New airline routes launched (06 December 2016 – 12 December 2016)

China Southern Airlines’ Guangzhou to Adelaide

On 12 December China Southern Airlines commenced flights to Adelaide, with the Australian airport celebrating with this fantastic cake. Seen welcoming the arrival of the Australian airport’s first Chinese carrier are: Jonathan Cheong, Head of Aviation Business Development, Adelaide Airport; Nick Jones, Director, Destination Development at South Australian Tourism Commission; Mark Gill, Manager Aviation Development at South Australian Tourism Commission; Brenton Cox, EGM Corporate at Adelaide Airport; Mark Young, MD at Adelaide Airport; and Rob Chapman, Chairman at Adelaide Airport. There was a ribbon cutting performed by His Excellency and the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia, and the President and CEO of China Southern Airlines, President Tan. Joining both Van Le and Tan for the cake cutting ceremony was South Australian Premier, the Honourable Jay Weatherill.

On 7 December Toronto Pearson welcomed and celebrated the arrival of China Southern Airlines’ new three times weekly service from Guangzhou with speeches and a ribbon cutting ceremony. This became the airline’s second Canadian route from Guangzhou as it already serves Vancouver with daily flights.

  • China Southern Airlines has added two new international destinations from its Guangzhou (CAN) base during the last week. On 7 December it began a three times weekly 777-300-operated service on the 7,005-kilometre route to Toronto Pearson (YYZ). This is the SkyTeam member’s second service to Canada from Guangzhou as it already serves Vancouver with daily flights. On 12 December the carrier launched a three times weekly service to Adelaide (ADL) using its A330-200s fleet. This 12,437-kilometre route is the airline’s fifth to Australia from Guangzhou as it already serves Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. In total China Southern now serves 46 international destinations non-stop from Guangzhou with New York JFK being its most distant city at 12,852-kilometres. For Adelaide it is the airport’s first non-stop service to a Chinese destination. The Australian airport already has links to several major Asian and Middle Eastern hubs; Doha with Qatar Airways, Dubai with Emirates, Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific Airways, Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines, and Singapore with Singapore Airlines. See how Adelaide Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Southwest Airlines’ Tampa to Havana.

Tampa Airport celebrated the start of Southwest Airlines’ flights to Havana, the Floridian city’s first Cuban connection, with this fantastic cake shaped like the Caribbean island. Pictured with the cake are Chris Minner, VP of Marketing, Tampa International Airport and Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines. The airline will offer daily flights between Tampa and the Cuban capital on its 737-700s.

To celebrate Southwest Airlines’ arrival into Havana, a ribbon cutting was performed. Carrying out the honours was Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly. The airline will link Havana to Tampa daily and Fort Lauderdale twice-daily.

  • Southwest Airlines launched flights to its third Cuban destination on 12 December – Havana (HAV). The airline will link the Cuban capital with daily flights from Tampa (TPA) and twice-daily from Fort Lauderdale (FLL), with both being served by its 737-700s. Southwest Airlines commenced its first flights to Cuba in August with a connection between Fort Lauderdale and Santa Clara, while a route to Varadero followed after. The 554-kilometre link between Tampa and Havana is not yet served, however flights on the 410-kilometre sector from Fort Lauderdale to the Cuban capital have already been inaugurated by JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines, with both already serving the city pair with 27 weekly flights combined. See how Havana Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

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

Pictured celebrating the launch of Aerolineas Argentinas’ new three times weekly link between Cordoba and Punta del Este are: Gustavo Carceglia, GM Aerolineas Argentinas; Liliam Kechichian, Minister of Tourism and Sport of Uruguay; Enrique Antía; Representative of Uruguay; and Juan Lescarboura, GM, Punta del Este Airport.

