New airline routes launched (8 November 2016 – 14 November 2016)

Sichuan Airlines’ Zhengzhou to Vancouver

Sichuan Airlines gives Zhengzhou its first North American service

Representatives from Sichuan Airlines, local and federal government and Vancouver Airport Authority came together to celebrate the launch of the carrier’s new twice-weekly service to Zhengzhou on Friday 11 November. Zhengzhou was China’s 17th busiest airport in 2015 handling 17.3 million passengers. Vancouver handled 20.3 million passengers last year, making it Canada’s second busiest airport after Toronto Pearson.

  • Sichuan Airlines has launched the first ever non-stop service from Zhengzhou (CGO) in China to any destination in North America. The airport selected for this honour was Vancouver (YVR) in Canada. The new route will be flown twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) using the carrier’s 243-seat A330-200s. The first flight on the 9,136-kilometre route was operated on 11 November. Craig Richmond, President and CEO of Vancouver Airport Authority, said: “We thank our long-standing partner, Sichuan Airlines, for choosing to open up a new non-stop service to Zhengzhou from YVR. This is another first for us and we are pleased to be able to offer even more choice for Canadian travellers going to China.” Sichuan Airlines launched flights between Vancouver and China in 2012 with thrice-weekly service between Vancouver and Chengdu via Shenyang. This new service to Chengdu via Zhengzhou replaces the airline’s existing flight to Chengdu via Shenyang on Tuesdays and Fridays. The Sunday flights remain unchanged and will continue to fly through Shenyang. There are currently seven airlines operating non-stop between China and Canada; six Chinese carriers and Air Canada. The Canadian airline has the biggest share of seat capacity at 39% followed by China Eastern Airlines (21%), Air China (14%), China Southern Airlines (11%) and Hainan Airlines (10%). Sichuan Airlines now has just 3% of the market with Xiamen Airlines accounting for the remaining 2%.

Air China’s Chengdu to Sydney

Kerrie Mather, MD & CEO of Sydney Airport was on hand to help cut the cake created to celebrate the start of Air China’s non-stop flights between Sydney and Chengdu. The new thrice-weekly service complements the carrier’s existing services from Beijing and Shanghai.

  • Air China has added a new route between China and Australia. On 11 November the Star Alliance carrier began a thrice-weekly service between Chengdu (CTU) and Sydney (SYD), a city pairing not served by any other airline. The 8,711-kilometre sector will be flown by the carrier’s A330-200s. The first flight arrived in Sydney on 12 November. Kerrie Mather, MD & CEO of Sydney Airport, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this new service to Sydney Airport, which provides direct access from western China and furthers our position as the world’s leading long-haul airport for Chinese destinations. By the end of this month, Sydney Airport will have seven airlines flying to 13 Chinese cities. This service will bring 23,000 Chinese visitors and $89 million per year to the NSW visitor economy, and provides a key link to the business hub of western China. As one of the fastest developing cities in the world, Chengdu is also an appealing tourist destination, famous for its giant pandas.” Air China Sydney GM Jie Rui welcomed the new route, saying: “As the first Chinese airline to operate into Australia – and having flown between China and Australia for the last 32 years – Air China has seen first-hand the increasingly strong growth and development of services between our countries. With increasing demand from both the business and leisure market, Air China knows the introduction of the direct Sydney to Chengdu service will help support this demand. Chengdu is Air China’s second biggest hub. After our services to Frankfurt and Paris, this new route is Air China’s third intercontinental flight from Chengdu, and is also the first non-stop service between Chengdu and Sydney.” Air China already serves Sydney non-stop from Beijing and Shanghai Pudong. Combined with its services to Melbourne, the carrier has a 19% share of the China-Australia market as measured by weekly seat capacity, placing it third after China Southern Airlines (38%) and China Eastern Airlines (21%). Chinese carriers currently have a 95% share of capacity between the two countries. See how Sydney Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

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

Alaska Airlines links West Coast cities to New York and Hawaii

On 10 November Alaska Airlines inaugurated flights between Portland and New York Newark. The daily 3,093-kilometre sector will face direct competition from United Airlines’ daily service.

