New airline routes launched (28 February 2017 – 6 March 2017)

Tigerair Taiwan’s Kaohsiung to Okinawa

Tigerair Taiwan launches Kaohsiung to Okinawa route

Celebrating the airline’s new route from Kaohsiung to Okinawa with a lovely bunch of flowers are Tigerair Taiwan’s CFO Hansen Lin and Miss Okinawa. The twice-weekly service will compete with China Airlines’ existing twice-weekly service on the 838-kilometre route.

  • Tigerair Taiwan on 4 March introduced its fourth route from Kaohsiung (KHH). On that day the LCC began twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) flights on the 838-kilometre route to Okinawa (OKA) in Japan using its A320s. The route is already flown by China Airlines, also twice-weekly. Tigerair Taiwan already serves Osaka Kansai, Tokyo Narita and Macau from Kaohsiung as well as 13 routes from its main base at Taipei Taoyuan. Two more routes, one each from Taipei and Taichung, are scheduled to start at the end of March. Launched in September 2014 the airline currently operates 10 180-seat A320s, the newest of which joined the fleet in mid-February.

Azul Airlines’ Belo Horizonte to Buenos Aires Ezeiza

Belo Horizonte celebrated with this fantastic cake the start of Azul Airlines’ route to Buenos Aires Ezeiza on 6 March. Helping conduct the cake cutting were Paulo Rangel, CEO of Belo Horizonte Airport, and Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of Azul Airlines. The airport also offered a tango show, Argentinean wine and appetizers to the inaugural passengers. The carrier will offer a daily service on the 2,211-kilometre sector on its fleet of E195s.

To welcome Azul Airlines to Buenos Aires Ezeiza, a ribbon cutting ceremony was performed. This is Azul Airlines’ only route into Buenos Aires Ezeiza and indeed Argentina. It will offer a daily service from Belo Horizonte.

  • Azul Airlines launched its only international route from Belo Horizonte (CNF) on 6 March, a connection to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE), its only link to Argentina. The airline will serve the 2,211-kilometre sector daily on its E195s, with GOL being the only incumbent on the route offering a weekly rotation, a route it started the day before Azul Airlines’ inauguration. “We are living a special moment with the arrival of a great destination like Buenos Aires. We are happy to see this project materialised and we are sure that our customers will be satisfied. I am also sure that we will contribute to the development of the economies of both countries. I thank the Brazilian and Argentine authorities for their support to make this flight possible and I would also like to thank our crew,” said Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of Azul Airlines at the launch. This is not the first time that Azul Airlines has offered international services from Belo Horizonte. When analysing OAG schedules, it shows that between 16 November 2015 and 29 February 2016, the carrier flew between Belo Horizonte and Orlando, a route which hit a daily rotation at its peak. With this latest launch to Ezeiza, Azul Airlines is serving 40+ destinations from Belo Horizonte, with the carrier offering 61,226 weekly one-way seats out of the Brazilian city with an average of 80 daily departures. Belo Horizonte is Azul Airlines’ second largest operation after Sao Paulo Viracopos, with the former occupying 11% of the airline’s weekly departing seat capacity. See how Belo Horizonte and Buenos Aires Ezeiza airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world

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

Despite what it says on the banner, Air France’s new three times weekly service from Paris CDG to Accra started on 28 February and not 1 March. The route becomes the SkyTeam carrier’s 31st destination in Africa.

  • Air France has launched direct flights from its Paris CDG (CDG) hub to Accra (ACC) in Ghana, increasing the airline’s presence in the Europe-Africa market. The carrier is starting the route three times weekly initially operated by its 208-seat A330-200s, but later this month it will switch the aircraft type to its larger 312-seat 777-200s. The Air France-KLM Group now offers 10 flights between Europe and Ghana, with KLM operating daily from its Amsterdam hub. The 4,830-kilometre sector started on 28 February and faces no direct competition.