  • Aerolineas Argentinas commenced flights between Cordoba (COR) and Punta del Este (PDP) on 7 December. The 933-kilometre city pairing will be flown by the carrier three times weekly on its 96-seat E190s. No other carrier currently operates between the two cities. Punta del Este becomes the third international link for Aerolineas Argentinas from Cordoba, with the airline also connecting the Argentinian city to Salvador and Porto Seguro in Brazil when referring to OAG schedules. The airline also flies to 14 domestic points from Cordoba. See how Punta del Este Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Air India initiates first commercial service to Bathinda

Air India began flights to Bathinda on Sunday 11 December. The three times weekly service to and from Delhi will be operated by Air India Regional’s ATR 72-600s. Celebrating the first scheduled service at the airport are: Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Civil Aviation Minister; Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation; Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister; and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries.

  • Air India has become the first carrier to operate commercial services to and from Bathinda (BUP), the fifth largest city in the state of Punjab in north-west India. On 11 December the Star Alliance member began three times weekly (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) flights on the 274-kilometre route from Delhi (DEL) using one of the eight 70-seat ATR 72-600s operated by its regional subsidiary Air India Regional. The Indian flag-carrier now serves 64 destinations non-stop from Delhi of which 36 are in India. The shortest route is the 230-kilometre sector to Jaipur while the longest is the 12,376-kilometre sector to San Francisco.

Azul Airlines Recife Orlando

Pictured in Orlando on 7 December are the inaugural crew of Azul Airlines flight AD8708 which had just landed from Recife. The Brazilian carrier will operate the 6,420-kilometre link twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) on its A330-200s.

  • Azul Airlines commenced flights between Recife (REC) and Orlando (MCO) on 7 December. The carrier will operate the 6,420-kilometre link twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) on its 267-seat A330-200s. No other carrier currently offers flights on the city pairing. Recife becomes the airline’s second connection to Orlando, with it already offering a daily link to the Floridian airport from Sao Paulo Viracopos. Up until 29 February this year, the airline also linked Orlando with Belo Horizonte, a route that lasted just three months according to OAG schedules, with it having been launched on 16 November 2015.

Cobalt Birmingham launch

Cobalt launched flights to Birmingham from its Larnaca hub on 10 December, a route that it will operate twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) on its A319 fleet. Seen welcoming the inaugural crew to the UK’s second city is Tom Screen, Head of Aviation Development, Birmingham Airport.

  • Cobalt launched flights to its third UK destination from Larnaca (LCA) on 10 December – Birmingham (BHX). The airline already links the Cypriot airport to Manchester and London Stansted. The 3,396-kilometre link to the UK’s second city will be flown by Cobalt twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) on its A319 fleet according to OAG schedules, although Flightradar24 data shows that the inaugural flight was operated by the carrier’s sole A320. Monarch Airlines already links the two airports with a three times weekly service this winter. Blue Air will become the next carrier to launch flights between Larnaca and Birmingham when it commences the route on 26 March. See how Birmingham Airport’s FTWA compares to other airports from around the world.

easyJet began weekly flights from Basel to Funchal on 6 December, heralded by this fabulous Madeira cake of course! The route faces no direct competition.

easyJet began weekly flights (Tuesdays) from Basel to Funchal on 6 December, heralded by this fabulous Madeira cake of course! The route faces no direct competition.

  • easyJet has used the last seven days to commence five new routes from five different bases. While the average sector length of the five new city pairs is 1,468 kilometres, the shortest is the 945-kilometre link from London Luton (LTN) to Turin (TRN), with the longest being the 2,626-kilometre route from Basel (BSL) to Funchal (FNC). Interestingly, all five of the city pairs are flown on a weekly basis, with just one facing direct competition. See how Funchal Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
06-Dec Basel (BSL) Funchal (FNC) A32S (1)
10-Dec London Luton (LTN) Turin (TRN) A319 (1) Blue Air (4)
11-Dec Bristol (BRS)
London Gatwick (LGW) Ostersund (OSD)
Manchester (MAN) Turin (TRN)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 13 December.