  • Alaska Airlines initiated two routes this week, starting on 10 November with a connection between Portland (PDX) and New York Newark (EWR). The daily 3,093-kilometre sector will be served on the airline’s 737-800 fleet according to OAG schedules. “We thank the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, for their efforts to increase competition in the New York metro area,” said John Kirby, Alaska Airlines’ VP Capacity Planning. “Since 2015, Alaska has launched 28 new routes from our West Coast hubs and focus cities. With our new expanded service to Newark, we continue to grow our West Coast footprint by offering our valued customers more non-stop flights to popular business and leisure destinations.” The Oregon-New Jersey city pair is already served by United Airlines’ daily service. On 12 November, the airline launched flights between Bellingham (BLI) in Washington State and Kona (KOA) in Hawaii. The 4,393-kilometre connection will be served by the airline weekly (Saturdays) on its 737-800s. No other carrier currently links the two airports. For Bellingham, this becomes its second connection to Hawaii from Alaska Airlines, with the carrier already operating a route to Kahului. The airline also links Bellingham to Seattle-Tacoma, Portland and Las Vegas.

Seen cutting the cake to mark the start of Condor’s new service from Munich to Barbados and Tobago on 12 November, along with hostesses from Sixt and a Condor stewardess were: Alvin Jemmot, Chairman Barbados Tourism Marketing; Wilken Bellmann, Head of Network Development Long-Haul, Condor; Thomas Kube, Head of Marketing/Merchandising, Munich Airport; and Regine Sixt, Honorary Consul General of Barbados in Germany. Passengers were given traditional South German sweet treats for their journey across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.

  • Condor has used the seven days to augment its network from Munich (MUC), commencing flights to Barbados (BGI) which operates via Tobago (TAB) – with the services becoming long-haul destinations #14 and #15 from its second largest base. Operated by the leisure carrier’s 259-seat 767-300 fleet, the flights will be flown weekly (Saturdays). While no other carrier operates this route, Condor’s sister airline Thomas Cook Airlines, also began a new route from Manchester to Tobago over the same weekend, with the German airline beginning its flights on 12 November, while the UK airline’s services started the following day.

Fly KISS gets second phase of start-up underway

One of the five new sectors started this week by Fly KISS, all of which were domestic, connected Lille with Brest. The airport in the French Flanders region will also be connected to Nice by the French regional airline start-up.

Fly KISS gets second phase of start-up underway

Located in the Auvergne region of France, Clermont-Ferrand was connected to Brest, Strasbourg and London Luton last week; this week French regional airline Fly KISS has linked the city to Lille and Nice. Neither route faces any direct competition.

The weather looks far more appealing on the Côte d’Azur, where Fly KISS started offering flights from Nice to Brest, Clermont-Ferrand and Lille from 8 November. All services are flown by the carrier’s 49-seat ERJ 145s.

  • Fly KISS commenced five more multiple-sector domestic routes on 8 November, following on from the six launched last week. The average city pair length of the new sectors was 837 kilometres, with the shortest being the Clermont-Ferrand (CFE) to Nice (NCE) service at 398 kilometres, and the longest being the 1,629-kilometre route between Lille (LIL) and Nice. Only one of the five routes will see the fledgling French regional airline encounter incumbent carriers, with 13 competing weekly frequencies on the Lille to Nice sector, split between HOP! (seven) and easyJet (six). The average weekly frequency of the new routes is 3.2. See how Brest and Nice airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
8 Nov Brest (BES) Nice (NCE) E145 (3)
Clermont-Ferrand (CFE) Lille (LIL)
Nice (NCE) E145 (4)
Lille (LIL) Brest (BES) E145 (3)
Nice (NCE) HOP! (7), easyJet (6)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 15 November 2016.

