New airline routes launched (15 November 2016 – 21 November 2016)

Aeroflot’s Moscow Sheremetyevo to London Gatwick

Aeroflot's inaugural flight crew pose at London Gatwick following their flight from Moscow Sheremetyevo. The daily service began on 15 November.

Aeroflot’s inaugural crew pose at London Gatwick following their flight from Moscow Sheremetyevo. The daily service began on 15 November.

  • Aeroflot began a daily service to London Gatwick (LGW) from Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) on 15 November, complementing the airline’s existing 25 times weekly operation into London Heathrow. The new route fills the void left by easyJet, which had operated the city pair until March this year, but to Moscow Domodedovo. The 2,506-kilometre sector is flown by the SkyTeam carrier’s A320 fleet, and faces no direct competition. British Airways also flies between the UK and Russian capital city with a 20 times weekly operation from Heathrow to Domodedovo.

Cebu Pacific Air’s Cebu to Calbayog, Ormoc and Roxas.

Celebrating the launch of three new domestic routes from Cebu on 19 November, with a cake cutting ceremony, are: Hembler Mendoza, Lapu lapu City Tourism Officer; Andrew Acquaah Harrison, Chief Executive Advisor, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation; Xander Lao, President/CEO, Cebgo; Daniel Mercado, Philippine Department of Tourism; and Paul Nigel Villarete, General Manager, Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority. The routes will all be operated by Cebu Pacific Air’s fully-owned subsidiary Cebgo, formerly known as Tigerair Philippines.

  • Cebu Pacific Air has launched three new routes from Cebu (CEB). On 19 November, Cebgo, the fully-owned subsidiary of Cebu Pacific Air (and formerly known as Tigerair Philippines) began operating the routes on behalf of its parent company. Cebgo, which is now a pure turboprop operator, began daily ATR 72-500 flights to Ormoc (OMC) and Roxas (RXS) and a four times weekly service to Calbayog (CYP). None of these routes are currently served by any other carrier. At just 105 kilometres in length, the route to Ormoc is the shortest of the three, while the 204-kilometre route to Calbayog is the longest. According to OAG Schedules Analyser data Cebu is now connected to 26 other airports in the Philippines with non-stop flights, as well as 12 international destinations, including Los Angeles.

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

Cutting the ribbon to celebrate the resumption of flights between Austin-Bergstrom and Mexico City were: Andrew Cantu, Austin Chamber of Commerce; Lordes Zahos, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau; Mario Flores, Greater Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Anko Van der Werff, Chief Revenue Officer, Aeromexico; Mayor Steve Alder, City of Austin; and Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in Austin. (Photo by Sandy L. Stevens, City of Austin Department of Aviation.)

  • Aeromexico has added another US destination to its network. On 17 November the SkyTeam carrier began a four times weekly service from Mexico City (MEX) to Austin-Bergstrom (AUS) in Texas. The 1,202-kilometre route will be operated by the airline’s E170s and faces no competition. Between December 2006 and June 2008 Aeromexico operated the route with a mix of ERJs, 737s and MD-87s according to OAG data. The route was also previously operated by Aeromar between October 2013 and January 2015. Mexico City becomes the third destination in Mexico to be served non-stop from Austin-Bergstrom as Southwest Airlines operates daily flights to Cancún and Volaris flies thee times weekly to Guadalajara, a route that launched on 8 August. Aeromexico’s US network from Mexico City now comprises 14 destinations in total, including three other airports in Texas, namely Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston Intercontinental and San Antonio.


Montreal celebrated the start of Air Canada Rouge’s new route to Puerto Vallarta on 18 November with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Initially launched with a weekly frequency, the route will be flown three times weekly by mid-December.

  • Air Canada Rouge on 18 November launched flights between Montreal (YUL) and Puerto Vallarta (PVR). The 3,978-kilometre airport pairing will initially be flown by the airline weekly (Fridays) until 16 December, when a second weekly (Wednesdays) flight will be added. Finally a third weekly service will commence on 26 December (Mondays). The link is already served by Air Transat which offers a weekly (Thursdays) service on its 210-seat A310s, with it also adding a second-weekly (Mondays) 737-800 rotation from mid-December. Sunwing Country Airlines will also commence its seasonal weekly (Saturdays) operation on the route from mid-December according to OAG schedules, with it utilising its 189-seat 737-800s on the Canada-Mexico city pairing. Rouge will operate the route on its 282-seat 767-300s.