A ribbon cutting (pulling) ceremony was held to officially welcome Avianca to Iguassu Falls on 6 March. Charging the ceremony were: Gilberto Piola, Superintendent of Social Communication of Itaipu; Tarcisio Gargioni, VP of Avianca Brasil; Frederico Pedreira, CEO of Avianca Brasil; and Lourenço Kuerten, Tourism of Foz do Iguaçu. Once the ribbon had been pulled, it was then time for the four to toast the new service with a fizzy glass of champagne.

  • Avianca launched flights between Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) and Iguassu Falls (IGU) on 6 March. The Star Alliance member will offer a daily service on the 845-kilometre sector on its fleet of A320s. Avianca will face direct competition on the route from LATAM Airlines and GOL, with both combined already offering 38 weekly flights on the airport pair. It should be noted that both LATAM Airlines and GOL also link Iguassu Falls with Sao Paulo Congonhas, while Azul Airlines provides flights between Iguassu Falls and Sao Paulo Viracopos. Overall Avianca’s new link between Guarulhos and Iguassu Falls occupies 9.4% of weekly seats on the city pair, with LATAM having 44%, GOL 34% and Azul Airlines 13%. This is currently Avianca’s only route to Iguassu Falls. However, Frederico Pedreira, CEO of Avianca Brasil, said at the launch that in early May the company will operate two more flights from the airport. One of them will reinforce the link to Guarulhos (meaning service will increase to twice-daily) and the other will be to Rio de Janeiro. Pedreira said the new connection to Rio de Janeiro will be daily. See how Iguassu Falls Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Cathay Dragon’s inaugural service from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur was celebrated at the Malaysian airport with a gift exchange and a cake cutting ceremony. The airline is, in effect, replacing its parent company Cathay Pacific Airways on the route, though its services will continue until the end of April.

  • Cathay Dragon, the new name for Dragonair, has launched twice-daily service between Hong Kong (HKG) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL). The new service, which launched on 1 March, will be flown by the airline’s A330-300s. The 2,541-kilometre sector is already flown by AirAsia (four times daily), Malaysia Airlines (three times daily), Cathay Pacific Airways (13 times weekly) and Malindo Air (daily). Cathay Dragon is, in effect, replacing Cathay Pacific on the route, though its services continue until the end of April according to OAG schedule data. This becomes Cathay Dragon’s third route to Malaysia as it already serves Penang with 11 weekly flights and Kota Kinabalu with five. Speaking at the launch, Anna Choi, Cathay Pacific’s Country Manager for Malaysia and Brunei, said: “The Cathay Pacific Group of airlines, which includes Cathay Dragon, remains committed to grow in the Malaysian market, and will continue to provide the same high level of product and service to our customers travelling between Malaysia, Hong Kong and beyond, to our network of international destinations worldwide.”

Delta Air Lines Marquette Minneapolis-St. Paul

  • Delta Air Lines this week commenced flights between Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) in Minnesota and Marquette (MQT) in Michigan. Scheduled to begin on 1 March, the first service actually took place on 2 March, with the first flight cancelled due to the poor weather conditions at the latter airport (confirmed by data). Delta will offer a daily service on the 481-kilometre sector on its 50-seat CRJ 200s. Facing no direct competition, this becomes Delta’s second connection to Marquette, with it already welcoming 13 weekly flights from Detroit, also flown on the same aircraft type. With this launch, Delta now offers 1,000 weekly one-way seats from Marquette, with the airport’s only other serving carrier being American Airlines which offers 441 weekly seats to Chicago O’Hare. 

Among those on the first flight to Kapalua was Jeanette Magoon, the wife of John Magoon, former CEO of Hawaiian Airlines who helped to build Kapalua Airport 30 years ago. In tribute to the late John Magoon, a memorial wall marking key company accomplishments during his tenure was unveiled at Kapalua Airport. The airline, which resumed flights to Kapalua on 1 March after 20+ years, will offer daily flights from Kahului and twice-daily services from Honolulu.

