New airline routes launched (13 September 2016 – 19 September 2016)


Nordica’s Copenhagen to Groningen

Nordica links Groningen to the world via Copenhagen

Groningen celebrated with a cake cutting ceremony the start of Nordica’s first flight to Copenhagen, the Netherlands airport’s only hub connection. The Dutch Ambassador to Denmark, Henk Swarttouw, officially declared the route open by cutting the cake. Flights, which launched on 19 September, will operate 11 times weekly.

  • Nordica, the Estonian airline which was founded in September last year by the nation’s government after the demise of Estonian Air, launched an international route that does not originate from its home market on 19 September. On that day it commenced an 11 times weekly service between Copenhagen (CPH) and Groningen (GRQ). The short 480-kilometre link, which is the latter airport’s sole hub connection, will be flown on ERJ 145s operated by Adria Airways. The link faces no direct competition. According to OAG schedules, the only other international route that Nordica serves that does not originate in Estonia is also from Copenhagen, a connection to Örebro in Sweden. See how Groningen Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Air India Express’ Chandigarh to Sharjah

On 15 September Air India Express launched a thrice-weekly service from Chandigarh to Sharjah. This 2,167-kilometre link was the Indian airport’s first international service. A cake was produced (somewhat hurriedly?) to mark the occasion.

  • Air India Express over the course of two days launched three new routes to Sharjah (SHJ) in the UAE. On 14 September the LCC began daily flights from both Tiruchirappalli (TRZ) and Varanasi (VNS) using its 737-800s. Neither route is served by any other carrier. The following day it was the turn of Chandigarh (IXC) to receive a thrice-weekly connection to the UAE airport. This was more significant as it became the first international service from the Indian airport. According to OAG Schedules Analyser data Air India Express now has a 12% share of seats in the India-UAE market, ranking it fourth. Leading the way with 28% is Emirates, followed by Etihad Airways (17%) and Jet Airways (14%). A total of nine airlines connect the two countries with non-stop flights. The other five carriers are Air Arabia (9%), IndiGo (7%), SpiceJet (6%), Air India (5%) and flydubai (2%).

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


On 15 September Air Algérie commenced flights between Algiers and Budapest, with the Hungarian capital airport welcoming the arrival of its latest carrier with traditional ribbon and cake cutting ceremonies. Seen cutting the cake in Budapest Airport’s Terminal 1 are: Mohamed Abdou Bouderbala, CEO of Air Algérie; Abdelkader Dehendi, Ambassador of Algeria; Boudjema Talai, Minister of Transport for Algeria; Péter Szijjártó Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport. The 1,777-kilometre link from North Africa will be flown by the airline twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) facing no direct competition. 

  • Air Algérie commenced flights from Algiers (ALG) to Budapest (BUD) on 15 September. The 1,777-kilometre sector, which will be flown on the airline’s 737-600s according to OAG schedules, will be operated by the carrier twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) facing no direct competition. Jost Lammers, CEO of Budapest Airport, said of the carrier’s arrival: “It’s always a great pleasure to welcome a new airline partner, especially one which adds such an attractive destination to our route network. Air Algérie’s service further enhances our links to North Africa, and the carrier re-joins us during another year which see us continuing to outperform most European markets.” As stated by Lammers, this link further enhances the airport’s ties to North Africa. Budapest is already connected to Cairo and Hurghada in Egypt, while Tunisair links the Hungarian capital to Monastir. For the airline, Budapest becomes its #32 route to Europe from Algiers. See how Budapest Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

easyJet adds two more routes to Luton base

Check-in has opened for easyJet’s new service from Toulouse to London Luton, a daily service which started on 19 September.

  • easyJet has added operations to destinations #51 and #52 this week from London Luton (LTN), the LCC’s fourth largest base in terms of weekly seats. Both services began on 19 September and both are flown by the carrier’s A320-family equipment. The 2,773-kilometre route to Lanzarote (ACE) will be flown twice-weekly, and will face direct competition from Ryanair (thrice-weekly), Monarch Airlines and Thomson Airways (both twice-weekly). Conversely the 924-kilometre sector to Toulouse (TLS) will be flown daily, and will encounter no direct competition. easyJet now offers flights to over 20 destinations from the French airport which became the LCC’s 22nd base in March 2012.