Air Carnival takes off for Tirupati

On 17 November Air Carnival began a four times weekly service between Coimbatore and Tirupati. The Indian domestic route will be flown by the airline’s sole ATR 72-500. The airline launched in July 2016 and now operates a total of four routes.

  • Air Carnival, an Indian regional carrier which began operations back in July, has launched a new route. From 17 November the airline has been operating four times weekly on the 399-kilometre link between Coimbatore (CJB) and Tirupati (TIR). No other carrier currently connects these two Indian airports. Air Carnival, which uses the IATA code 2S, operates just a single ATR 72-500. This is the airline’s fourth route as it already connects Coimbatore and Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai, as well as Chennai and Madurai. In 2015 Coimbatore handled 1.63 million passengers while Tirupati processed just over 330,000 passengers. According to Indian government statistics Air Carnival’s load factor in both August and September was around 65%.

Air India Express adds two new Kolkata connections

  • Air India Express on 20 November initiated two new international routes from Kolkata (CCU). These are the LCC’s first routes from the airport. First up it began four times weekly flights on the 238-kilometre route to Dhaka (DAC) in Bangladesh. This is Air India Express’ first route to Dhaka and will face competition from Biman Bangladesh  Airlines (12 weekly flights), as well as Air India, Jet Airways and Regent Airways which all operate a daily service. The second route is the 2,902-kilometre route to Singapore (SIN) which is already flown by SilkAir (four times weekly), Druk Air (three) and Singapore Airlines (three). Air India Express already serves Singapore from Chennai and Tiruchirappalli. The LCC’s fleet currently stands at 23 189-seat 737-800s of which six have been delivered since the beginning of the year.

AirAsia starts second KL route to Laos

Celebrating the launch of AirAsia’s new service between Kuala Lumpur and Luang Prabang in Laos are: H.E. Dato’ Than Tai Hing, Ambassador of Malaysia to Lao PDR; Ms Aireen Omar, CEO of AirAsia Berhad; and H.E. Dr. Bouakhong Namavong, Vice Governor of Luang Prabang Province. AirAsia already serves Vientiane in Laos from Kuala Lumpur while Thai AirAsia served both Luang Prabang and Vientiane from Bangkok.

  • AirAsia on 21 November expanded its network from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) with a second destination in Laos. Luang Prabang (LPQ) is now served four times weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) using the LCC’s A320s. No other carrier operates on the 1,905-kilometre route. AirAsia has been serving Laos since December 2007 when it began flights to Vientiane. Commenting on the brand new intra-Asean connectivity, Aireen Omar, CEO of AirAsia Berhad, said: “We are very happy to be the first and only airline to connect Luang Prabang to Kuala Lumpur directly. We are also pleased to be the airline that connects the people of Laos to two of the main cities in Asean; Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, which are both major AirAsia hubs. From there, Laotians are able to connect to over 120 AirAsia destinations throughout 27 countries.” This winter AirAsia’s network from Kuala Lumpur will comprise a total of 67 routes, comprising 14 domestic and 53 international destinations. See how Luang Prabang Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Alaska Airlines Newark San Diego

On 21 November Alaska Airlines commenced a daily service between San Diego and New York Newark. Seen celebrating the start of services on the city pair, which is already flown by United Airlines, is the inaugural crew.

  • Alaska Airlines launched its third US East Coast service from San Diego (SAN) on 21 November, a route to New York Newark (EWR). The airline will operate the 3,891-kilometre sector daily on its 737-900s according to OAG Schedules Analyser data, with the carrier facing direct competition from United Airlines’ 17 weekly flights. Alaska Airlines already links San Diego to Boston and Orlando on the East Coast, while the carrier also links the Californian city with two destinations in Mexico, four in Hawaii as well as a further eight in the US. On 15 March next year the airline will add a fourth East Coast destination to its San Diego route map, with Baltimore/Washington joining the schedule.

Cincinnati ribbon cutting.

On 16 November Cincinnati celebrated with a ribbon cutting the start of Allegiant Air’s new four times weekly link to New York Newark. The 912-kilometre sector is already served by United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, with both carriers already offering 48 weekly flights on the airport pair between them.

