Thomson Airways (1)
26 Apr Porto (OPO) A319 (3)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 28 April 2015.

On 21 April, Tallinn Airport celebrated with a special ceremony in the terminal (including a ribbon cutting) the start of Estonian Air’s twice-weekly flights to Milan Malpensa. The route will be served until 1 November.

  • Estonian Air entered the Italian country market on 21 April, when it introduced twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Sundays) flights from Tallinn (TLL) to Milan Malpensa (MXP). The 1,868-kilometre sector will be served until 1 November, using the airline’s 88-seat CRJ 900s. No other airline serves this airport pair.

On 21 April, Ethiopian Airlines celebrated at Addis Ababa Airport the launch of thrice-weekly flights to Tokyo Narita, a sector operated via Hong Kong.

  • Ethiopian Airlines expanded its Asian offering on 21 April, with the addition of thrice-weekly flights from its Addis Ababa (ADD) base to Tokyo Narita (NRT), operated via existing Hong Kong service. The 11,064-kilometre route, which is not served directly by any other operator, will be operated by the Star Alliance member’s 269-seat 787-8s.

Flybe crew on the inaugural Cardiff to Düsseldorf flight

The Flybe crew on the inaugural Cardiff to Düsseldorf flight were given the gift of chocolate cartwheelers from Christina Knicker (centre) Manager Airline Marketing at the German airport. The cartwheeler is a popular symbol within Düsseldorf and cartwheeling is an old tradition dating back to the 13th century.

  • Flybe started weekly flights (Saturdays) from Cardiff (CWL) to Düsseldorf (DUS) on 25 April. This particular flight, operated by its 78-seat Q400s, will operate until 2 October, however from 31 August onwards the airline will add an extra three weekly flights (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays), flown by Flybe’s E195s until end of October. There is currently no competition on the 700-kilometre sector. This new route is the first of the airline’s expanded 11-route network which launches later this summer when its new Cardiff base opens with two based 118-seat E195s on 2 June. The base will mean an increase in capacity and frequency on existing flights as well as eight new services including those to Glasgow, Faro, Milan Malpensa and Paris CDG. Debra Barber, MD for the Welsh airport, said: “Düsseldorf is a key business and leisure destination which also acts as an important gateway to other beautiful parts of Germany, so we’re delighted that Flybe has recognised this as an important travel link for people in Wales. In addition, the route brings with it some great potential for inbound tourism into Wales from Germany.”

Hainan Airlines inaugural flight from Chongqing arrived at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport on Monday 27 April. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed by Mr Fausto Palombelli, EVP Aviation Marketing, Aeroporti di Roma and Mr Xie, President of Hainan Airlines. There was also a cake to celebrate the launch of the airline’s sixth non-stop route to Europe and first from Chongqing.

  • Hainan Airlines has added Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to its gradually expanding European network. On 27 April the Chinese carrier began twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) flights from Chongqing (CKG) to the Italian capital using its A330-200s. The 8,190-kilometre route is not served by any other carrier. This is the airline’s first European route from Chongqing. It also operates non-stop from Xi’an to Paris CDG and from Beijing to Berlin Tegel, Brussels, Moscow Sheremetyevo and St Petersburg. In total, Hainan Airlines now operates 19 weekly flights between China and Europe. Rome Fiumicino Airport now offers non-stop flights to three Chinese airports as Air China serves Beijing daily and China Eastern Airlines serves Shanghai daily. See how Rome Fiumicino Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Three new routes were started by Turkish Airlines from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen on 27 April. Celebrations from the Rome Fiumicino and Stuttgart launches included some cake for passengers and attending VIPs alike.

Leading the celebrations in Stuttgart for Turkish Airlines’ new Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen four times weekly service were: Mehmet Basaran, GM, Turkish Airlines; Georg Fundel, Stuttgart Airport Manager; and Fatih Cigal, VP Marketing & Sales, Turkish Airlines.

Adding a bit more colour to Cologne Bonn Airport this week was the start of Turkish Airlines’ daily service from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen on 27 April. Conducting the on apron and in terminal celebrations were: Ulrich Stiller, Director Marketing & Sales, Cologne Bonn Airport; and Yiğit Bilge Avci, GM Cologne, Turkish Airlines.

  • Turkish Airlines took the opportunity this week to expand its network of services from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) on 27 April, launching flights to Cologne Bonn (CGN), Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Stuttgart (STR). As a result, the Star Alliance carrier now operates to 20 international destinations and a further 25 domestic points from the airline’s rapidly growing secondary hub. All three routes are operated by the airline’s 737-800s, with Cologne Bonn and Fiumicino both flown daily, while Stuttgart is four times weekly. Unsurprisingly, Pegasus Airlines provides the most significant competition, with double daily (CGN), 11 times weekly (FCO) and 10 times weekly (STR) flights respectively. In addition germanwings flies on the Sabiha Gökçen to Cologne Bonn (four times weekly) and Stuttgart (weekly) airport pairs, with SunExpress Germany also flying to the Southern Germany city on a weekly basis.

