New airline routes launched (14 February 2017 – 20 February 2017)

Air Canada’s Montreal to Shanghai Pudong

Montreal Airport held a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open Air Canada’s first Chinese route from the city – Shanghai Pudong. The route also becomes the airline’s first 787-8-operated route from Montreal. No other airline flies the city pair.

  • Air Canada on 16 February made Montreal (YUL) its third Canadian hub to link directly with China, launching a daily 787-8-operated service to Shanghai Pudong (PVG). The Star Alliance member already serves Shanghai from Toronto Pearson and Vancouver. “With the launch of Montreal-Shanghai non-stop service today, we are delighted to inaugurate Air Canada’s first direct flights between Montreal and Asia, building on Air Canada’s success in the rapidly growing Chinese market,” said Benjamin Smith, President, Passenger Airlines at Air Canada. “This also marks the introduction of Air Canada’s first 787-8 service from Montreal featuring our industry-leading international product, and further underlines our commitment to expand our global reach from Montreal, reinforcing it as a strategic hub that offers easy and convenient connections from points throughout Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the US.” No other airline currently flies the 11,347-kilometre link between Montreal and Shanghai, however Air China does offer flights between Beijing and Montreal, the Canadian airport’s only other Chinese service. 

Air Peace’s Lagos to Accra

Air Peace Lagos Accra

Air Peace celebrated the launch of its first international flight with this fantastic cake, which was even adorned with sparklers! Flown four times weekly, Air Peace will face direct competition on the Lagos-Accra city pairing from four other carriers.

  • Air Peace commenced its first international operations this week, launching a route between Lagos (LOS) and Accra (ACC). Started on 16 February, the Nigerian carrier will link the two cities with four weekly flights on its 737-500s. The 399-kilometre sector is already well served, with Africa World Airlines (28 weekly flights), Arik Air (14), Med View Airlines (seven) and RwandAir (four) already operating the airport pair. It should also be noted that Meridiana operates a weekly flight between the two airports on a triangular route from Milan Malpensa, however it does not have traffic rights on the link between the two African nations. Speaking at the launch of flights to Ghana, Oluwatoyin Olajide, COO of Air Peace, said its preference for Ghana as its first international link was influenced by the potential in the country’s aviation sector. “We chose Ghana because we believe the nation is a gateway to Africa which has a lot of potential. We believe strongly in the people of Ghana, and the airline feels that commencing flights from Ghana will lead to the potential of making it a hub for us, which we think will be a big reality in the future.” Founded in 2013, Air Peace has a fleet of eight aircraft according to ch-aviation, made-up of four 737-300s, three 737-500s and one Dornier 328. The average age of the fleet is 20 years.  

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

Air India Express launches Delhi to Dkaha service

Air India Express’ flight IX 132 from Delhi to Dhaka departed at 12:56, almost twenty minutes prior to its scheduled departure time of 13:15. Air India CMD, Ashwani Lohani presented the first passengers with their boarding passes. Also in attendance were K. Shyam Sundar, CEO, Air India Express; Meenakshi Dua, Executive Director, Air India (Northern Region); H.R.Jagannath, CEO, AIESL; and Capt. Pushpinder Singh, COO, Air India Express.

  • Air India Express on 16 February further enhanced its presence in Delhi (DEL) with the launch of a four times weekly service to Dhaka (DAC) in Bangladesh. The 1,423-kilometre route is already served by Jet Airways with a daily service. Air India Express already serves Abu Dhabi and Dubai from Delhi, while serving Dhaka from Kolkata. The leading players in the India-Bangladesh market are currently Jet Airways (31.4% of seats), Regent Airways (18.4%) and Air India Express (12.7%).

AirAsia India starts three new domestic routes from Delhi Airport to Bagdogra, Srinigar and Pune Airports all operating daily with A320s.

  • AirAsia India has boldly launched three new domestic routes from Delhi (DEL), all of which are flown by at least six (yes, six) other carriers. The LCC will operate all three routes, which began on 16 February, with daily service using its A320s. This doubles the number of routes the carrier operates from Delhi and brings to 18 the total number of routes flown. The most recent market share statistics from the Indian government shows that AirAsia India had 3% of the domestic market in January 2017. In January 2016 the figure was 2.3%.
Launch From To WF Competition
16 February Delhi (DEL) Bagdogra (IXB) 7 SpiceJet (16), GoAir (14), IndiGo (14), Air India (7), Vistara (7), JetKonnect (6)
Pune (PNQ) IndiGo (48), Jet Airways (29), Air India (21), Go Air (21), JetKonnect (13), SpiceJet (13), Vistara (13)
Srinagar (SXR) GoAir (14), IndiGo (14), Air India (7), Jet Airways (7), Vistara (7), SpiceJet (6)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 21 February 2017.

