New airline routes launched (11 April 2017 – 17 April 2017)

Uzbekistan Airways’ Tashkent to Dushanbe  

Uzbekistan Airways Dushanbe

Uzbekistan Airways’ first flight to Dushanbe, the capital of neighbouring Tajikistan, carried only 29 passengers on an A320 on 11 April. The inaugural flight, seen here taxiing onto stand in Dushanbe with a Somon Air 737-300 parked next to it, was supposed to have taken place a week earlier. This is the first time the two countries have been connected by a regular air service in 25 years.

  • Uzbekistan Airways has begun twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) flights from Tashkent (TAS) to Dushanbe (DYU) in Tajikistan. The first flight on the relatively short 717-kilometre sector was supposed to take place on Tuesday 4 April but was cancelled due to a lack of bookings. So the inaugural flight instead took place on 11 April using an A320, with local media reporting that the first flight transported 29 passengers to Dushanbe and 12 on the return leg to Tashkent. Despite being neighbours these two countries have not had direct air services between each other for 25 years due to political issues. Driving between the two capitals takes around nine hours and involves a border crossing. In the near future Tajikistan’s Somon Air is likely to start service on the route as well, also with a twice-weekly frequency. According to OAG schedules Uzbekistan Airways currently serves 41 international and 10 domestic destinations from its Tashkent hub. Of the international routes 14 are to destinations in Russia. The other 27 international routes are spread across 20 other countries. The airline’s fleet currently comprises 26 aircraft including 10 A320s, five 757-200s, nine 767-300s and two 787-8s, with both entering service with the airline in 2016.

Ural Airlines Sochi/Adler to Tel Aviv

Sochi Airport celebrated with this fantastic cake the start of Ural Airlines’ twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) service to Tel Aviv on 13 April. The route will be flown on the airline’s fleet of A320s, with flights expected to operate year-round.

  • Ural Airlines has this week begun a new service between Sochi/Adler (AER) and Tel Aviv (TLV). Launched 13 April, the carrier will offer twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) flights on the 1,347-kilometre sector to Israel and faces no direct competition. When referring to OAG schedules, this is currently the only international route that Ural Airlines provides from Sochi, with its five other routes from the Russian city all being domestic connections. In total the airline now offers 28 weekly flights from Sochi. The route to Tel Aviv is scheduled to operate year-round. See how Sochi/Adler Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

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

AirAsia India Ranchi

AirAsia India commenced flights to Ranchi from both Delhi and Kolkata on 15 April, routes that will both be flown twice-daily on its A320s . In total the airline now serves 15 airports in India with the addition of Ranchi and Kolkata.

  • AirAsia India added two new destinations to its network on 15 April. On that day the LCC began twice-daily flights from Ranchi (IXR) to both Delhi (DEL) and Kolkata (CCU). Ranchi and Kolkata become the airline’s 14th and 15th airports on its all-domestic network. The 327-kilometre sector between the two airports is already served twice-daily by IndiGo. The 1,006-kilometre route between Ranchi and Delhi is already served by three other carriers; IndiGo (with four daily flights), GoAir (two daily flights) and Air India (daily flights). In total AirAsia India now operates 20 domestic routes on its fleet of eight A320s. Its busiest airports are Bengaluru and Delhi from which it offers 102 and 97 weekly departures respectively.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Wichita Airport on 13 April to officially open Alaska Airlines’ new daily service from Seattle-Tacoma, while a cake was also made for passengers to enjoy. The route will face no direct competition.

Alaska Airlines

Passengers disembark the inaugural flight from Seattle-Tacoma to San Luis Obispo in California on 13 April. The 1,362-kilometre link from Seattle-Tacoma will be flown daily facing no direct competition.

