New airline routes launched (13 June 2017 – 19 June 2017)

Norwegian’s Edinburgh to Hartford, Providence and Stewart

Norwegian’s Edinburgh passengers were treated to a US-themed gate area with a specially designed cake, New York style bagels and American style snacks and refreshments before boarding the aircraft to Stewart. Europe’s third largest LCC first began operations at Edinburgh in 2009 and has since flown more than 1.3 million passengers to Scandinavia and Europe. The new Edinburgh base joins London Gatwick to become Norwegian’s second UK base. Doing the first flight honours were: Edinburgh Airport Chairman Sir John Elvidge; Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos; and Minister for International Development, Dr Alasdair Allan.

On 15 June, Norwegian commenced the first of three new transatlantic 737-operated routes from Edinburgh – namely daily flights to Stewart in New York State. There we two big cakes as well as a load of cup cakes for the inaugural flight’s passengers, crew and VIPs to enjoy.

The following day the LCC began four times weekly services from the Scottish capital city to Providence, Rhode Island, the airline’s first route to the US airport. Operations from Belfast International, Bergen, Cork, Dublin and Shannon will begin later in the summer.

The UK’s only direct service to Hartford, Connecticut, in the heart of New England, was launched by Norwegian on 17 June. The 5,057-kilometre sector from Edinburgh will be flown three times weekly.

Back on the airline’s main stomping ground, the intra-European market, it also started two further sectors this week, with celebrations, including this towering cake, being held in Montpellier for the start of the LCC’s new service from Stockholm Arlanda.

  • Norwegian commenced the first of three new transatlantic routes from Edinburgh (EDI) on 15 June – namely to Stewart (SWF) on 15 June, Providence (PVD) on 16 June, and Hartford (BDL) on 17 June. All of these routes were meant to be the first to be operated by the airline’s still-to-arrive 737 MAX 8s, instead the airline used its more regular 737-800s (namely EI-FJS and FJT, according to instead. Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “I’m very pleased to mark this major milestone which gives passengers in Edinburgh and Scotland the opportunity to travel to the US at truly affordable fares. Consumers have responded positively to our affordable fares on both sides of the Atlantic which is stimulating increased tourism and business travel to and from Scotland. Not only is Norwegian transforming transatlantic travel by connecting smaller cities in huge catchment areas, but we’re also unlocking affordable direct high quality travel to a new market of travellers. As such, Edinburgh is important to our future UK growth and it will allow us to create more Scottish jobs at Norwegian which in turn benefits the workforce of Scotland’s tourism industry. Chairman, Edinburgh Airport, Sir John Elvidge said: “We are delighted to welcome the launch of these pioneering services by Norwegian to North America. Like Norwegian, we are committed to providing our passengers with choice and the partnership is delivering just these. The new routes give Scots far more options when wanting to travel to the US. Equally, we’re looking forward to welcoming the great many American tourists who will use these routes to visit Scotland.” It was business as usual elsewhere in Europe for the LCC, as it linked Northern and Southern Europe with two more new routes this week. See how Stewart and Hartford airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
15-Jun Edinburgh (EDI) Stewart (SWF) B73S (7)  
16-Jun Providence (PVD) B73S (4)  
17-Jun Hartford (BDL) B73S (3)  
London Gatwick (LGW) Rhodes (RHO) B738 (1) easyJet (6), Thomson Airways (5), Thomas Cook Airlines (3), British Airways (2), Monarch Airlines (1)
19-Jun Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) Montpellier (MPL) B738 (2)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 20 June. WF = Weekly frequencies.

Blue Air’s Iasi to Constanta, Florence and Glasgow

Iasi Airport

Iasi Airport baked this five-tiered cake to celebrate the start of Blue Air’s new routes to Glasgow, Florence, Constanta and Valencia (launched 4 June), while flights to Milan Bergamo and Munich have also begun. With these launches, Blue Air now serves 17 destinations from Iasi, of which four are domestic.