  • Hawaiian Airlines returned to Kapalua (JHM) in West Maui on 1 March, an airport it has not served in over two decades, with flights from Honolulu (HNL) and Kahului (OGG). Kapalua Airport’s IATA code – JHM – is designated after former Hawaiian Airlines owner and CEO, John H. Magoon, who helped to build the airport which also celebrated its 30th anniversary on the day of Hawaiian Airlines’ return. “Kapalua Airport has played an integral part in our company’s history, and we are delighted to restart service on the 30th anniversary of Hawaiian Airlines’ first flight to West Maui as we continue serving the travel needs of our community,” said Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines’ EVP and CCO. “This daily Kapalua service will complement our existing flights at Kahului Airport and make it even more convenient for kama’āina and visitors alike to visit the Ka’anapali Coast.” The 26-kilometre link from Kahului will depart at 09:55 daily, landing into Kapalua at 10:17. Then the airline will operate from Kapalua to Honolulu, a route 135 kilometres in length, twice-daily, with the first flight leaving at 10:45, arriving back at 12:47. The second daily departure will leave at 13:13, getting back to Kapalua at 15:11. The 48-seat ATR 42, the aircraft of choice for these services, will then operate the return flight to Kahului, with the aircraft leaving Kapalua at 15:40, landing into the former airport at 16:02. Hawaiian Airlines last served Kapalua in 1993 according to the carrier’s press release. While Hawaiian Airlines’ new link from Kahului will face no direct competition, it should be noted that services to Honolulu will go head-to-head with Mokulele Airlines which already provides 63 weekly flights on its nine-seat Cessna Caravans according to OAG schedules. Although Hawaiian will have fewer weekly flights, it will offer more seats, with it having 54% of weekly seats on the sector. The result of the carrier’s arrival on the route means that seat capacity between Kapalua and Honolulu has risen by 118%. See how Kapalua Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

At the launch of SalamAir’s new route between Muscat and Dubai Al Maktoum, the airline’s CEO François Bouteiller said: “We will be announcing multiple new destinations to and from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the coming weeks with the arrival of additional aircraft.” He was joined on stage by some of the airline’s crew and (to his right) Khalid Al Yahmadi, Chairman of SalamAir (left).

  • SalamAir, the Omani LCC, has continued its start-up phase of route launches, with the addition of a twice-daily connection between Muscat (MCT) and Dubai Al Maktoum (DWC) on 28 February. The A320-operated service will switch to Dubai’s main airport on 26 March. While the 347-kilometre connection will not face any direct competition, the indirect frequencies offered by the incumbents between Muscat and Dubai are substantial. Oman Air currently provides 49 weekly flights, flydubai flies 36 times weekly, Emirates 18 times weekly and SWISS operates a daily triangular service which originates in Zurich, for which it has local traffic rights between Dubai and Muscat. SalamAir’s growing network was made possible with the arrival of its second A320, named “Fateh Al Khair”, also allowing it to introduce a third daily flight to Salalah from Muscat. Take a closer look at’s in-depth analysis of Oman’s first LCC. See how Dubai Al Maktoum Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Sat on the apron at Quito Airport on 1 March is tame’s inaugural flight to New York JFK – EQ550. The carrier will link Quito to New York JFK with a daily service on its sole 278-seat A330-200 registered HC-COH. The link between Quito and JFK replaces the carrier’s existing service to the US airport from Guayaquil.

  • tame commenced flights between Quito (UIO), the host of Routes Americas 2018, and New York JFK (JFK) on 1 March. The 4,554-kilometre link replaces the carrier’s existing service between Guayaquil and JFK, a route that the airline launched on 18 March last year. Like the carrier’s Guayaquil-JFK link, tame will operate its newest sector on its sole 278-seat A330-200 registered HC-COH. No other carrier currently links Quito to JFK. JFK becomes the sixth US airport to be served direct from Quito, with American Airlines offering a 15 times weekly link to Miami and a six time weekly link to Dallas/Fort Worth. JetBlue Airways provides an eight times weekly connection from Fort Lauderdale, while Delta Air Lines links Quito with Atlanta, also with eight weekly flights. Finally United Airlines also offers eight weekly flights between its Houston Intercontinental hub and Quito. With tame’s JFK connection, it means that Quito currently has 52 weekly flights to the US.   