To celebrate the launch of Hong Kong Airlines’ new twice-weekly service to Yonago on 14 September all passengers were given a souvenir certificate. The route is the airline’s eighth to Japan helping to make it the third biggest carrier in the Hong Kong to Japan market.

  • Hong Kong Airlines has further expanded its network in Japan with the introduction on 14 September of twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) flights from Hong Kong (HKG) to Yonago (YGJ). The 2,375-kilometre route will be flown by the airline’s A320s and faces no direct competition. This becomes the carrier’s eighth destination in Japan which it now serves with 58 weekly flights. In his speech at the inaugural ceremony, Stanley Kan, Director of Hong Kong Airlines’ Service Delivery Department, said: “The beautiful natural landscape, local cuisine and cultural scene of Tottori Prefecture is very appealing to tourists from Hong Kong and broader regions. With Hong Kong Airlines, passengers can choose to travel around Osaka, Okayama and Yonago, providing more options in their trip planning.” Hong Kong Airlines is the third biggest carrier in the Hong Kong to Japan market with 17% of seats. It lags behind Cathay Pacific Airways (35%) and HK Express (18%) but is ahead of All Nippon Airways (9%) and Dragonair (5%). Curiously, Japanese carriers only account for 22% of seat capacity in the market.

NextJet launched flights to Helsinki on 15 September from Stockholm Vasteras, it first route from both airports. Seen welcoming the first flight into the Finnish capital is Mikko Komi, Key Account and Business Development Manager, Finavia, who greeted on their arrival: Sara Lindén, NextJet Co-Pilot; Ivo Hävselmann, NextJet Captain; Evelina Ottersgård, NextJet Flight Attendant; and Anders Gärdström, MD of Stockholm Västerås Airport. The regional carrier will link the two airports with 18 weekly flights.

  • NextJet, the Swedish regional airline, commenced flights between Stockholm Vasteras (VST) and Helsinki (HEL) on 15 September, its first route from both airports. The 468-kilometre sector, which will be flown on the airline’s Saab 340 fleet, faces no direct competition according to OAG schedules. Nonetheless, it should be noted that heavy indirect competition operates on the city pair, with Finnair (72 weekly flights), SAS (46) and Norwegian (25) all flying between Stockholm Arlanda and the Finnish capital. The route between Vasteras and Helsinki is flown in cooperation with Finnair and Mälardalen’s Chamber of Commerce.

Saratov Airlines resumes St. Petersburg services

After a seven-year hiatus, Saratov Airlines returned to St. Petersburg with thrice-weekly E190 services to Saratov and Volgograd. The flights will route Saratov – St.Petersburg – Volograd – St.Petersburg – Saratov.

  • Saratov Airlines returned to St. Petersburg (LED) after a seven-year break on 14 September. The carrier will operate a thrice-weekly service on two routes, to Saratov (RTW) and Volgograd (VOG), using its 114-seat E190s. The airline’s fleet includes two E190s and eight Yak-42s. The flights will route RTW-LED-VOG-LED-RTW. Prior to Saratov Airlines, flights from St. Petersburg to Saratov were performed by Komiaviatrans, while the Volgograd route had been unserved since February 2016. St. Petersburg served 13.5m passengers in 2015, ranking it fourth in Russia.

Vilnius airport celebrated the start of Ukraine International Airlines’ third route to the airport with a ribbon cutting ceremony and cupcakes. The 544-kilometre sector from Lviv will be flown twice-weekly.

In Lviv traditional ribbon and cake cutting ceremonies were performed to hail the start of Ukraine International Airlines’ new route to Vilnius. The city pair, launched on 17 September, will operate twice-weekly until 12 October when a third-weekly flight will be added to the airline’s schedule.

  • Ukraine International Airlines launched its third route to Vilnius (VNO) on 17 September, a 544-kilometre sector from Lviv (LWO). The city pair, which will operate twice-weekly (Fridays and Sundays) according to OAG schedules, will be flown on the carrier’s 737-500 fleet. It should be noted that from 12 October the airline will add a third-weekly (Wednesday) flight between the two cites to its schedule. The airline already serves the Lithuanian capital from Kiev Boryspil and Odessa, with the latter only being summer-seasonal. This winter the airline will offer 15 weekly flights to Vilnius, with the route to the Ukrainian capital operating twice-daily (once-daily on Fridays and Sundays). See how Lviv Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

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