Blue Air Helsinki

Seen cutting the cake in Helsinki, one of three new airports to join Blue Air’s network this week, are: Vlad Cristescu, Senior Network Development Executive, Blue Air; Ville Haapasaari, Director of Helsinki Airport, Finavia; and Razvan Rotundu, Romanian Ambassador to Finland. Blue Air will connect Bucharest to Helsinki with three weekly flights.

Blue Air Glasgow

Glasgow Airport welcomed the inaugural Blue Air flight from Iasi on 17 June. For Blue Air this is its second route to Glasgow after Bucharest. Seen on the tarmac with the flight crew of the first Iasi service is Paul White, Business Development Manager, Glasgow Airport. Flights from Iasi will operate twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays).

  • Blue Air has strengthened its network this week by introducing three new airports to its schedule – Helsinki (HEL), Oslo Gardermoen (OSL) and Munich (MUC). “We are elated to introduce Helsinki, an economic powerhouse that supports a mix of both business and leisure traffic, to our fast-growing Bucharest network,” comments Vlad Cristescu, Senior Network Development Executive, Blue Air. The Scandinavian capitals will both be served from Bucharest (OTP) while the Bavarian gateway will see three times weekly flights from Iasi (IAS). What is significant is that of the 10 routes that have been launched by Blue Air this week, four are domestic connections from Constanta (CND), the carrier’s newest base. Only one of the 10 routes will face direct competition, with the link between Iasi and Milan Bergamo (BGY) going head-to-head with Wizz Air. The average weekly frequency of the new services is 2.3, while the average sector length is 1,199 kilometres. See how Bucharest, Iasi, Milan Bergamo and Helsinki airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
15-Jun Bucharest (OTP) Oslo Gardermoen (OSL) B737 (3)  
Constanta (CND) Cluj-Napoca (CLJ) B735 (2)  
Timisoara (TSR)  
Iasi (IAS) Florence (FLR) B737 (3)  
Milan Bergamo (BGY) Wizz Air (3)
Munich (MUC) B734 (3)  
16-Jun Bucharest (OTP) Helsinki (HEL) B737 (3)  
17-Jun Iasi (IAS) Glasgow (GLA) B737 (2)  
19-Jun Constanta (CND) Iasi (IAS) B735 (1)  
Oradea (OMR)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 20 June 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.

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

Air Arabia Maroc Strasbourg

Strasbourg Airport welcomed the arrival of Air Arabia Maroc’s first flight from Fez on 16 June. The carrier will operate the 1,930-kilometre sector twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) on its fleet of A320s.

  • Air Arabia Maroc has introduced eight new routes from Fez (FEZ) this week. Before launching flights to Amsterdam (AMS),  Barcelona (BCN), Brussels (BRU), London Gatwick (LGW), Lyon (LYS), Marrakech (RAK), Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Strasbourg (SXB) this week, the only destinations that Air Arabia Maroc linked to Fez were: Bordeaux; Montpellier; Paris CDG; and Toulouse. The most significant route to be launched is the 385-kilometre link to Marrakech, marking the airline’s first domestic service in Morocco. The average weekly frequency of the eight routes launched from Fez this week is two, while the average sector length is 1,723 kilometres. All flights will operate on the carrier’s fleet of A320s. See how Barcelona, Lyon and Strasbourg airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
14-Jun Fez (FEZ) Amsterdam (AMS) A320 (2)  
Brussels (BRU)  
London Gatwick (LGW) A320 (1)  
15-Jun Lyon (LYS) A320 (2)  
Rome Fiumicino (FCO)  
16-Jun Marrakech (RAK) A320 (3)  
Strasbourg (SXB) A320 (2)  
18-Jun Barcelona (BCN) Ryanair (3), Vueling (1)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 20 June 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.

Pedro Serrahima, DG of Globalia, which owns Spanish airline Air Europa, was on-hand to cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark the start of services from its Madrid hub to Boston on 14 June. The SkyTeam carrier now offers a network of 44 destinations from its biggest base.

  • Air Europa, which already flies daily to New York JFK and Miami from its Madrid (MAD) hub, commenced its third US destination on 14 June, with the addition of a three times weekly operation to Boston (BOS). Flight UX 31 will be flown by the SkyTeam carrier’s A330-200 fleet, and will face direct competition from Iberia, which serves the 5,470-kilometre sector on a daily basis.  