HK Express heads off to Hualien in Taiwan-2

Gate 219 was the venue for HK Express’s first departure from Hong Kong to Hualien in Taiwan. Flight UO 3162 was scheduled to depart at 15:05. Hualien becomes the LCC’s second destination in Taiwan as it already serves Hualien with daily flights.

  • HK Express on 6 December launched a twice-weekly service from Hong Kong (HKG) to Hualien (HUN) in Taiwan. The 811-kilometre route will be flown on Tuesdays and Saturdays using the LCC’s A320s. Hualien becomes the carrier’s second destination in Taiwan as it has been operating daily flights to Taichung since October 2013. Andrew Cowen, Director and CEO of HK Express, said: “We have been wanting to connect Hong Kong and Hualien for a long time and are excited to launch this amazing new route. Just over an hour from Hong Kong, the coastal city has so much to offer in terms of outdoor adventure, cuisine and culture.” In the 12 months to the end of October, HK Express flew 2.85 million passengers, an increase of 36% on the previous year. Its annual load factor is just under 90%. Hualien’s only other scheduled service this winter is a daily domestic service to Kaohsiung flown by Mandarin Airlines.

LATAM Airlines.

LATAM Airlines arrived in Puerto Natales on 6 December. The Oneworld member will operate the Santiago – Puerto Natales – Punta Arenas sector twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) on its A320s according to OAG schedules.

  • LATAM Airlines commenced flights between Santiago (SCL) and Puerto Natales (PNT) on 6 December, a route that continues onto Punta Arenas (PUQ). Operated twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) on the airline’s A320s, flights leave Santiago at 11:05, arriving into Puerto Natales after a 2,036-kilometre journey at 14:14. The onward flight to Punta Arenas, which has a sector length of 185 kilometres, leaves Puerto Natales at 14:55, arriving into the former destination at 15:45. Flights then leave Punta Arenas at 16:25, getting back into Santiago at 19:45. LATAM already links Punta Arenas and Santiago with 15 weekly flights, meaning that with this new link the city pair is now offered 17 times weekly. No other carrier currently operates the Santiago – Puerto Natales – Punta Arenas sector.


On 9 Dece

On 9 December Oman Air started its first connection to China, with the commencement of a four times weekly service to Guangzhou. The chief guest for the event was HE Yahya Al Jabri, Chairman of Duqum Special Economic Zone.

  • Oman Air, the national carrier for the Sultanate of Oman, launched its inaugural flight WY851 to Guangzhou (CAN) from its Muscat (MCT) base on 9 December. The airline will run flights to Guangzhou from Muscat on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays using its A330 fleet. The aircraft leaves Muscat at 10:15 and reaches Guangzhou at 21:00. Oman Air flights depart Guangzhou to Muscat on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 06:25 and land in Muscat at 11:00. The 5,570-kilometre sector faces no direct competition.

Pegasus Airlines’ passengers and crew on its inaugural four times weekly flight from Ankara to Kiev Zhulyany were given a warm Ukrainian welcome – as well as route launch cake – on a chilly-looking apron on 6 December. The carrier now offers 11 departure points from the airport serving the Turkish capital city.

  • Pegasus Airlines has linked two capital cities on 6 December, starting flights between Ankara (ESB) in Turkey and Kiev Zhulyany (IEV) in Ukraine. The LCC already flies from its main hub of Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen to Kharkiv (daily), Lviv (four times weekly) and Zaporizhia (three times weekly) in the Ukraine. The 737-800-operated service, which will be flown four times weekly until 19 March next year, will face no direct competition. Pegasus now offers departures from the Turkish capital to 11 airports. The last new route it started from Ankara was to Amman in Jordan back in March.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways began flights to its third Thai destination on 6 December, with four times weekly flights to Krabi joining its existing services to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Phuket. Senior officials from Qatar Airways, Krabi Provincial Government, Krabi International Airport and Tourism Authority of Thailand were on hand for the official ribbon-cutting.

