New airline routes launched (6 October – 12 October 2015)

Ellinair’s Thessaloniki to Izmir

Izmir Airport celebrated the launch of services to Thessaloniki on 6 October with a traditional cake cutting ceremony. Watching over the intense cutting of calorific goodness are: Father Kyrillos Sykis, İzmir Greek Church; Ekrem Demirtaş, Head of İzmir Chamber of Commerce; Dimitrios Bakatselos, Head of Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Vula Patulidu, Regional VP Responsible for Tourism in Northern Greece; Giannis Mouzenidis Ellinair President; Yannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki; Aziz Kocaoğlu, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor; and F. Erkan Balcı, TAV Ege GM.

  • Ellinair commenced operations between Thessaloniki (SKG) and Izmir (ADB) on 6 October. The 436-kilometre sector will operate twice-weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and will face no direct competition from any incumbent carriers. Services will be flown by the airline’s RJ85s. F. Erkan Balcı, TAV Ege GM, commented at the route launch by saying: “We are glad to see Ellinair connect Izmir to Thessaloniki. We at the airport believe the deep-routed history, and continuously progressing relationship between Turkey and Greece, particularly in recent years, will further improve within the tourism sector.” Izmir becomes route number #32 for Ellinair from Thessaloniki, including scheduled and charter destinations.

Sun Country Airlines Southwest Florida to Cancún

Passengers at Southwest Florida Airport were greeted at the gate by this excellent cake creation. Pictured with the cake are: Mike Kruse, Market Development Manager, Sun Country Airlines; Mark Meuwissen, Director of Product Development, Sun Country Airlines; Carol Obermeier, Director of Air Service Development, Lee County Port Authority; Kati Pechacek, Associate Market Development Manager, Sun Country Airlines; and Brian Solis, Manager of Air Service Development, Lee County Port Authority. Flights on the 801-kilometre sector will operate twice-weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays according to OAG Schedules Analyser data.

  • Sun Country Airlines commenced services between Southwest Florida (RSW) and Cancún (CUN) on 9 October. The 801-kilometre sector will operate twice-weekly on Tuesday and Fridays, and will be flown year-round. Passengers on the inaugural flight enjoyed a special cake decorated with suitcases, RSW and CUN bag tags and colourful flowers and blanket, along with the Sun Country Airlines logo. Cancún becomes the third route for Sun Country Airlines from the Floridian Airport, joining current services to Minneapolis-St. Paul and San Juan. All routes are operated by the carrier’s 737-800s.

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

Before boarding the inaugural flight to San Jose del Cabo, passengers enjoyed a selection of calorific goodness before boarding. Flights on the 1,413-kilometre route will operate four times weekly, while services to Puerto Vallarta will be flown thrice-weekly. Both services compete directly with Southwest Airlines.

  • Alaska Airlines commenced operations between Orange County (SNA) and San Jose del Cabo (SJD) on 8 October, while services from the Californian airport to Puerto Vallarta (PVR) commenced the following day. The 1,413 and 1,904-kilometre sectors to Mexico will operate four times weekly and thrice-weekly respectively. Todd Spitzer, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors to Orange County Airport, commented about the launches by saying: “It’s exciting to see the addition of Alaska Airlines’ international service at Orange County Airport. Passengers now have more options than ever to fly between Orange County and Mexico.” John Kirby, VP of Capacity Planning, Alaska Airlines, added a further comment of the launch. “We’re thrilled to enhance our Orange County, California service to the sun and sand of Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta with new non-stop flights. Alaska Airlines continues to grow its presence in the LA Basin and to offer service where our customers desire it most.” Both services are currently scheduled to operate year-round. Alaska Airlines will face direct competition on both services from Southwest Airlines, which operates a daily service on the two routes according to OAG Schedules Analyser data. See how Southwest Florida Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Pulling onto stand at a rather grey and overcast Rochester Airport is the inaugural flight from Fort Lauderdale on 9 October as passengers waited to check-in. The 1,907-kilometre sector between Florida and New York State will operate twice-weekly on Mondays and Fridays. Although the first flight was operated with one of Allegiant Air’s A320s, flights are scheduled to be operated using its 166-seater MD80s according to OAG.