  • Alaska Airlines on 13 April commenced two routes from Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) – San Luis Obispo (SBP) and Wichita (ICT). Both 1,362- and 2,295-kilometre links will be flown by Alaska Airlines daily on its fleet of 76-seat E175s facing no direct competition. With these two launches, Alaska Airlines at the start of S17 serves 77 domestic routes from Seattle-Tacoma on over 1,800 weekly flights according to OAG schedules. Located roughly mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport’s other scheduled services are with American Airlines to Phoenix and with United Airlines to Los Angeles and San Francisco. A further new route to Denver with United is scheduled to start in June. Both San Luis Obispo and Wichita are new airports for Alaska Airlines. This means that the carrier now serves 110 airports in total, of which 94 are in the US, eight are in Mexico, five in Canada, two in Costa Rica and one in Cuba. See how Wichita Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Oradea Airport in Romania welcomed Blue Air’s new twice-weekly service from Turin on 13 April. To celebrate, the airport baked this splendid cake which was cut by Vlad Cristescu, Senior Network Development Executive, Blue Air, and Pasztor Sandor, President Bihor Country Council. The route will be flown twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) on the airline’s 737-500s according to OAG schedules.

Blue Air Turin Oradea

On 13 April Blue Air commenced its latest route from Turin – Oradea in Romania. In celebration of the first flight, passengers were handed cupcakes while boarding. The route will be flown twice-weekly facing no direct competition.

  • Blue Air has commenced its latest route from Turin (TRN) this week – Oradea (OMR) in Romania. The 1,115-kilometre sector, launched 13 April, will be served by the carrier twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) on its fleet of 737-500s according to OAG schedules, with no other airlines serving the sector. With this launch, it means that the airline is operating 14 routes from Turin at the start of the S17 season, of which seven are domestic, on 91 weekly flights. Along with Oradea, it also links to Bacau and Bucharest in Romania from Turin. The Romanian carrier also links the Italian city to Berlin Schönefeld, Copenhagen, London Luton and Madrid. From Oradea, this is Blue Air’s first international link, with it currently only connecting the Romanian city to Bucharest. A third route to Oradea from Constanta will begin on 15 June. See how Oradea Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

British Airways’ London City to Milan Linate  

British Airways launched flights from London City to Milan Linate on 23 April. To celebrate the inaugural service, three models from Model Students – Diana Rimshelis, Chantelle Fan and Addis Miller – posed on the runway at London City with one of the airline’s E190s, with the shot being back dropped by the iconic Canary Wharf, hoping one day to walk the fashion runways of Milan. Model Students represents bright, confident young models from across the UK. Founded at The University of Nottingham in 2010, Model Students nurture their models to look good through a healthy attitude towards body image.

  • British Airways linked airport and fashion runways this week, as it commenced a 12 times weekly service from London City (LCY) to Milan Linate (LIN) on 23 April. Luke Hayhoe, British Airways’ GM Customer and Commercial, said: “As our new service links two of the greatest fashion cities in the world it was fitting to ask these young models to help us celebrate the launch of flights to Milan. This is a very exciting new route for us as it will appeal to both business and leisure customers. The flights compliment the British Airways Heathrow service, offering our customers more choice with well-timed flights to Linate, Milan’s most central airport.” Bernard Lavelle, Sales Director at London City Airport, said: “Milan and London share financial hub status and cultural importance as global centres for fashion and design, with British Airways’ service between London City and Milan Linate playing an important role in connecting the two, for passengers travelling for business or pleasure. With our close proximity to central London and quick check-in and arrivals, passengers will find that choosing London City to fly can offer the fastest and most convenient way from Canary Wharf to the Italian Stock Exchange or St Paul’s Cathedral to Milan’s Duomo.” All flights will operate on BA’s E190s and face Alitalia’s 29 times weekly service on the same airport pair. 

Finnair Reykjavik/Keflavik

Reykjavik/Keflavik celebrated with a ribbon cutting the start of Finnair flights from Helsinki on 11 April. Seen cutting the ribbon are: Hlynur Sigurdsson, Terminal Director, Reykjavik/Kelfavik Airport; Robert Lönnblad, GM Scandinavia, Finnair; and Gretar Mar Gardarsson, Project Manager Business & Route Development, Reykjavik/Keflavik Airport.