Celebrating the arrival out on the apron of Hainan Airlines’s inaugural flight from Xi’an to Melbourne are: Susan Su, Business Development Manager-China, Melbourne Airport; Gang Ma, Deputy Director International Division, Hainan Airlines; Changrong Wei, Safety Director, Hainan Airlines; Katie Cooper, Head of Aviation Operations, Melbourne Airport; Peng Zhao, Senior Manager of Xi’an base, Hainan Airlines; Nan Ren, GM Australia, Hainan Airlines; and Stephen Butler, Airport Manager. Hainan Airlines now operates four routes between Australia and China, linking both Changsha and Xi’an with both Melbourne and Sydney, with all routes operating twice-weekly.

  • Hainan Airlines has added Melbourne (MEL) to its growing international network with the launch of not one but two new routes. On 8 November the carrier began a twice-weekly service (Tuesdays and Fridays) on the 8,835-kilometre route from Xi’an (XIY). The following day it began a twice-weekly service (Wednesdays and Sundays) on the 8,024-kilometre route from Changsha (CSX). Neither route faces any direct competition. Both routes will be operated by the carrier’s A330-200s. Hainan Airlines already serves Sydney from both Changsha and Xi’an. Simon Gandy, Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation, said: “We are delighted to welcome Hainan Airlines to our family at Melbourne Airport. With sustained growth in the Chinese market, we’re thrilled to now have direct services from Victoria to nine cities in mainland China for all our travellers. Hainan Airlines becomes the seventh Chinese carrier to fly direct to our wonderful city. This is a great testament to just how attractive Victoria is as a destination for international travellers. As the third Chinese carrier to be announced in 2016, Hainan Airlines will also offer new opportunities for travel-loving Victorians to explore even more of what China has to offer, with direct flights to some of China’s most iconic destination cities.”

HK Express adds second route to Vietnam

HK Express Commercial Director Luke Lovegrove and guests pose for pictures before boarding the inaugural flight from Hong Kong to Nha Trang. The twice-weekly service is the airline’s second to Vietnam as it already serves Da Nang.

  • HK Express, which just celebrated its third anniversary, has added Nha Trang (CXR) to its network. On 9 November the LCC began twice-weekly flights (Wednesdays and Sundays) from Hong Kong (HKG) using its A320s. The 1,249-kilometre route is not served by any other carrier. Nha Trang becomes the carrier’s second route to Vietnam as it began flights to Da Nang on 1 April 2015. Luke Lovegrove, Commercial Director was on hand to meet and greet guests on the inaugural flight. According to Lovegrove: “We have been really impressed with the forward bookings to Nha Trang. We are expecting the route to be just as popular as our service to Da Nang and anticipate carrying over 30,000 passengers in the first year.” Located in the south-eastern coastal region of Vietnam, Nha Trang offers visitors idyllic beaches, beautiful mountains, scenic rice paddies and energetic nightlife, all within easy reach.

There were celebrations at both ends of the route as Hong Kong Airlines launched daily service between Hong Kong and Auckland in New Zealand. At over 9,000 kilometres the route is easily the longest so far flown by the airline with its A330-200s. Competition comes in the form of Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific Airways who both already serve the market with daily flights.

  • Hong Kong Airlines on 11 November became the third carrier to link Hong Kong (HKG) and Auckland (AKL) with non-stop flights. The 9,164-kilometre sector is already served by Air New Zealand and Cathay Pacific Airways with daily flights. Hong Kong Airlines will also operate the route on a daily basis using its 283-seat A330-200s. In his speech at the welcome ceremony, Mr. Li Dianchun, CCO of Hong Kong Airlines, said: “We are delighted with the successful launch of this much-anticipated new route in Auckland. So far, we have received an overwhelming response from travellers since tickets became available for purchase. As a result, we have already increased our service to 10 times weekly from 11 December to 13 February 2017. We also anticipate strong demand out of the New Zealand market to Hong Kong and connecting onto our network in Asia. We hope that the new route will further strengthen the cultural, tourism and business ties between these two countries.” This new route easily becomes the airline’s longest sector beating the 7,033-kilometre route to Gold Coast in Australia. The unaligned carrier now serves a total of 32 destinations non-stop from Hong Kong on its fleet of 23 A330s and 11 A320s. See how Auckland Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Interjet’s latest route to Las Vegas, this time from Mexico City, launched on 10 November. There were branded cupcakes and Las Vegas showgirls on hand to celebrate the new service which will operate daily using the carrier’s A320s, competing with Aeromexico and Volaris.