Air Transat Tel Aviv

Cutting the cake in Tel Aviv, baked to mark the arrival of Air Transat’s new service from Montreal, are: Ziv Nevo Kulman, Israeli Consul General in Montreal and Permanent Representative to ICAO; Gilles Ringwald, Commercial VP, Air Transat; Gideon Thaler TAL Aviation CEO; Amir Halevi, Director, General Ministry of Tourism; and Ralph Jansen, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Canada in Tel Aviv. Air Transat will operate the route twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays).

  • Air Transat launched its longest route on 18 June, a connection between Montreal (YUL) and Tel Aviv (TLV). At 8,797 kilometres, the city pair overtakes the 8,122-kilometre link between Toronto Pearson and Athens to take the prestigious title of being the airline’s longest sector. Air Transat will link the Canadian and Israeli cities twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) on its fleet of A330-200s according to OAG schedules. Air Transat is not the only entrant into this market during June, as Air Canada will itself inaugurate the city pairing on 22 June, with it planning to operate the link on its A330-300s twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays). 

Eastar Jet begins Seoul Incheon to Da Nang service.

On 14 June Eastar Jet became carrier number eight on the route between Seoul Incheon and Da Nang in Vietnam. The 2,980-kilometre sector will be flown using the LCC’s 737-800s.

  • Eastar Jet has become the eighth carrier to offer scheduled flights between Seoul Incheon (ICN) and Da Nang (DAD) in Vietnam. On 14 June the LCC began operating 13 times weekly on the 2,980-kilometre sector using its 737-800s. The route is already flown by Jeju Airlines and Jin Air (both 14 times weekly), t’way air (nine times weekly), Asiana Airlines, Korean Air and VietJetAir (all daily), and Vietnam Airlines (five times weekly). Eastar Jet will serve 12 destinations from the Korean capital this summer including Hanoi in Vietnam which it started operating last November.

Ellinair inaugurated flights to Cluj-Napoca on 15 June, with the airport baking a splendid cake to mark the arrival of its latest carrier. A ribbon cutting was also conducted by various airport and airline representatives. The 698-kilometre route will be served by the airline weekly (Thursdays) until 28 September.

  • Ellinair this week began flights between Thessaloniki (SKG) and Cluj-Napoca (CLJ). Launched 15 June, the 698-kilometre sector will be served by the airline weekly (Thursdays) throughout summer until 28 September. Facing no direct competition, the airport pairing will be flown by the airline on its fleet of 96-seat Avro RJ85s. Cluj-Napoca becomes Ellinair’s second destination in Romania from Thessaloniki after Bucharest. Overall this summer Ellinair is operating 74 weekly flights from Thessaloniki to 35 destinations according to OAG schedules, with the leading route being the domestic connection to Athens which occupies 13% of the airline’s weekly seat capacity from Greece’s second city. See how Cluj-Napoca Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Ready for take-off on Eurowings’ new service from Munich to Weeze were: Herman Buurman, Chairman of the Board, Weeze Airport; Alfons van Ooyen, Mayor of Weeze; Wolfgang Spreen, Representative from District of Kleve; Michael Knitter MD Eurowings; and Ludger van Bebber, MD Weeze Airport.

  • Eurowings added another spoke to its burgeoning Munich (MUC) hub, now up to 30 destinations according to OAG schedule data, by adding its second domestic route to Weeze (NRN). Utilising germanwings equipment, the carrier also flies to Dortmund on a 17 times weekly basis. From 14 June the 11 times weekly operation to Weeze, will be flown by the LCC’s A320 fleet. The 541-kilometre sector will face no direct competition. This new route appears to replace the LCC’s 488-kilometre Geneva service, launched on 31 March, which was suspended on 16 June. Lufthansa still operates multiple daily flights between Munich and Geneva with easyJet (which only launched its own service last October) also connecting the two airports. See how Weeze Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Philippines AirAsia launches Cebu to Kalibo route.