  • Allegiant Air this week introduced eight new routes to its network, which included bringing a brand new airport to its schedule – New York Newark (EWR). On the 16 November the ULCC linked the New York airport with Cincinnati (CVG) and Savannah (SAV), while connections from Asheville (AVL) and Knoxville (TYS) were added the following day. Asheville is currently the only connection to Newark that does not see direct competition. As well as welcoming Newark to its network, the airline also introduced a further four routes to its schedule. The average weekly frequency of Allegiant Air’s Newark routes is 3.5, while the remaining sectors are all served twice-weekly. The average sector length is 1,302 kilometres. See how Concord Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
16 Nov Cincinnati (CVG) New York Newark (EWR) MD83 (4) United Airlines (34), Delta Air Lines (14)
Savannah (SAV) MD83 (3) United Airlines (18)
17 Nov Asheville (AVL) MD83 (4)
Knoxville (TYS) MD83 (3) United Airlines (7)
Punta Gorda (PGD) Dayton (DAY) MD83 (2)
St. Pete-Clearwater (PIE) Portsmouth (PSM)
18 Nov Concord (USA) New Orleans (MSY)
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) Niagara Falls (IAG) Spirit Airlines (7)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data w/c 22 November 2016. WF = weekly frequency.

China Eastern Airlines grows its Sydney presence

Seen arriving over the stunning Sydney skyline on 16 November is China Eastern Airlines’s inaugural service from Hangzhou. The service, which originates in Beijing, operates thrice-weekly. As a result, Sydney is now connected non-stop to 12 airports in China, with a 13th starting later this week.

  • China Eastern Airlines has further enhanced its offering between China and Australia with the addition of a new thrice-weekly service between Hangzhou (HGH) and Sydney (SYD). Launched on 15 November, the 7,825-kilometre route is not served by any other carrier. The SkyTeam carrier is using its A330-200s on the new route which originates in Beijing. Sydney is now connected with non-stop flights to 12 destinations in China, with a 13th starting later this week.

Elite Airways Sarasota cake

Sarasota Airport celebrated the arrival of Elite Airways from Portland in Maine on 17 November with this fantastic beach and lobster-themed cake, showcasing the best features of both destinations linked on the carrier’s latest venture. Flights on the 2,113-kilometre sector will be operated twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) on CRJ 200s.

  • Elite Airways commenced flights between Portland (PWM) and Sarasota (SRQ) on 17 November. The 2,113-kilometre sector will be served by the regional carrier twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) on its CRJ 200s. “We think that economic development here in Sarasota is phenomenal,” John Pearsall, President of Elite Airways, said at the launch. “We absolutely see that growing here in Sarasota is the way to go.” No other carrier currently links the two airports, however Elite Airways does already serve Florida from Portland with five weekly flights to Orlando Melbourne, a service that also continues onto Naples. The carrier also links Vero Beach in Florida to New York Newark. See how Sarasota Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) held a press conference at Chicago O’Hare Airport to welcome the first Interjet service from Mexico City. José Luis Garza, CEO of Interjet and Alex Leon, CDA Deputy Commissioner also performed a gift exchange at the airline’s launch on 17 November.

  • Interjet has added another US destination to its network with the launch on 17 November of a double-daily service between Mexico City (MEX) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD). The 2,715-kilometre route will be flown using the airline’s A320s and will face competition from Aeromexico (22 weekly flights), United Airlines (seven) and Volaris (six). José Luis Garza, CEO of Interjet, said: “We are very pleased to inaugurate these flights within the framework of the Bilateral Air Transport Agreement with the US which, as we have said, benefits the sector by offering new opportunities, encouraging business and tourism traffic between the two countries and above all increasing supply and fostering competitiveness to the benefit of travellers.” Interjet already serves eight other US cities from its Mexico City hub; Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando and San Antonio.

Jetstar Pacific Airlines starts second Hong Kong route

Passengers checking in for Jetstar Pacific Airlines’ first service from Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong on 18 November were greeted by a balloon arch and staff handing out celebratory goodie bags.

  • Jetstar Pacific Airlines on 18 November began a four times weekly service on the 1,490-kilometre route between Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) and Hong Kong (HKG). The route, which will be flown using the LCC’s fleet of 12 A320s, is already served by Cathay Pacific Airways (17 times weekly) and Vietnam Airlines (10 times weekly). Jetstar Pacific already serves Hong Kong from Hanoi, a route it launched on 7 September 2015. This winter the airline will serve 19 destinations from Ho Chi Minh City, 15 in Vietnam as well as Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore, plus Guangzhou, a new route which will start at the beginning of December.