  • Finnair has added Iceland to its European network this week, starting a four times weekly service between Helsinki (HEL) and Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF). “Iceland is a fantastic destination, and we are very pleased to be able to offer this exciting route to our customers. We are also happy to make Iceland part of our network connecting travellers from all over the world,” said Robert Lönnblad, GM Scandinavia, Finnair at the launch. Launched on 11 April, the oneworld carrier will operate the 2,441-kilometre sector utilising a mixture of its single-aisle Airbus fleet. The route is already flown by Icelandair eight times weekly according to OAG schedules. With this launch, Reykjavik/Keflavik becomes Finnair’s most westerly European destination. With Reykjavik/Keflavik’s longitude being 22°55’83” W, it beats Funchal, which has a longitude of 16°92’41” W, to take the title. See how Reykjavik/Keflavik Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Lufthansa Heringsdorf

Parking up on stand in Heringsdorf after having received a water arch salute is Lufthansa’s inaugural service from Frankfurt. The Star Alliance carrier will operate a weekly (Saturdays) service on the 573-kilometre sector on its CRJ 900s.

  • Lufthansa has begun flights between Frankfurt (FRA) and Heringsdorf (HDF) this week. Launched 15 April, the Star Alliance member will operate a weekly (Saturdays) service on the 573-kilometre route on its CRJ 900s. No other carrier currently connects the two airports. With this launch, the German flag carrier now serves 15 domestic routes from Frankfurt on over 660 weekly flights this summer. Located on the island of Usedom (the majority of which belongs to Germany and the remainder to Poland), Heringsdorf also welcomes flights this summer from Düsseldorf and Stuttgart with Eurowings, from Linz with Austrian Airlines and from Basel with SkyWork Airlines. See how Heringsdorf Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Mistral Air Marseille Florence

Seen holding the promotion board highlighting the new service between Florence and Marseille are: Mistral Air Captain, Vittorio Sassani; Ground Post Holder, Laura Salvatelli; and Laurent Dubosc, Network Development Business Manager, Marseille Airport. Launched 13 April, Mistral Air will offer a twice-weekly service on the city pairing.

  • Mistral Air launched flights between Florence (FLR) and Marseille (MRS) on 13 April. Served twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) on the carrier’s ATR 72-500s, the 483-kilometre link will face no direct competition. When referring to OAG schedules, the carrier also offers twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) flights between Florence and Nice. With this launch, Marseille is now connected to eight destinations in Italy, with Florence joining Catania, Milan Linate, Milan Malpensa, Naples, Palermo, Rome Fiumicino and Venice Marco Polo. In total there are 40 weekly flights between Marseille and Italy at the start of S17. See how Marseille Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

SalamAir Jeddah

A cake was made to mark the start of SalamAir flights to Jeddah on 16 April. The route will be flown by the carrier four times weekly on its A320s. With this launch SalamAir now serves three destinations from its Muscat base.

  • SalamAir has now added Jeddah (JED) to its expanding route map, with the carrier beginning four times weekly flights from Muscat (MCT). Launched on 16 April, Jeddah joins Salalah and Dubai Al Maktoum on the airline’s network. Flown on the carrier’s A320s, of which it currently has three, SalamAir will face direct competition on the 1,970-kilometre sector between Muscat and Jeddah from Oman Air (four times daily) and Saudi Arabian Airlines (twice-weekly). The airline in a press release has stated that it has plans to launch routes to Pakistan within the month which will include services to Multan, Sialkot and Karachi. In addition, plans are underway to increase connectivity to Saudi Arabia by introducing direct flights from Muscat to Taif. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an important extension to our network to meet the strong demand for low-cost travel,” said Khalid Al Yahmadi, SalamAir Chairman. “We are offering greater flexibility and choice to guests travelling on these routes for leisure, business and religious purposes. These new flights will open new tourism, trade and investment opportunities, contributing to the Omani economy by attracting more tourists and business travellers and in turn spur the creation of employment opportunities in the Sultanate.” Take a closer look at’s in-depth analysis of SalamAir, Oman’s first LCC. See how Jeddah Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