Local school children were on hand to welcome Qatar Airways' resumption of services to the Seychelles on 12 December. Flown by the oneworld airline's 144-seat A320s, the route faces no direct competition, however fellow MEB3 carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways do offer competing services from their respective hubs.

Local school children were on hand to welcome Qatar Airways’ resumption of services to the Seychelles on 12 December. Flown by the oneworld airline’s 144-seat A320s, the route faces no direct competition, however fellow MEB3 carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways do offer competing services from their respective hubs.

  • Qatar Airways has commenced services to its third destination in Thailand, adding to its existing flights to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (four times daily) and Phuket (twice-daily). Started on 6 December, the oneworld carrier began four times weekly services to Krabi (KBV) from its Doha (DOH) hub. The 5,359-kilometre sector is operated by the airline’s 260-seat A330-200 fleet. Launched on 12 December, Qatar Airways also began daily flights to Mahé (SEZ) in the Seychelles. The 3,352-kilometre airport pair, a service resumption, will be flown by the carrier’s 144-seat A320 fleet. Neither route faces any direct competition, with MEB3 competitors Emirates and Etihad Airways both absent from the Thai route, although they do operate to the Seychelles, with the former offering double-daily flights and the latter flying daily services. See how Krabi and Mahé airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world.

Sichuan Airlines expands US network with Jinan service

There was a welcome banner at the gate at LAX to commemorate the launch of Sichuan Airlines’s new twice-weekly service from Jinan on 6 December. Jinan becomes the 11th Chinese airport to have a non-stop service to the US this winter. Sichuan Airlines already serves Los Angeles non-stop from Hangzhou.

  • Sichuan Airlines launched its second US service on 6 December. It already serves Los Angeles (LAX) from Hangzhou, but has now added twice-weekly flights to the Californian gateway from Jinan (TNA). The 10,258-kilometre service will be flown on Tuesdays and Saturdays using one of the airline’s nine A330-200s, the newest of which it acquired in early November. This new service becomes the first long-haul route from Jinan, which in 2015 was China’s 27th busiest airport, handling just over 9.5 million passengers. It also means that there are now 11 Chinese airports with non-stop service to destinations in the US, although only three of them (Beijing, Shanghai Pudong and Guangzhou) have at least daily flights.

Giving Tigerair Australia’s new daily route from its Melbourne base to Canberra the high fives were Stephen Byron, MD, Canberra Airport and Adam Rowe Tigerair Australia Commercial Director. A ceremonial water cannon salute marked the arrival of the first flight and each passenger received a welcome pack and a toy tiger, courtesy of Canberra Airport, the National Zoo and Aquarium and Visit Canberra.

  • Tigerair Australia has added a daily connection to Canberra (CBR) from its biggest operational base (in terms of weekly seats) of Melbourne (MEL) on 8 December. The LCC now operates to nine domestic and one international destination (Denpasar/Bali) from the capital of Victoria airport. The 468-kilometre sector, operated by Tigerair Australia’s A320 fleet, is a competitive route, with incumbents Qantas (59 weekly flights) and parent company Virgin Australia Airlines (35 weekly) both offering multiple daily flights. Tigerair Australia Commercial Director Adam Rowe says the airline is pleased with early demand for the new services and looks forward to continuing to partner with Canberra Airport and the ACT Government, through Visit Canberra, to stimulate air travel on the new route. “Tigerair Australia is pleased to have launched the only low-cost services between Melbourne and Canberra, providing over 2,500 additional visitor seats every week through Melbourne and Canberra Airports. I would like to extend our thanks to Canberra Airport and the ACT Government for their support in making these new services a reality. Tigerair looks forward to further building upon these relationships in the future.” According to OAG schedule data Tigerair Australia previously operated the route between February 2008 and September 2011. See how Canberra Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Turkish Airlines started flights to its 293rd destination worldwide on 12 December, and its 50th in Africa, with three times weekly operations to Zanzibar – via its existing Kilimanjaro route.