  • Allegiant Air commenced services between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Rochester (ROC) on 9 October. The 1,907-kilometre sector will operate twice-weekly on Mondays and Fridays, while also not facing direct competition from any incumbent carriers. Although the first flight was operated by one of the carrier’s A320s, OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that the route will normally be flown by Allegiant’s MD80s, the most common aircraft in its fleet. While this is the airline’s first service to Rochester, it is Allegiant’s 14th route from Fort Lauderdale. From 13 November, the carrier will introduce its second route from Rochester to Orlando Sanford, also in Florida. Mike Giardino, Director of Aviation at Rochester Airport, commented about the links to Florida by saying: “”We are primarily a business airport, but for leisure, leisure is big, and we all know, we don’t like the nasty weather in the winter, so to have a Florida destination is huge for us.” The latest route launch by Allegiant follows on from the four sectors it introduced last week to its rapidly expanding network. See how Rochester Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Bangkok Airways’ new service from Phuket is welcomed on the apron at Hat Yai Airport on 11 October, when the airline began daily flights with its 70-seat ATR 72s. There was also a colourful inauguration ceremony in Phuket before the first flight took place.

  • Bangkok Airways on 11 October began daily flights on the 264-kilometre route between Phuket (HKT) and Hat Yai (HDY). The airline will use its 70-seat ATR 72-500s and -600s on the route, which is not served by any other carrier. This becomes the airline’s fifth route from Phuket and first to Hay Yai. Mr. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, President of Bangkok Airways said, “Bangkok Airways foresees the potential of Phuket and Hat Yai as prominent destinations of leisure and business. Phuket is recognized as one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions where millions of travellers from all over the world have visited. Hat Yai is a major commercial city of Southern Thailand and a gateway to Malaysia and Singapore. This new service between Phuket and Hat Yai will certainly enhance the growth of tourism and economy due to the convenience and ease of travel.”

  • Condor, the German leisure airline, has added to its Canaries flying programme this week, with the start of services from Hannover (HAJ) to La Palma (SPC), as well as Manchester (MAN) to Tenerife South (TFS). While the former route began on 7 October and is operated by the airline’s 180-seat A320s, the latter commenced on 11 October and is flown by its 275-seat 757-300s. The weekly (Wednesdays) 3,476-kilometre sector to La Palma will not face any direct competition. However, the same can not be said of the other weekly (Sundays) new sector. There are 33 competing weekly frequencies between Manchester and Tenerife South, shared between Monarch Airlines (seven) Ryanair (seven), Thomson Airways (seven), (six), easyJet (five) and Thomas Cook Airlines (two). So that’s a total of seven airlines competing on the same airport pair.

  • easyJet has resumed flights from its Milan Malpensa (MXP) hub, its second biggest operation in terms of weekly seats after London Gatwick, to Sharm El Sheikh (SSH) in Egypt, beginning twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) flights on 10 October. The 180-seat, A320-operated service joins its existing routes to North Africa from the Italian airport, namely its flights to Casablanca and Marrakech in Morocco. The 2,987-kilometre sector, which was previously served by easyJet between March 2013 and June 2014, will be its 40th route from Malpensa, and will face limited competition, with Meridiana (twice-weekly) and Neos Air (weekly) being the current incumbents.

  • flydubai, having started services just last week to Novosibirsk, has added Nizhny Novgorod (GOJ) to its Russian route roll call this week from its base in Dubai (DXB). As a result, the carrier now operates to 10 destinations in Russia, having first entered the market in 2010 with the launch of flights to Samara and Yekaterinburg. Commenting on the inaugurals, Ghaith Al Ghaith, flydubai CEO said: “Since the start of our flights to Russia five years ago, we have seen strong demand for affordable, reliable and direct services to Dubai. We are committed to growing our network in the market and the new flights to Nizhny Novgorod and Novosibirsk will provide passengers from the UAE and Russia with an accessible means to explore both countries.” The twice-weekly service (Wednesdays and Saturdays), flown by the LCC’s 174-seat 737-800s and commenced on 7 October, will encounter no direct competition. flydubai has announced 18 new destinations since the start of 2015.