US-Bangla Airlines launches Dhaka to Kuala Lumpur service

It may have been gone 02:00 in the morning but that didn’t stop airline and airport representatives celebrating US-Bangla Airlines’ new five times weekly service to Kuala Lumpur from Dhaka with a cake. The airline joins five other carriers serving the market. Between all six carriers, passengers now have a choice of 65 weekly flights between Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur.

  • US-Bangla Airlines on 2 March became the sixth carrier to offer non-stop service between Dhaka (DAC) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL). The airline is offering daily flights from Monday to Friday on the 2,641-kilometre route using its 737-800s. The route is already flown by Malindo Air (three times daily), Malaysia Airlines (twice-daily), Biman Bangladesh Airlines (11 times weekly), AirAsia (daily) and Regent Airways (daily). Departing Dhaka at 20:00 the five times weekly service arrives in Malaysia at 02:00. The return flight departs KL at 03:00 getting back to Bangladesh at 05:00. According to OAG data this becomes the airline’s fourth international route from Dhaka, with Kuala Lumpur joining the line-up of Kathmandu (Nepal), Kolkata (India) and Singapore. See how Kuala Lumpur Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Vistara launches Delhi to Amritsar service

There was a traditional lamp-lighting ceremony at Amritsar Airport to mark the launch of Vistara’s arrival on 1 February. The full-service carrier will operate daily flights competing with Air India, Jet Airways and SpiceJet who between them already offer nine daily flights on the 414-kilometre route.

  • Vistara has made Amritsar (ATQ) its latest destination. On 1 February the Indian full-service carrier began daily flights on the 414-kilometre route from Delhi (DEL) using its A320s, of which it now has 13. This new service faces competition from three carriers who operate a total of nine daily flights; Air India and Jet Airways four each and SpiceJet one. Commenting on Amritsar’s potential and congratulating Vistara on the launch of the new service, Prakash Singh Badal, Honourable Chief Minister of Punjab, said: “It is very heartening to see Amritsar expanding its air connectivity across the length and breadth of the country and to the world. Introduction of the new flights from Amritsar to Delhi by Vistara will definitely help not only the people of the state, but all countrymen who travel within the country and overseas. It will truly help Punjab harness its industrial, tourism, religious as well as business growth potential. I congratulate Vistara on the launch of this new service to and from Amritsar, and wish the airline great success.” Vistara now serves 15 destinations non-stop from Delhi where it now operates just over 6% of domestic flights, well behind IndiGo (33.6%), Jet Airways (18.5%) and Air India (16.8%).

Volaris’ inaugural service to Milwaukee (from Guadalajara) was celebrated with a cake, a plaque, a ribbon cutting ceremony and musicians. The twice-weekly service departs the Wisconsin airport just after midnight which explains why there’s no daylight in any of these pictures.

  • Volaris in the last week launched three new links between Mexico and the US. On 1 March the LCC launched new links from Mexico City (MEX) to Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and New York JFK (JFK). Both of these routes are already served by Aeromexico, Interjet and one US carrier. The most interesting new route was started on 2 March between Guadalajara (GDL) and Milwaukee (MKE), the carrier’s first service to the Wisconsin airport. It is also the only one of the airline’s three new US routes which does not face any direct competition. With these developments Volaris has grown its share of the Mexico to US market to 9.2% as measured by seat capacity. This ranks the carrier fifth behind American Airlines (20.1%), United Airlines (19.3%), Delta Air Lines (14.1%) and Aeromexico (10.7%), but ahead of Southwest Airlines (6.9%) and Interjet (5.6%).
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
1 March Mexico City (MEX) Houston (IAH) A320 (4) United Airlines (47), Aeromexico (28), Interjet (12)
New York (JFK) A320 (7) Aeromexico (28), Interjet (19), Delta Air Lines (7)
2 March Guadalajara (GDL) Milwaukee (MKE) A32S (2)  
Source:’s New Route Database. OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 7 April 2017. WF = Weekly frequencies.


  1. Jerzy Jemiolo says:

    LOT Polish Airlines started two routes last week, both from WAW to IEG (Zielona Gora, in western Poland) and IEV (the secondary Kiev’s airport). IEG is served 5 times weekly and IEV 6 times, which will increase to daily in the summer schedule.

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