  • Interjet has expanded its US network with the introduction on 10 November of its third route to Las Vegas (LAS). The Mexican carrier has begun daily flights on the 2,425-kilometre route from Mexico City (MEX) using its A320s. Aeromexico with 20 weekly flights and Volaris with nine already link the two major cities. Interjet had previously launched flights to Las Vegas from Guadalajara (on 28 April 2016) and Monterrey (on 14 March 2013). The airline’s first ever service to Las Vegas from Toluca was launched in November 2012 but was suspended in May 2016. Interjet now has around 7% of the Mexico-US market as measured by seat capacity. This makes it the sixth biggest carrier in the market after American Airlines (21%), United Airlines (20%), Aeromexico (14%), Volaris (11%) and Delta Air Lines (8%). According to OAG data capacity between Mexico and the US has grown by 4% in the last 12 months. Interjet now serves eight US destinations non-stop from Mexico City with another new route, Chicago, starting on 17 November. See how Las Vegas Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

JetBlue Airways homes in on Holguin

Fort Lauderdale celebrated with a three-tiered cake the start of JetBlue Airways’ four times weekly service to Holguin on 10 November. From January the route will increase to a daily frequency. The airport pair is already served by Silver Airways, also with a four times weekly frequency.

Holguin welcomed its second US carrier on 10 November – JetBlue Airways. On arrival, Dave Clark, VP of Planning, JetBlue, presented Holguin Airport Director, Carlos Pérez Alfonso, with a model A320 in the airline’s livery. Holguin is the third destination in Cuba for the carrier from Fort Lauderdale.

  • JetBlue Airways on 10 November inaugurated its third route to Cuba from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – Holguin (HOG) – with the airline already serving Santa Clara and Camaguey from its Floridian hub. The 705-kilometre US-Cuba connection will be served four times weekly on its A320s, the same frequency as Silver Airways which already operates the sector. From January, JetBlue will increase the frequency on the city pair to a daily rotation. “Each time we launch a new Cuban destination we expand affordable, customer-friendly air service further between the US and Cuba,” said Robin Hayes, President and CEO of JetBlue. “These historic flight launches are great news for those traveling between these two countries.” See how Holguin Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Malindo Air starts third route to Thailand from Kuala Lumpur

Passengers on Malindo Air’s inaugural flight to Phuket from Kuala Lumpur were greeted at the airport by this banner. The four times weekly 737-800 service will face competition from AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines.

  • Malindo Air has made Phuket (HKT) its third destination in Thailand with the launch of a four times weekly service from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) on 10 November. The LCC already serves Bangkok Don Mueang (since 24 April 2014) and Chiang Mai (since 30 October 2016). The new 705-kilometre link is already flown by AirAsia (31 times weekly) and Malaysia Airlines (20 times weekly). Malindo Air will fly the new route on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with its two-class 737-800s featuring 12 business class seats and 150 economy class seats. CEO of Malindo Air, Chandran Rama Muthy, said: “Malindo Air has seen significant growth by expanding our regional footprint rapidly to provide more opportunities for business and leisure travellers alike. The services we provide will foster the development of tourism industry for both Malaysia and Thailand, as we are able to provide connectivity from Thailand not just to Malaysia but beyond, to Indonesia, Australia and India which are also within our network of services.” He added: “Phuket has got some of the best restaurants in Thailand, unforgettable sunsets, glorious beaches, fantastic luxury resorts, world-class live performances, unique eco-tours and some of the best diving sites in the world. Within each of these categories, there are also a great many choices. Travellers wishing to explore the beauty of Phuket, a renowned holiday destination in Thailand, are sure to enjoy premium services when traveling with Malindo Air.” Malindo Air now serves 30 destinations non-stop from Kuala Lumpur’s main airport. Between Malaysia and Thailand the carrier has an estimated 10% of the market (based on seat capacity), behind AirAsia (42%), Malaysia Airlines (20%) and Thai AirAsia (14%) and just ahead of Thai Airways (9%).