  • Turkish Airlines has launched three times weekly flights between Istanbul Atatürk (IST) and Zanzibar (ZNZ) in Tanzania on 12 December. Following the addition of the city pair, which operates via its existing services to Kilimanjaro, the Star Alliance carrier will now be flying to 293 destinations worldwide, 50 of which are in Africa. These include the African cities of Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Nairobi, Mogadishu, Djibouti, Asmara, Addis Ababa, Kigali, Entebbe and Zanzibar. Ahmet Olmuştur, Chief Marketing Officer at the airline said: “Turkish Airlines is proud to transport people around the globe to experience new cultures, share ideas and create memories that will stay with them for a lifetime. We are delighted to open the new route to Zanzibar, a truly remarkable destination. We continually seek out opportunities to expand our network and look forward to welcoming our passengers on their way to Zanzibar in the near future.” Services are operated by the airline’s 737-900s and the route faces no direct competition.

Orlando Sanford Airport FTWA.

Orlando Sanford Airport heralded the start of ViaAir’s new twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) service from Charlotte Douglas with a water arch salute. The carrier will operate the 715-kilometre link on its 50-seat ERJ 145s.

  • ViaAir launched flights between Charlotte Douglas (CLT) and Orlando Sanford (SFB) on 11 December. The 715-kilometre link will be flown by the regional carrier twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) on its 50-seat ERJ 145s. Although no other carrier currently offers the airport pairing directly, it should be noted that American Airlines offers 62 weekly flights between Charlotte Douglas and Orlando, while Frontier Airlines operates the same airport pairing with four weekly flights. See how Orlando Sanford Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

VietJetAir adds three more international routes

The flight and cabin crew of the inaugural VietJetAir service from Ho Chi Minh City to Hong Kong were given flowers and goodie bags to mark the event on 9 December. Three other carriers already operate the route.

  • VietJetAir has added three new international routes in the last few days. On 9 December the Vietnamese LCC began daily flights on the 1,490-kilometre route between Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) and Hong Kong (HKG) which is already served by Cathay Pacific Airways (18 weekly flights), Vietnam Airlines (10) and Jetstar Pacific Airlines (four). Then on 12 December it introduced a five times weekly service between Ho Chi Minh City and Kaohsiung (KHH) in Taiwan. The 1,964-kilometre route is already flown by Vietnam Airlines with 10 weekly flights. Finally, also on 12 December, VietJetAir began a four times weekly service between Haiphong (HPH) and Seoul Incheon (ICN) in South Korea. This 2,652-kilometre route is not flown by any other carrier and is the airline’s first international service from Haiphong, from where it already serves seven domestic destinations. Haiphong, a coastal city and major port and industrial centre, is just 90 kilometres from Hanoi. All three of the new routes will be flown on the airline’s fleet of A320s. According to OAG data VietJetAir now accounts for 7.3% of scheduled seats on international flights to and from Vietnam, compared with 28.8% for Vietnam Airlines. However, a year ago the fast-growing LCC had just 4.0% of the international market to Vietnam Airlines’ 34.4%.

Wizz Air Ovda.

On 29 September Wizz Air announced two new routes from Warsaw Chopin to Eilat Ovda and Billund, with the former of the two services launching on 10 December. The 2,721-kilometre link from the Polish capital will be served by the ULCC twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) on its A320s. Flights to Billund will begin in March for the start of S17.

  • Wizz Air on 10 December inaugurated flights to its second destination in Israel – Eilat Ovda (VDA). The ULCC will connect to the airport from its Warsaw Chopin (WAW) base with a twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) service. Wizz Air will operate the 2,721-kilometre link on its 180-seat A320s according to OAG schedules. The carrier is already present in Israel, with it linking to Tel Aviv from 10 bases across Europe with a combined total of 29 weekly flights. No other carrier currently links Chopin to Eilat Ovda.


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