MEGA Maldives Airlines initiates Indian service to Delhi

  • MEGA Maldives Airlines has introduced its first route to India. On 17 November the carrier began three times weekly flights from Malé (MLE) to Delhi (DEL) using its two-class, 168-seat 737-800s. The 2,734-kilometre route is not served by any other carrier. Flights depart the Maldives on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with the return flights departing India on the following days. George Weinmann, CEO of MEGA Maldives Airlines, said: “We are thrilled with the positive response both in India and in Maldives to our new India services. The resort and hospitality community of Maldives is clearly throwing open their doors to an excited and dynamic Indian market”. MEGA Maldives Airlines recently began flights to Colombo and is planning a second Indian service, to Mumbai, starting in December.

Nesma Airlines

Nesma Airlines VIPs were greeted by airport officials on 21 November as the carrier began flights on three domestic city pairs in Saudi Arabia, all of which started on 21 November. All three routes will see the carrier competing against national carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines.

  • Nesma Airlines has used this week to take the opportunity of starting three new domestic services in Saudi Arabia, all of them from Jeddah (JED). All three new sectors began on 21 November, and all three will be operated by the carrier’s A320 family of aircraft. The 850-kilometre sector to Riyadh (RUH), to be operated six times daily, is the most fiercely contested, with nearly 300 weekly competing frequencies available from Saudi Arabian Airlines (194), flynas (84), Sky Pearl (10) and Korean Air (three). The 1,202-kilometre route to Dammam (DMM), to be flown twice-daily, is slightly more palatable, with only 109 weekly flights from the incumbents – Saudi Arabian (70), flynas (33) and fellow new market entrant SaudiGulf Airlines (6). The 689-kilometre city pair to Hail (HAS), to be operated daily, will see Nesma have to face the flag carrier for the third time, as Saudi Arabian already offers a double-daily operation. This service becomes the fifth offered from Hail by the airline, as it already flies to Al Qaisumah, Tubuk, Madinah and Turaif. See how Riyadh Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Cutting the ribbon to celebrate the start of services between Santo Domingo and Miami are Miami-Dade Aviation Department Chief of Staff, Joseph Napoli, and PAWA Dominicana President, Luis Ramirez. The new 13 times weekly service will compete with American Airlines’ 19 weekly flights.

  • PAWA Dominicana on 16 November launched a 13 times weekly service between Santo Domingo (SDQ) and Miami (MIA) in Florida. The route will be served by the airline’s MD-83s. Competition comes from American Airlines which already operates the 1,365-kilometre route with 19 weekly flights. For PAWA Dominicana, this is its first sector to the US and the only one of the nine scheduled routes it operates which is served at least daily. Its fleet currently comprises seven MD-80-series aircraft. See how Miami Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Saudi Arabian Airlines

Saudi Arabian Airlines started not one but two new routes to the Turkish capital city of Ankara this week, commencing four times weekly services from Jeddah on 18 November, and then from Madinah on 19 November.

  • Saudi Arabian Airlines began two new services to Ankara (ESB), a TAV-operated airport, from Jeddah (JED), and Madinah (MED) this week. The flag carrier of Saudi Arabia arrived from Jeddah on 18 November at 13:30 with 100 passengers on board, and was welcomed with a water arch on the apron. The route, which is operated by a variety of equipment, is flown on a four times weekly basis. Flights from Madinah , which is also operated by TAV, started on 19 November and are flown three times weekly on the carrier’s A330-300 fleet. Ankara GM Nuray Demirer stated: “We are connected to 37 domestic destinations, as well as 28 international destinations in 17 countries with direct flights. Saudi has been operating charter flights from Esenboğa Airport to Jeddah and Madinah during Hajj and Umrah seasons. “We are glad that scheduled, direct and reciprocal flights to these destinations have been inaugurated,” informed Demirer. Both new services will face direct competition from Turkish Airlines, which flies three times weekly on both city pairs. See how Ankara Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

There were gifts for passengers on SilkAir’s first flight between Singapore and Fuzhou which departed on Monday 21 November. The four times weekly service will compete with Xiamen Airlines’ double-daily service. SilkAir now serves eight destinations in China and has 10% of the seat capacity between the two countries.