Ryanair bounces into Bucharest from Bristol

There is no doubt that this is the first flight to Bucharest from Bristol operated by Ryanair, given all the Romanian flags on the cake. Holding the culinary creation is Peter Downes, Bristol Airport’s Head of Aviation and Razvan Constantinescu, the Honorary Consul of Romania in Bristol. The first flight passengers enjoyed complimentary cakes decorated with Romanian flags at check-in.

  • Ryanair flights operating between Bucharest (OTP) and Bristol (BRS) began on 9 November – the first ever scheduled service between the UK’s South West and Romania. Flying on weekly (Wednesdays) basis, the 2,255-kilometre sector is operated by Europe’s biggest airline’s ubiquitous 737-800 fleet. This is the second connection from the UK to the Romanian capital city operated the ULCC, as it also flies double-daily from London Stansted. Commenting on the launch Peter Downes, Bristol Airport’s Head of Aviation, said: “Today is a special day as we celebrate the inaugural flight to Bucharest from Bristol Airport. This is the first ever scheduled service to Romania from the South West & Wales region, reflecting our continued growth at Bristol and our mission to offer greater travel possibilities to our passengers. This latest launch brings the number of European capital cities we now serve to 16, further opening up the region for inbound tourism opportunities. The route is already proving extremely popular with customers, with plans in place to double frequency to twice-weekly from April 2017 as part of Ryanair’s biggest ever summer schedule from Bristol Airport.”

Southwest Airlines inaugurated flights to Cuba on 13 November in the form of a twice-daily service between Fort Lauderdale and Varadero. Southwest becomes the third carrier to enter the US-Cuba market since traffic rights between the two nations were lifted earlier this year after 50+ years.  

  • Southwest Airlines became the third airline to enter the US-Cuba market on 13 November when it inaugurated flights between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Varadero (VRA). The 360-kilometre airport pairing will be flown by the LCC twice-daily on its 737-700s. “Our employees have worked hard to open this route and a new chapter for people who want to connect with Cuban ways that matter most to them,” said Steve Goldberg, Southwest Airlines’ VP of Ground Operations who is also Southwest’s Executive Ambassador to Florida. Goldberg also announced that Southwest intends to begin a daily service between Fort Lauderdale and Santa Clara on 15 December, subject to requisite approvals of the Cuban government. “By the end of this year, we’ll offer six daily rotations between two Florida gateways and three Cuban cities, while work continues to open a new, five-gate international concourse here in Fort Lauderdale next summer.” The other two routes that Goldberg is referencing to, adding to the one launched on 13 November, are connections from Fort Lauderdale and Tampa to Havana, with both penciled into the calendar for a 12 December launch. Southwest joins JetBlue Airways and Silver Airways in connecting the two countries, with neither of them currently linking Fort Lauderdale to Varadero. As of 15 November, Fort Lauderdale is connected to eight Cuban airports with 51 weekly flights. See how Fort Lauderdale and Varadero airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world.

Tampa did not just have one, but two cakes to celebrate Spirit Airlines’ new routes to Akron-Canton and Baltimore/Washington. Posing with the cake to celebrate the start of flights to Akron-Canton, a new destination for the airline, are: Kenneth Strickland, Director of Air Service and Development, Tampa Airport; Kari Goetz, Director of Marketing, Tampa Airport; and Edward Garduno, GM Spirit Airlines. On hand to promote the cake commissioned for the airline’s new Baltimore/Washington route are the Floridian airport’s: Chris Minner, VP of Marketing; Joe Lopano, CEO; and John Tiliacos, VP of Operations. Tampa also held a prize wheel competition at the gate for the first passengers to spin and answer trivia questions about the new destinations in order to win special giveaways.