Volotea

  • Volotea has commenced six new routes this week, none of which are going to be operated with more than two weekly frequencies. All the services are going to be flown by the airline’s ubiquitous 125-seat 717s. Somewhat uniquely, none of the six routes are likely to encounter any direct competition at this stage of the S15 season. Volotea’s third French base, Strasbourg (SXB) will benefit the most from the expansion – with three new routes.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
27 Apr Lille (LIL) Biarritz (BIQ) B717 (2)
25 Apr Figari (FSC)
Strasbourg (SXB)
24 Apr Olbia (OLB) B717 (1)
27 Apr Venice Marco Polo (VCE) B717 (2)
24 Apr Venice Marco Polo (VCE) Marseille (MRS)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 28 April 2015.

On 22 April, Riga Airport celebrated with a cake the launch of Wizz Air’s twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) flights to Stavanger, which is considered to be the centre of the Norwegian’s oil industry (also known as the Oil Capital). Cutting the cake are: Liene Freivalde, Director of Aviation Services Department, Riga Airport; and Arina Smelova, Representative of Wizz Air.

Wizz Riga cake

On 24 April, Wizz Air celebrated the launch of twice-weekly flights from Riga Airport to Lübeck in Germany. Marking the achievement are: Ewa Danecka-Latka, Head of Riga Base, Wizz Air; Liene Freivalde, Director of Aviation Services Department, Riga Airport; and Baiba Tiltina, Senior Cabin Attendant, Wizz Air.

On 24 April, Liverpool Airport witnessed the launch of Wizz Air’s twice-weekly flights to Riga. Celebrations with passengers and airline staff took place ahead of the first departure, with airport staff presenting Wizz Air cabin crew with a special celebratory cake in the shape of a Wizz Air aircraft.

On 24 April, celebrations continued at Riga, this time for Wizz Air’s launch of twice-weekly departures to Liverpool. Cutting the celebratory cake are: Baiba Tiltina, Senior Cabin Attendant, Wizz Air; Liene Freivalde, Director of Aviation Services Department, Riga Airport; and Ewa Danecka-Latka, Head of Riga Base, Wizz Air.

  • Wizz Air expanded its European offering with the addition of six new routes during the course of last week, all of which are served by its 180-seat A320s. The Hungarian ULCC is now linking Riga (RIX) to Liverpool (LPL), Lübeck (LBC) and Stavanger (SVG), as well as Vilnius (VNO) to Belfast International (BFS), Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) and Malmö (MMX). Interestingly, Wizz Air will face direct competition only on the sectors to Stavanger and Hahn from airBaltic’s twice-weekly departures and Ryanair’s four weekly flights respectively. Commenting on the route launch from Liverpool, Mark Povall, Director of Air Service Development, Liverpool Airport, said: “Riga is a great destination for both business and leisure passengers. The combination of Wizz Air’s low fares and a value for money, attractive destination such as Riga, should prove popular with the region’s passengers.”
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
24 Apr Riga (RIX) Liverpool (LPL) A320 (2)
Lübeck (LBC)
22 Apr Stavanger (SVG) airBaltic (2)
Vilnius (VNO) Belfast International (BFS)
23 Apr Frankfurt Hahn (HHN) A320 (3) Ryanair (4)
24 Apr Malmö (MMX) A320 (2)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 28 April 2015. WF = Weekly frequencies.

XL Airways

Eight new routes from Lille ‒ you beauty! Miss France 2015, Camille Cerf, was on hand in Lille to add a bit of glamour to the ramp in front of the XL Airways aircraft which is now based at the northern French regional airport. Five more new routes are being launched next week – Corfu, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Rhodes and Tenerife South.

  • XL Airways France is beginning 13 new routes from Lille (LIL) over the course of this week and next. Of the eight sectors which are being launched this week, there are seven different countries being served by the airline – namely Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. The services will boost significantly the airport’s network as only two of the eight services will face any direct competition at this stage of S15.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
25 Apr Lille (LIL) Agadir (AGA) B738 (1)
Ajaccio (AJA) Volotea (4), HOP! (1)
26 Apr Bodrum (BJV)
24 Apr Catania (CTA)
26 Apr Djerba (DJE) B738 (2)
27 Apr Heraklion (HER) B738 (1) Jetairfly (1)
24 Apr Monastir (MIR)
Split (SPU)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 28 April 2015.

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