All Nippon Airways launches Tokyo Narita to Mexico City

  • All Nippon Airways (ANA) started its longest route on 15 February when the Star Alliance carrier began daily flights between Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Mexico City (MEX). The 11,249-kilometre route will be flown using the airline’s 787-8s and faces competition from Aeromexico’s five times weekly service. The first flight back from Mexico City to Tokyo took to the skies the following day. When the route was announced last November, Osamu Shinobe, CEO and President of ANA, said: “We are proud to be the first airline to operate direct, daily flights between Japan and Mexico to better serve the growing business and leisure demand between our two countries. We hope our flight will also contribute to a closer bilateral relationship, economic prosperity and cultural exchange.” All Nippon Airways now serves 44 destinations outside of Japan including 11 in China and nine in the US.

Allegiant Air Cleveland

Posing with the cake in Cleveland, which was commisioned to welcome Allegiant Air and its nine new routes this week, are: Fred Szabo, Assistant Director, Cleveland Airport; Krysta Levy, Public Relations Specialist, Allegiant Air; and Todd Payne, Chief of Marketing and Air Service Development, Cleveland Airport.

Cutting the ribbon in Austin-Bergstrom to officially open Allegiant Air’s new routes to Cleveland and St.Pete-Clearwater on 17 February were: Tom Noonan, President and CEO, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau; Courtney Goff, Public Relations Specialist, Allegiant Air; and Patti Edwards, COO of Austin-Bergstrom Airport. A cake was also created for the occasion.

Allentown Airport in Pennsylvania welcomes the arrival of Allegiant Air’s new twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) service from Fort Lauderdale on 15 February. The 1,677-kilometre route will face no direct competition.

  • Allegiant Air this week kick-started its 2017 route expansion by inaugurating 11 new sectors, of which 10 are unique city pairs. Only the airline’s route between Cleveland (CLE) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL) will face direct competition, with three airlines already serving the 1,711-kilometre sector, all with at least a daily service. 15 February was the day that Allegiant Air launched flights from Cleveland, with the carrier introducing nine routes from the airport over the course of three days.“We’re thrilled to begin service today in Cleveland, an emerging market in the Allegiant Air network,” said Jude Bricker, Allegiant COO of the launch from the Ohio airport. “With nine routes beginning this week, and two more being added in the spring, we’re excited to offer so many options to those in the north-east community of Ohio looking to take an affordable, convenient vacation.” The average sector length of Allegiant Air’s new routes is 1,614 kilometres and the average weekly frequency is 2.4. Although OAG schedules indicates that all of Allegiant Air’s new routes will be flown on its MD-83 fleet, some services may be flown on the carrier’s growing fleet of A319s and A320s. 
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
15-Feb Cleveland (CLE) St. Pete-Clearwater (PIE) MD-83 (4)  
Fort Lauderdale (FLL) Allentown (ABE) MD-83 (2)  
16-Feb Cleveland (CLE) Fort Lauderdale (FLL) MD-83 (2) JetBlue Airways (7), Spirit Airlines (7), United Airlines (7)
Jacksonville (JAX) MD-83 (2)  
Orlando Sanford (SFB) MD-83 (3)  
Punta Gorda (PGD) MD-83 (3)  
Savannah (SAV) MD-83 (2)  
17-Feb Austin-Bergstrom (AUS) MD-83 (2)  
New Orleans (MSY) MD-83 (2)  
Phoenix-Mesa (AZA) MD-83 (2)  
St. Pete-Clearwater (PIE) Austin-Bergstrom (AUS) MD-83 (2)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data w/c 21 February 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.

American Airlines Phoenix-Bullhead City

Bullhead City welcomed its first scheduled service in nearly 20 years on 16 February, a daily CRJ 700-operated flight from Phoenix flown by American Airlines. To celebrate, the airport baked not just one, but two cakes! Maybe a cake for each decade it has not been served?

American Airlines was also welcomed to Santa Rosa on 16 February, the airport’s third airline after Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Air. American will offer a daily flight between Phoenix and Santa Rosa on its CRJ 700s.

  • American Airlines introduced two new US airports to its network on 16 February, beginning connections from its Phoenix (PHX) hub to Bullhead City (IFP) in Arizona and Santa Rosa (STS) in California. By launching flights to Bullhead City, American becomes the first carrier in nearly 20 years to offer a scheduled service to the airport. Santa Rosa Airport is already served by Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Air. Flights on the 301-kilometre link to Bullhead City, and the 1,122-kilometre connection to Santa Rosa, will be flown daily on American’s CRJ 700s, with neither route facing direct competition. See how Bullhead City’s FTWA does in the weekly Arch of Triumph competition.