Akron-Canton Airport welcomed the arrival of its newest carrier on 10 November – Spirit Airlines. The airline will link the Ohio city to Orlando, Southwest Florida, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, while a further two routes to Myrtle Beach and Las Vegas will be added for S17. To celebrate, Akron-Canton held a beach-themed party to herald the new links to Florida.

  • Spirit Airlines commenced eight new US domestic routes between 10 and 11 November, all of which link to the state of Florida. The sectors also bring a new airport to Spirit Airlines’ route map – Akron-Canton (CAK). The Ohio airport will be linked by the ULCC to Orlando (MCO), Southwest Florida (RSW), Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Tampa (TPA). Of the carrier’s new routes, six will face direct competition. The average frequency of the new sectors is 6.1, while the average sector length is 1,555 kilometres. See how Akron-Canton Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
10 Nov Baltimore/Washington (BWI) Tampa (TPA) A319 (7) Southwest Airlines (54)
Boston (BOS) Orlando (MCO) A320 (7) JetBlue Airways (56),
Delta Air Lines (11)
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) Akron-Canton (CAK) Allegiant Air (2)
Kansas City (MCI) Orlando (MCO) Southwest Airlines (15),
Frontier Airlines (3)
Orlando (MCO) Akron-Canton (CAK) Southwest Airlines (1)
Southwest Florida (RSW) A320 (4)
Tampa (TPA) A320 (3)
11 Nov Baltimore/Washington (BWI) Southwest Florida (RSW) A319 (7) Southwest Airlines (35)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 15 November 2016. WF = weekly frequency.

Thomas Cook Airlines is tempted by Tobago sector

Thomas Cook Airlines’ inaugural flight from Manchester to Tobago started on 13 November, marked by this beach-inspired cake, with departures every Sunday running until 19 March 2017.

  • Thomas Cook Airlines’ inaugural Tobago (TAB) flight started on 13 November, reinforcing its 17-route-strong long-haul portfolio, which already makes it the largest carrier to the US from Manchester (MAN). The weekly departure will run every Sunday until 19 March 2017, and is flown by the leisure carrier’s 314-seat A330-200 fleet. Stephen Turner, Commercial Director at Manchester Airport, said: “It’s great to see Thomas Cook Airlines starting another long-haul route from Manchester. We’re confident it will prove hugely popular with the 22 million people in our catchment area.” While no other carrier operates this route, Thomas Cook’s sister airline Condor, also started a new route from Munich to Tobago (and Barbados) over the same weekend.

US-Bangla Airlines offers up Oman services-2

  • US-Bangla Airlines has grown its network with the introduction on 11 November of services linking both Chittagong (CGP) and Dhaka (DAC) with Muscat (MCT). Both routes will be flown by the carrier’s 737-800s. The 3,261-kilometre route from Dhaka will be operated twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and face competition from Oman Air (daily flights) and Biman Bangladesh Airlines (twice-weekly). The 3,428-kilometre route from Chittagong will be operated non-stop twice-weekly, plus twice-weekly via Dhaka. On this route competition comes from Oman Air and Regent Air (both with daily flights) and Biman Bangladesh Airlines (five weekly). The MD of US-Bangla Airlines, Mohammad Abdullah Al Mamun, said: “We are delighted to extend our operations to our second international destination, the Sultanate of Oman. We are certain that our services connecting Bangladesh to Oman will be successful. The entire team of US-Bangla Airlines would like to express gratitude to all its patrons as well as the government institutions in Oman, Royal Oman Police, the management and team of OAMC, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Oman, the Bangladesh Social Club community and members, our GSA Travel Point LLC and all other travel agencies in Oman as well as the media for being extremely supportive in making the Oman leg of US-Bangla Airlines operations a success story.” US-Bangla Airlines has been operating domestically since 2014 with three Q400s and launched its first international service to Kathmandu earlier this year. Flights to Kolkata, the airline’s third international destination, are scheduled to start on 1 December.


  1. FRANCK says:

    You are missing new route CHALAIR (CE) from Bordeaux (BOD) to Nantes (NANTES) 9 times a week with aircraft BE99 from November 14th.

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