SpiceJet launches Delhi to Bangkok route

  • SpiceJet has launched its second route to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) with the introduction on 15 April of a six times weekly service from Delhi (DEL). The carrier already serves the Thai capital with daily flights from Kolkata. Looking at data, the carrier until 14 March also operated a daily flight between Chennai and Bangkok, a route that began on 11 December 2015 according to OAG schedules. The 2,943-kilometre route from Delhi, the airline’s second longest, is already operated by Thai Airways (19 weekly flights), Jet Airways (14 weekly flights) and Air India (daily). This brings to 18 the number of international routes the airline operates (to a total of just seven destinations), of which 14 are flown on the carrier’s 737-800s and four on its Q400s. This new route is operated by SpiceJet on its Boeing fleet. On routes between India and Thailand SpiceJet now accounts for 6% of seat capacity, well behind Thai Airways (42%), Jet Airways (16%) and Thai AirAsia (11%), as well as trailing behind Air India (8%) and IndiGo (6.1%). This summer SpiceJet will serve 26 destinations non-stop from Delhi on over 320 weekly departures. Just three of the routes are international – Bangkok, Dubai and Kabul. In the past the carrier has also served Guangzhou, Kathmandu and Riyadh from Delhi. 

Turkish Airlines commenced flights to Samara on 11 April, the Star Alliance member’s 10th destination in Russia. To celebrate the launch a cake cutting ceremony was held, while a press conference was conducted by: Ahmet Olmushtur, CMO Turkish Airlines; Constantine Bylinin, Executive Director, Samara Airport; and Mikhail Maltsev, Head of Samara Region Tourism Department. Turkish Airlines will serve Samara with three weekly flights.

  • Turkish Airlines has now added Samara (KUF) to its extensive international network, with the Star Alliance member beginning three times weekly (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) flights from Istanbul Atatürk (IST). Inaugurated on 11 April, the Turkish flag carrier will serve the 2,115-kilometre sector on its 737-800s according to OAG schedules, with Atlasglobal providing the direct competition with its twice-weekly operation. Onur Air is set to become the third carrier to connect the two airports in May. With this launch, Turkish now serves 10 cities in Russia with 62 weekly flights, with Samara joining Ekaterinurg, Kazan, Moscow Vnokovo, Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Stavropol, Ufa and Voronezh on the carrier’s route map. Samara was Russia’s 12th busiest airport in 2016 handling 2.1 million passengers, a drop of 5% compared with 2015. Other European flag carriers to serve the airport are Aeroflot, Czech Airlines and Finnair. See how Samara Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

A press conference was held after the inaugural Ukraine International Airlines flight between Kiev Boryspil and Kherson on 14 April. Seen speaking at the event is Andrey Gordeev, Head of the Kherson Regional State Administration. The airline will offer a daily service between the Ukrainian capital and Kherson.

  • Ukraine International Airlines commenced its latest domestic route from Kiev Boryspil (KBP) on 14 April, a 423-kilometre link to Kherson (KHE), a city in the south of the country on the Black Sea coast. Flown daily on ERJ 145s operated by regional carrier Dniproavia, the city pairing faces no direct competition. With this launch, Ukraine International Airlines now serves seven domestic routes from Boryspil on 88 weekly flights according to OAG schedules. Along with Ukraine International Airlines, Kherson Airport is also served by Turkish Airlines which offers 10 weekly flights from Istanbul Atatürk. See how Kherson Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Wizz Air Lviv

Wizz Air returned to Lviv on 12 April after a two-year hiatus with a twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) service from Wroclaw in Poland. The carrier last served the airport on 26 April 2015 as Wizz Air Ukraine. Along with Wroclaw, the airline will add flights to Lviv from Berlin Schönefeld on 18 June.

  • Wizz Air returned to Lviv (LWO) on 12 April with flights from Wroclaw (WRO). The carrier last served the Ukrainian city on 26 April 2015 as Wizz Air Ukraine according to OAG schedules. Flights from the Polish city will be operated twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) on the airline’s A320s. It should be noted that although the airline will operate the 520-kilometre route twice-weekly, during its first week of operation a Thursday flight was also flown. Following this route launch, a second route to Lviv from Berlin Schönefeld is scheduled to begin 18 June. Along with this new connection a route between Budapest (BUD) and Lamezia Terme (SUF) was also inaugurated. Also flown twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays), the 978-kilometre Hungary–Italy city pairing will face no direct competition and also be flown on A320s. This summer the ULCC will serve 59 destinations from the Hungarian capital up from 47 last summer. See how Lviv Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world


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