Posing with the cake in Tampa, commissioned to celebrate Delta Air Lines’ new connection from Boston, are: Michael Whaley, Sales Executive, Delta Air Lines; John Tiliacos, VP of Operations and Customer Service, Tampa Airport; Jeff Simonin, GM Delta Air Lines; and Michael Stephens, General Counsel and VP of IT, Tampa Airport. The amazing destination cake had all edible elements including a bottle of Sam Adams beer made out of sugar, along with a cute Boston Terrier on top. Along with cake, passengers on the inaugural Delta flight to Boston were also entertained by the band No Filter which performed songs from famous Boston bands including Aerosmith, Boston, The Doors and New Kids on the Bloc. They also received special giveaways.

  • Delta Air Lines this week debuted five new routes from three airports – Boston (BOS), St. Louis (STL) and Detroit (DTW). The most significant of the airline’s new routes is the connection from Detroit to Iron Mountain (IMT), as this is the only route that the SkyTeam member has launched this week that does not face direct competition. Delta is also not the only airline to launch flights between Boston and Tampa (TPA) this week, as Spirit Airlines inaugurated flights on the day previous to Delta’s inauguration. It should also be noted that all three routes launched from Boston this week face direct competition from JetBlue Airways. The average sector length of Delta’s five new routes is 1,723 kilometres, while the average weekly frequency is 4.8. 
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
17-Feb Boston (BOS) Southwest Florida (RSW) A319 (2) JetBlue Airways (62), Spirit Airlines (14)
Tampa (TPA) A319 (14) JetBlue Airways (28), Spirit Airlines (7)
Detroit (DTW) Iron Mountain (IMT) CRJ2 (6)  
18-Feb Boston (BOS) St. Thomas (STT) B752 (1) JetBlue Airways (14)
St. Louis (STL) Orlando (MCO) CRJ7 (7) Southwest Airlines (28), Frontier Airlines (7)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data w/c 21 February 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.

Fly Corporate began its latest Australian domestic route on 20 February, the 766-kilometre sector between Brisbane and Orange. Pictured at the launch of the service are: Orange Mayor John Davis; Fly Corporate Sales Manager Geoff Woodham; and Orange Councillor Chris Gryllis.

  • Fly Corporate, the Australian regional airline, launched its new interstate domestic service of direct flights between Brisbane (BNE) in Queensland and Orange (OAG) in New South Wales. Beginning 20 February, flights will operate five times weekly Monday through Friday mornings, departing Brisbane at 07:50 and arriving in Orange at 10:50. The return service will depart Orange at 11:25 and arrive in Brisbane at 12:10. Andrew Major, Fly Corporate CEO said he is delighted by the community response to the new route in its regional network. “Our detailed research had identified a strong need for direct flights between Brisbane and Orange, and that’s been confirmed by the strong response from the Orange community since word of the new routes emerged just before Christmas. We’re in Orange today to officially launch the new flights, but I’m very pleased with the level of bookings that are already coming through.” The city pair will face no direct competition and will be operated by Fly Corporate’s 34-seat Saab 340 fleet.

Peach Aviation launches Okinawa to Bangkok route

Passengers on Peach Aviation’s inaugural service from Okinawa to Bangkok were encouraged to post souvenir photos to the airline’s Instagram site. The daily route faces no competition and is the airline’s first route to Thailand.

  • Peach Aviation has launched its first new route of 2017. On 19 February the Japanese LCC began daily flights on the 3,125-kilometre sector between Okinawa (OKA) and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) bringing its route count to 27. The route is not currently flown by any other airline. Approaching its fifth birthday (on 1 March 2017) Peach currently operates a fleet of 18 180-seat A320s, mostly from Osaka Kansai. The airline is growing relatively slowly having added just one aircraft in the last 12 months. Apart from Thailand, the LCC also serves Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan from Okinawa.

Spirit Airlines Boston-Tampa

On 16 February Spirit Airlines commenced flights between Boston and Tampa, with the latter airport welcoming the new service with this Boston-themed four-tier cake. Seen posing with the route launch showstopper are: Greg Forrest, Sr. Business Analyst, Tampa Airport; Beth Zurenko, Director of Real Estate, Tampa Airport; Kari Goetz, Director of Marketing, Tampa Airport; Danny Cooper, Sr. Marketing Manager, Tampa Airport; Edward Garduno, GM Spirit Airlines; and John Tiliacos, VP of Operation and Customer Service, Tampa Airport.

