New airline routes launched (3 January 2017 – 9 January 2017)
British Airways’ London Heathrow to Santiago
- British Airways launched a four times weekly service from London Heathrow (LHR) to Santiago (SCL) in Chile on 3 January. The 11,647-kilometre sector has become the airline’s, and the UK’s, lengthiest non-stop long-haul route, taking 14 hours 40 minutes, 50 minutes more than the current longest flight of 13 hours 50 minutes service to Buenos Aires. BA251 departed Heathrow at 22:00 operated by the airline’s newest aircraft – the 787-9 – arriving into Chile at 09:40 the following morning. The airport pair faces no direct competition.
JetBlue Airways’ Fort Lauderdale to Aruba
- JetBlue Airways this week commenced three new routes across its network, one international, one transcontinental and the other state domestic. The route trio was kick-started on 4 January, with an international link from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Aruba (AUA). Flown daily by JetBlue on its A320s, the 1,843-kilometre sector is already served by Spirit Airlines weekly. Latter that day the airline launched a California domestic link from San Jose (SJC) to Long Beach (LGB). The 518-kilometre city pairing will be flown by the carrier 28 times weekly and when referring to OAG schedules, no other airline connects the two airports. Finally on 5 January, JetBlue launched a transcontinental route from Orlando (MCO) to Los Angeles (LAX). The latter route, which spans 3,560 kilometres, is the most heavily competed sector that the airline will enter, with Delta Air Lines (19 weekly flights), American Airlines (14), Frontier Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin America (all daily) already connecting the two cities. Both US domestic routes launched by the carrier this week will also be flown on its A320 fleet.
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
- Alaska Airlines this week become the first carrier to link the US West Coast with Cuba, with the airline launching daily flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Havana (HAV). Inaugurated on 5 January, the 3,698-kilometre sector will be flown by the airline on its 737-900s. With Alaska Airlines becoming the first airline to operate flights between the US West Coast and Cuba, it means that this airport pairing faces no direct competition. “We sometimes overlook the fact that air travel holds tremendous power to connect people and overcome boundaries,” said Joe Sprague, Alaska Airlines SVP Communications and External Relations. “This new West Coast service is another historic step in opening up relations between our two countries and we’re thrilled to host a delegation of trade, tourism and educational leaders to explore Cuba’s capital city.” Since the commencement of scheduled services between the US and Cuba in August, a total of 274 weekly flights now operate between the two nations across 24 routes served by nine carriers. Alaska Airlines’ new Los Angeles – Havana service currently accounts for 3.3% of weekly seat capacity between the two nations. See how Havana Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
- Delta Air Lines has resumed daily, year-round services between New York JFK (JFK) and Halifax (YHX). On 8 January the SkyTeam carrier used its 76-seat CRJ 900s to connect the two airports with the first flight out of Halifax beginning on 9 January. The 959-kilometre route faces no direct competition but United Airlines does operate a 13 times weekly operation from New York Newark to Halifax. Delta used to serve the Halifax market from JFK seasonally between 2008 and 2012. It then served the route between September 2015 and September 2016. Joyce Carter, President & CEO of Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA), said: “We are very pleased to welcome Delta back to our community on a year-round basis. Delta’s service to New York provides both business and leisure travellers with more options and more choice. The route will also help boost inbound tourism for our province by providing American visitors with another travel choice any month of the year.” Henry Kuykendall, VP New York, Delta Air Lines, added: “This re-addition of Halifax to our international portfolio at our JFK hub speaks to the strength of our international hub in New York and demand for Delta flights to Canada’s Ocean Playground. We look forward to bringing the Delta brand back to Nova Scotia, providing a link to New York City and offering connecting opportunities throughout the US, Latin America and Europe.” The daily service will allow Nova Scotians to take a day trip to New York as the flight leaves Halifax at 06:00 arriving in the Big Apple at 07:20. The return flight leaves JFK at 20:55 getting back to Halifax at 23:55.
- Jet Airways has launched only its second route to Sri Lanka. On 5 January the Indian carrier began four times weekly flights on the 710-kilometre route between Bengaluru (BLR) and Colombo (CMB). The route will be flown by the airline’s 737-800s and frequency will increase to daily from the end of March. Competition comes from SriLankan Airlines which already serves the city pair with daily flights. Announcing the new service Jayaraj Shanmugam, CCO, Jet Airways, said: “Jet Airways is delighted to launch a direct service between Bengaluru and Colombo. With increasing economic activity between India and Sri Lanka, Jet Airways realized the gap in the connectivity and plugged it with this direct connection. Guests between these two destinations will be offered the best in-flight product and service excellence.” The schedule sees flights depart India at 00:40 arriving in Colombo at 02:10. The return flight leaves Sri Lanka at 03:10 arriving back in Bengaluru at 04:35. Jet Airways already links Mumbai and Colombo with twice-daily flights. The leading carrier between India and Sri Lanka is SriLankan Airlines with 66% of seat capacity followed by Jet Airways (16%), Air India (13%) and SpiceJet (5%).
- LATAM Airlines commenced its third route to Orlando (MCO) on 4 January, a connection from Santiago (SCL). The oneworld member already serves the Florida city from Lima (Peru) and Sao Paulo Guarulhos (Brazil). The carrier’s latest route, which is 6,957 kilometres in length, will be served twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Thursdays) using a mixture of its 787-8s and 787-9s. No other airline currently links Orlando to the capital of Chile according to OAG schedules. Looking further at these schedules, it indicates that the route is currently only being offered until 1 March. With this inauguration, it means that LATAM now offers 21 weekly flights to Orlando. See how Orlando Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
- Sky Airline on 6 January commenced its third route to Argentina from Santiago (SCL), a connection with Mendoza (MDZ). The airline already links the capital of Chile with Buenos Aires Ezeiza and Cordoba in Argentina. The latest connection, which is only 196 kilometres in length, will be served by the airline five times weekly on its A319s. Direct competition on the city pair comes from LATAM Airlines which offers 21 weekly flights. See how Mendoza Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
- Southwest Airlines launched its latest sector to Reno-Tahoe (RNO) on 7 January, a 2,177-kilometre link from Dallas Love Field (DAL). The airline already serves the Nevada airport from Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Phoenix and San Diego this winter, while in summer the airline also offers a connection from Chicago Midway. Flown on the airline’s 737-700s, the latest city pair offered by Southwest, which will be flown weekly (Saturdays), faces no direct competition, however American Airlines does offer 12 weekly flights from Dallas/Fort Worth.
- United Airlines launched its latest US domestic connection from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on 7 January, a 2,017-kilometre connection with Key West (EYW). Flown weekly (Saturdays), the Star Alliance member’s newest E170-operated sector will face no direct competition. “With United providing direct service to both New York Newark and O’Hare, our customers now have more options than ever before,” said Key West Airport Director Donald DeGraw at the launch. United links Key West to Newark with a daily E170 service. Key West becomes the eighth Floridian destination that United serves from O’Hare, with it also offering flights to Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, Southwest Florida and Tampa. Overall the Star Alliance member will offer 142 weekly flights between O’Hare and Florida this winter. For those interested in trivia, this is the first route launch by United in 2017, and it is coincidentally 2,017 kilometres in length.