  • SilkAir on 21 November made Fuzhou (FOC) its eighth destination in China. The new four times weekly service from Singapore (SIN) will be flown on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays using the carrier’s 737-800s. Xiamen Airlines already serves the 3,204-kilometre route with double-daily flights. Commenting on the launch, SilkAir’s Chief Executive, Foo Chai Woo, said: “We are delighted to launch our new flight route to Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province. We hope that this would open up exciting opportunities for travellers between Fuzhou and Singapore, and also beyond these two major gateways. Fuzhou is famous for its sea views, mountains and historical sites and I am confident it will be a destination that will interest many Singaporeans. Likewise, Singapore offers various attractions that tourists from Fuzhou will definitely enjoy and find appeal in.” Fuzhou becomes SilkAir’s eighth destination in China as it already serves Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Xiamen. Parent company Singapore Airlines also serves Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. In the China-Singapore market SilkAir now has 10% of seat capacity, behind Singapore Airlines (28%) and Scoot (15%). With Tigerair Singapore also having 10% of the market it means that airlines related to Singapore Airlines have 63% of capacity between the two countries.

Orlando Airport celebrated the start of Spirit Airlines' flights to Niagara Falls and Plattsburgh with this cake. Both routes to New York State will be flown daily facing no direct competition.

Orlando Airport celebrated the start of Spirit Airlines’ flights to Niagara Falls and Plattsburgh with this cake. Both routes to New York State will be flown daily facing no direct competition, however Allegiant Air links both airports to Orlando Sanford.

  • Spirit Airlines on 17 November inaugurated two routes from Orlando (MCO) – Niagara Falls (IAG) and Plattsburgh (PBG). Both 1,645- and 1,931-kilometre sectors to the New York State airports will be flown daily on the airline’s A320 fleet according to OAG schedules. Neither route will face direct competition, however Allegiant Air does link both airports to Orlando Sanford. In recent weeks the airline has also added Akron-Canton, Kansas City, New York Newark, Boston and Philadelphia to its Orlando schedule. “We are excited to celebrate Spirit’s tremendous growth here at Orlando Airport,” said Bob Fornaro, President and CEO of Spirit Airlines. “We recognise the need for more ultra-low fare options to Orlando and thank the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) for supporting our expansion. Our partnership will allow even more families to travel to Orlando with extra cash left in their pockets for theme parks, hotels and souvenirs.” With these recent launches, it now means that Spirit offers 19 destinations non-stop from Orlando.

THAI Smile jets off to Jaipur in India

  • THAI Smile has launched its third route to India from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) with the introduction on 15 November of three times weekly flights on the 2,971-kilometre sector to Jaipur (JAI). The service will be operated by the carrier’s A320s, departing Thailand on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 22:05 and arriving in India at 01:15 the following morning. Return flights depart Jaipur at 02:15 arriving back into Bangkok at 08:15. No other carrier connects these two airports. The Thai Airways subsidiary already serves Gaya and Varanasi in India among the nine international destinations it operates from Thailand’s busiest airport. In the Thailand-India market Thai Airways leads the way with around 43% of seat capacity followed by Jet Airways (17%) and Air India (9%). THAI Smile has an estimated 4.5% of seats according to OAG data for the week beginning 22 November.

Trujet adds Kochi to its network

  • Trujet has elected to become the fourth carrier to provide daily, non-stop flights between Hyderabad (HYD) and Kochi (COK). On 20 November the Indian regional airline began a daily service on the 814-kilometre link using its ATR 72s. Flights depart Hyderabad at 22:30 arriving at Kochi at 00:50. The return flight leaves Kochi at 01:15 getting back to Hyderabad at 03:35. Trujet will face competition from SpiceJet (15 weekly flights) as well as AirAsia India and IndiGo who both fly the route on a twice-daily basis. The carrier launched last July and currently has a fleet of three ATR 72-500s with which it serves 10 destinations in India. According to government figures Trujet’s share of the Indian domestic market has been 0.4% in each of the first three quarters of 2016.

To celebrate the arrival of its latest carrier, WOW air, Stockholm Arlanda heralded its arrival with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Launched on 17 November, the LCC will link the Swedish capital airport to Reykjavik/Keflavik four times weekly on its A320s.

To celebrate the welcoming of WOW air, Stockholm Arlanda held a ribbon cutting ceremony. Commenced on 17 November, the carrier will link the Swedish capital airport to Reykjavik/Keflavik four times weekly on its A320s, and faces direct competition from Icelandair.

  • WOW air this week moved its Swedish capital operation from Stockholm Vasteras to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). Commenced on 17 November, the 2,140-kilometre link to Arlanda from Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF) will be operated by the LCC four times weekly on its A320s. Although the airport pairing of Vasteras and Keflavik was unique, WOW air’s move to Arlanda now means it faces direct competition from Icelandair’s eight times weekly operation (twice-daily on Sundays).


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