Passengers on Philippines AirAsia’s inaugural service from Kalibo were greeted at Cebu Airport with this colourful banner. The daily service will face competition from the country’s two biggest carriers Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines.

  • Philippines AirAsia (once known as Zest Air and also AirAsia Zest) chose Monday 19 June as the day to launch two new domestic links from Kalibo (KLO). On the 620-kilometre link to Davao it faces no competition but on the shorter 232-kilometre route to Cebu (CEB) the airline will face competition from Cebu Pacific Air (17 weekly flights) and Philippine Airlines (16 weekly flights). The LCC already serves two other domestic destinations (Clark and Manila) from Kalibo as well as Busan and Seoul Incheon in South Korea and Shanghai in China. The airline’s fleet currently stands at 16 A320 aircraft.

Sichuan Airlines launches Chengdu to Auckland route

We reckon that’s an impressive 44 people posing behind the welcome banner at Auckland Airport to mark the arrival of Sichuan Airlines’ new non-stop service from Chengdu. The airline becomes the sixth carrier from China to offer non-stop flights to the New Zealand airport.

  • Sichuan Airlines on 13 June launched its 11th long-haul route. The carrier now connects Chengdu (CTU) and Auckland (AKL) in New Zealand with three times weekly non-stop flights using its A330-200s. No other carrier connects these two airports which are 10,515 kilometres apart. It is the airline’s first route to New Zealand and fifth long-haul route from Chengdu, with the others being Dubai, Melbourne, Moscow and Prague. For Auckland it marks the sixth destination in China to be served non-stop from the airport after Beijing (with Air China), Chongqing (with Tianjin Airlines), Guangzhou (with China Southern Airlines), Shanghai (with Air New Zealand and China Eastern Airlines) and Shenzhen (with Hainan Airlines). Scott Tasker, Auckland Airport’s acting GM – Aeronautical Commercial, said of the new route: “New Zealand now exports over $12 billion worth of goods and services to China a year, making it our second largest trading partner after Australia. The increased cargo capacity that Sichuan Airlines will provide between Chengdu and Auckland will enable further growth in the trade of high value goods between New Zealand and China.” See how Auckland Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Seen conducting the cutting of the cake in Budapest to welcome Ukraine International Airlines to the Hungarian capital are: Jost Lammers, CEO, Budapest Airport; Toeodóra Bán, Director Executive, BFTK Budapest Festival and Tourism Centre; Yuri Miroshniko, President, Ukraine International Airlines; and Nepop Luibov, Ambassador of Ukraine in Hungary. Lammers, Miroshnikov and Luibov were then joined by Dr. Ernő Keskeny, Hungarian Ambassador to Ukraine, to cut the ribbon. Ukraine International Airlines will operate the Ukraine-Hungary capital connection daily on its 737-800s.

  • Ukraine International Airlines has made Budapest (BUD) its latest European connection, with the airline now offering a daily service to the Hungarian capital from Kiev Boryspil (KBP). Launched on 15 June, the 908-kilometre Ukraine–Hungary capital connection will be flown on the airline’s 737-800s. “With transfers now made possible from Kiev to Almaty, Amman, Bangkok and Tehran, local travellers will also have convenient connections through our newest carrier’s global network,” explains Jost Lammers, CEO, Budapest Airport at the route launch. Although this airport pairing will not face direct competition, Budapest is already connected to the Ukrainian capital, with Wizz Air offering a daily service between Kiev Zhulyany and the Hungarian capital. With this launch, Ukraine International Airlines now serves 45 destinations in Europe from Boryspil on over 480 weekly flights. See how Budapest Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Passengers on board the inaugural flight between Palma de Mallorca and Jerez on 15 June were treated to the taste of Cádiz upon arrival.