Porter Airlines President and CEO, Robert Deluce (front), arrives on the inaugural flight from Toronto City at North Bay Airport. The 303-Kilometre sector will operate daily and be flown by the airline’s Q400s.

  • Porter Airlines started operations from North Bay (YYB) in Ontario on 7 October, with connections from Timmins (YTS) and Toronto City (YTZ). Both 286 and 303-kilometre sectors will fly with a daily rotation, and be flown using the airline’s Q400s. Commenting on the launch, Robert Deluce, President and CEO of Porter Airlines, said: “Porter recognises how vital air travel is for cities like North Bay, so we are happy to be re-establishing competitive regional flights for the area. In addition to an important connection with downtown Toronto, the North Bay-Timmins route is the first direct flight among our Northern Ontario markets.” Although services to Toronto City will not face any direct competition, Air Canada, via their Express subsidiary, operates services to Toronto Pearson. Services to Timmins will also not face any direct competition. However, Bearskin Airlines does offer a six times weekly one-stop service via Sudbury according to the airline’s booking engine.

shaheen air

  • Shaheen Air International has extended its route network with the launch of a new weekly service between Karachi (KHI) in Pakistan and Mashhad (MHD) in Iran. The first flight departed late on Wednesday 7 October arriving in Mashhad at 00:45. The return flight, on Thursday morning, departs Mashhad at 01:45 and gets back to Karachi at 05:00. The service will be operated by the airline’s 737-400s and faces competition from Iran Air, who also operate a weekly service. The airline already serves Mashhad with a weekly flight from Lahore. Shaheen Air operates a fleet of 21 aircraft according to, comprising 10 737-400s, eight A320s and three A330s. According to OAG Schedules Analyser data for October, Shaheen Air has around 20% of the domestic market in Pakistan (based on seat capacity), behind Pakistan International Airlines (51%), but ahead of Air Indus (17%) and airblue (12%). On international services from Pakistan, Shaheen Air is the sixth biggest carrier with around 7% of the market. PIA with 20% and Emirates with 16% are the only carriers with more than 10% of international seat capacity to and from Pakistan.

  • SunExpress Germany has started its 12th route from Düsseldorf (DUS) on 12 October, with the addition of weekly (Mondays) operations to Marrakech (RAK) in Morocco. Flown by the airline’s 189-seat 737-800 fleet, the 2,499-kilometre route will be up against a competitor offering the same weekly frequency – airberlin. Morocco joins the other country markets of Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Spain and Turkey offered by the airline from the German airport.

Košice Airport celebrated services to Bristol by baking up a very sleek and elegant cake. Pictured with the culinary creation are: Istvan Zacharias, VP of Košice region; Renata Lenartova, Vice Mayor of Košice; Richard Rasi, Mayor of Košice; and Michael Tmej, Košice Airport CEO. Services on the 1,728-kilometre sector will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The first flight carried 151 passengers resulting in a load factor of 84%.

  • Wizz Air commenced services between Košice (KSC) and Bristol (BRS) on 10 October. The 1,728-kilometre sector will operate twice-weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and be flown using the airline’s A320s. Tamara Mshvenieradze, Corporate Communications Manager, Wizz Air, commented about the launch by saying: “Today marks a great day for us at Wizz Air as we launch a third UK route from Košice. We hope that our newest service will be popular among our Slovakian consumers who now have direct access to Southwest England while also attracting more visitors to Slovakia’s second largest city.” The inaugural flight had a total of 151 passengers on-board, representing a load factor of 84%. Bristol joins current UK services to Doncaster Sheffield and London Luton from Košice, while Wizz Air also connects Slovakia’s second city with Milan/Bergamo. None of the carrier’s four routes from Košice face direct competition. See how Košice Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

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