  • Spirit Airlines this week launched its fifth route to Florida from Boston (BOS), inaugurating a daily connection between the Massachusetts city and Tampa (TPA). It already links Boston to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Southwest Florida and Palm Beach. The carrier, which inaugurated flights on 16 February, will operate the 1,907-kilometre sector to Tampa using its A319 fleet. The city pairing is already well served by JetBlue Airways which offers four daily flights, while Delta Air Lines this week has also commenced a twice-daily connection between the two points. With this latest launch, Spirit Airlines now serves Tampa from 13 destinations according to OAG schedules, with many of those being in the north-east of the US, along with Atlanta in Georgia, Houston Intercontinental and Dallas/Fort Worth in Texas, plus Fort Lauderdale in Florida.  

Tampa Airport celebrated with this fantastic cake the start of United Airlines’ daily service to San Francisco. Posing with the baked beauty are: Chris Minner, VP of Marketing, Tampa Airport; Brig. General Chip Diehl, Tampa Airport Board of Directors; Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa Airport; and John Lucht, GM United Airlines. Along with cake, passengers were also treated to a barbecue on the airport apron which even featured a United 777-200 grill! The passengers on the inaugural flight were also sent off with a box of Ghirardelli chocolates, while posters were available as well.

  • United Airlines commenced its latest US coastal connection on 16 February, launching a daily service between San Francisco (SFO) and Tampa (TPA). The 3,841-kilometre sector will be flown by the Star Alliance carrier on a mixture of its short-haul Airbus and Boeing fleets according to OAG schedules, with no airline offering direct competition. “A San Francisco service has long been a top priority for the airport team and our partners,” said Tampa Airport CEO Joe Lopano at the launch. “Working together with our regional economic development groups and tourism bureaus, as well as the persuasiveness of our traveling community, we’ve logged a big win here in Tampa. Since arriving at the airport in 2011, I can’t even count the number of times I have been asked: When will we have a flight to San Francisco? I’m pleased to say that time is now,” Lopano added. Tampa becomes the fourth destination in Florida that is served by United from San Francisco. The airline also links the Californian hub to Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. See how Tampa’s FTWA does in the weekly Arch of Triumph competition.

Vanilla Air launches Tokyo Narita to Osaka Kansai service

  • Vanilla Air joined fellow Japanese LCC Peach Aviation in growing its network this week. Vanilla Air focussed its growth on the domestic market. On 18 February it started a twice-daily service on the 491-kilometre route from Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Osaka Kansai (KIX). The airport pair is already served by Jetstar Japan (32 weekly flights), Peach Aviation (21) and Spring Airlines Japan (14). The following day Vanilla Air began a daily service between Narita and Hakodate (HKD). This 669-kilometre route is not flown by any other carrier, although AirDo, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines all offer multiple daily flights from Tokyo Haneda to Hakodate. Vanilla Air now serves nine destinations from Narita; five in Japan plus Cebu (Philippines), Hong Kong, Kaohsiung and Taipei Taoyuan (both in Taiwan). The LCC’s fleet currently comprises 11 180-seat A320s, three of which joined the airline in 2016.

Volaris Costa Rica San Salvador

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in San Salvador on 20 February to officially open Volaris Costa Rica’s route from San Jose. The airline will offer a daily flight between the two cities, with it joining Avianca on the city pair.

  • Volaris Costa Rica launched its second route on 20 February, a connection from San Jose (SJO) to San Salvador (SAL). The airline first commenced operations on 30 November with a link from San Jose to Guatemala City. Its latest connection will be served daily on its sole A320. The 652-kilometre link between San Jose and San Salvador is already connected by Avianca, with the Star Alliance member offering 30 weekly flights. The route until recently was also served by VECA Airlines, however the El Salvadorean CAA recently suspended its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) for 90 days to allow it time to decide whether or not it wants to continue to operate. The latter airline itself suspended operations in late-January to allow for a restructuring of its operations. See how San Salvador’s FTWA does in the weekly Arch of Triumph competition.

Xiamen Airlines launches Fuzhou to New York JFK

The inaugural crew for Xiamen Airlines’ maiden service from Fuzhou to New York pose for a commemorative picture at Fuzhou Airport on 15 February. This is the SkyTeam member’s second US service as it already serves Seattle-Tacoma from Shenzhen.

  • Xiamen Airlines on 15 February made New York its second destination in the US. On that day the carrier launched a three times weekly service from Fuzhou (FOC) to New York JFK (JFK), a distance of 12,477 kilometres. That’s over 2,000 kilometres longer than the SkyTeam member’s previous longest route between Shenzhen and Seattle-Tacoma, a route it launched last September. No other carrier offers non-stop flights between Fuzhou and the US. Both routes are flown using the airline’s 787-8s. It also uses the same type to support service to Amsterdam and Vancouver.


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