  • Vueling has added two more sectors to its domestic network in the last seven days, with two new sectors from Palma de Mallorca (PMI), its fourth biggest operation after Barcelona, Rome Fiumicino and Paris Orly. On 15 June, the IAG-owned subsidiary started a three times weekly rotation to Jerez (XRY). The next day it began a similar frequency on the 393-kilometre city pair to Zaragoza (ZAZ). Both sectors will be flown by the airline’s A320 fleet, with the latter route to Zaragoza facing direct competition from Air Europa (three times weekly) and Volotea (twice-weekly). This summer Vueling will serve 26 destinations non-stop from Palma de Mallorca. This is one more than last summer. However, while five new destinations have been added (the others being Florence, Lille and Zurich), four have been dropped: Algiers, Brussels, Catania and Turin. See how Jerez and Zaragoza airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world

Wizz Air Craiova Tel Aviv

Wizz Air began flights between Craiova in Romania and Tel Aviv on 19 June. The 1,667-kilometre route is one of two routes to Tel Aviv that launched this week, with the other being from Lublin. Wizz Air will link Craiova to Tel Aviv twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) on its fleet of A320s. With this launch the ULCC now serves 11 destinations from Craiova.

Wizz Air Kutaisi London Luton

Kutaisi Airport held a cake cutting ceremony to officially open its new route from London Luton on 18 June. The 3,364-kilometre sector will be flown twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) on the airline’s fleet of A320s.

  • Wizz Air has continued its rapid route expansion by adding a further five services to its network this week, continuing on from the eight routes it launched at the end of May, along with its two routes to Iceland from Wroclaw and Prague, plus its entrance into the Kazakhstan market from Budapest that started at the beginning of June. The airport which has seen the biggest net gain in routes from Wizz Air this week is Tel Aviv (TLV), with it gaining twice-weekly services from Craiova (CRA), which will be served on Mondays and Fridays, and Lublin (LUZ) which will operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The latter route is the only one launched by Wizz Air which will see direct competition, with LOT Polish Airlines itself also beginning services on the route this week. The average sector length of Wizz Air’s new routes is 1,793 kilometres, with all sectors scheduled to operate on the carrier’s fleet of A320s according to OAG schedules. See how Craiova Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
17-Jun Lublin (LUZ) Tel Aviv (TLV) A320 (2) LOT Polish Airlines (2)
18-Jun Katowice (KTW) Split (SPU)  
London Luton (LTN) Kutaisi (KUT)  
Lviv (LWO) Berlin Schönefeld (SXF)  
19-Jun Craiova (CRA) Tel Aviv (TLV)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 20 June 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.

Seen celebrating the first WOW air flight from Reykjavik/Keflavik to Pittsburgh in Iceland on 16 June, along with the first flight crew, were: Christina Cassotis, CEO Pittsburgh Airport; Skúli Mogensen, CEO WOW air; Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive; Craig Davis, CEO of VisitPittsburgh; and Hlynur Sigurdsson, Terminal Director, Reykjavik/Kelfavik Airport. The Icelandic airport also baked a cake to celebrate its newest destination in the US.

At the Pittsburgh-end of the route, a second cake cutting ceremony was carried out, with the proceedings being led by: Skúli Mogensen, CEO WOW air; Christina Cassotis, CEO Pittsburgh Airport; and Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive. Along with the cake cutting was a gift exchange, while ballerinas provided entertainment to the first passengers who had arrived from Reykjavik/Keflavik.

  • WOW air has now added Pittsburgh (PIT) to its ever expanding North American network, with the city now becoming the carrier’s ninth destination on the continent. Launched 16 June, WOW air will offer five weekly flights from Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF) on its fleet of 220-seat A321s according to OAG schedules. The 4,484-kilometre sector is not served by another carrier, with this being Pittsburgh’s second route to Europe after Delta Air Lines’ summer seasonal service to Paris CDG. “WOW air adds to the growing list of non-stop destinations available from Pittsburgh in a big way,” comments Christina Cassotis, CEO Pittsburgh Airport. “We expect that Pittsburghers will love the Iceland stopover option along with important connections to cities throughout Europe,” Cassotis added. WOW air’s next route launch to North America will take place next month as it prepares to begin services to Chicago O’Hare on 13 July. Pittsburgh’s European route expansion continues next week as Condor is scheduled to begin flights from Frankfurt on 23 June. See how Pittsburgh Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world


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