New airline routes launched (04 July 2017 – 10 July 2017)

Virgin Australia Airlines’ Melbourne to Hong Kong

A giant 34-metre dragon ‘Yar Loong’ glided into Melbourne Airport on 5 July with non-other than Sir Richard Branson leading the way, disguised under the dragon’s head. The Virgin founder was in Australia to celebrate Virgin Australia Airlines’ inaugural flight to Hong Kong, a route it will operate five times weekly on A330-200s.

  • Virgin Australia Airlines ventured into the Hong Kong (HKG) market on 5 July. It will operate five flights per week on its 275-seat A330-200s from Melbourne (MEL). Chief of Aviation at Melbourne Airport, Simon Gandy, said of the new service: “We are delighted Virgin has chosen Melbourne to expand its international services creating more opportunities for Victorians to travel for business, leisure, education and renewing family ties. Hong Kong is one of our top ten international outbound destinations with around 115,000 people travelling between Melbourne and Hong Kong each year.” The route will face substantial competition, with Cathay Pacific Airways (three daily flights) and Qantas (daily) both offering services on the 7,406-kilometre sector. See how Melbourne Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Air India’s Delhi to Washington Dulles

As well as the specially baked cake, Navtej Sarna, Ambassador of India to US and Ashwani Lohani, Chairman and MD, Air India, inaugurated the airline’s new flight from Delhi to Washington Dulles by cutting a ribbon at the boarding gate. The new service is the US airport’s 33rd capital-to-capital connection.

The inaugural events in Washington included a ceremonial water cannon salute, traditional gate-side Indian prayer ceremony, press conference, ribbon cutting and gala luncheon. The penultimate activity was undertaken by: Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) CRO Jerome Davis; Indian Ambassador Navtej Sarna; Air India Chairman & MD Ashwani Lohani; District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser; Governor of Virginia, Terry McAulliffe; and MWAA COO Margaret McKeough.

  • Air India celebrated the first-ever non-stop flight connecting Delhi (DEL) and Washington Dulles (IAD) on 7 July, with the carrier scheduled to operate the route with a three times weekly 777-300 service. The Star Alliance carrier did operate to the US capital up until May 2010, when the city was flown to as a tag-on stop from its New York services. Sabre Global Demand Data shows that for the year ending March 2016, the Washington area welcomed more than 281,000 Indian visitors – making India the fourth largest overseas travel market for the region. “With international visitation between India and the Washington DC area expected to double by 2025, the Airports Authority’s partnership with Air India, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia is just one way we’re working to enhance the level of service offered at Dulles International,” said Jerome Davis, EVP and CRO of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. “Washington Dulles is Air India’s fifth US destination after New York JFK, New York Newark, Chicago O’Hare and San Francisco, and it reinforces our commitment to providing the most convenient service between the US and India,” commented Ashwani Lohani, Chairman and MD of Air India. The airline faces no direct competition on the airport pair. See how Washington Dulles Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

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

American Airlines Appleton

Appleton Airport got the big scissors out to cut the ribbon for American Airlines’ new service from Chicago O’Hare. The route will be flown twice-daily on ERJ 145s, with United Airlines offering competition on the sector.

Greenville Airport American Airlines

Greenville Airport had this cake made to celebrate the start of American Airlines’ three times daily Chicago O’Hare. The route is already served by United Airlines 27 times weekly when referring to OAG schedules.

A cake was also presented at Spokane Airport to welcome the arrival of American Airlines’ new link from Dallas/Fort Worth. Seen holding up the knife after a successful cutting are Larry Krauter, CEO Spokane Airport, and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. The 2,374-kilometre sector will be flown by the oneworld member daily on its fleet of A319s.

  • American Airlines has intensified its competition against United Airlines from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) this week, with the oneworld member now going head-to-head on a further six routes from the Windy City against its Star Alliance rival. The airline has also opened new routes from O’Hare to Guatemala City (GUA) and Ontario (ONT) that will not face direct competition, therefore meaning that American has opened eight routes from the US’ second city this week. Along with its expansion from O’Hare, American has also commenced services from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Spokane (GEG), a 2,374-kilometre sector that will face no competition, and a link from Miami (MIA) to Omaha (OMA), a 2,728-kilometre route that again faces no existing carriers. See how Appleton and Spokane airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
05-Jul Chicago O’Hare (ORD) Appleton (ATW) E145 (14) United Airlines (27)
Birmingham (BHM) CRJ7 (14) United Airlines (25)
Boise (BOI) CRJ7 (7) United Airlines (14)
Colorado Springs (COS) CRJ7 (14) United Airlines (21), Frontier Airlines (7)
Greensboro (GSO) E145 (21) United Airlines (21)
Greenville (GSP) United Airlines (27)
Ontario (ONT) B738 (7)  
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Spokane (GEG) A319 (7)  
Miami (MIA) Omaha (OMA) E175 (7)  
08-Jul Chicago O’Hare (ORD) Guatemala City (GUA) B738 (1)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 11 July 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.

Central Mountain Air Edmonton

Seen posing with the cake in Edmonton celebrating the launch of Central Mountain Air’s first service to Prince George are: Prince George Airport President, John Gibson; Central Mountain Air Marketing Manager, Jonathan Richardson; and Edmonton Airport VP, Steve Rumley. Launched 9 July, the carrier will operate the route six times weekly.

  • Central Mountain Air has begun flights between Prince George (YXS) and Edmonton (YEG). The carrier, which started flights on the 602-kilometre sector on 9 July, will operate the city pair on its fleet of 30-seat Dornier 328s. “Introducing this non-stop route allows for a quick flight between Prince George and Edmonton or onto Calgary, and opens many connection opportunities within and outside of our route network,” said Central Mountain Air President Douglas McCrea at the route announcement back in June. “We are really looking forward to working with Central Mountain Air and Prince George Airport,” said Tom Ruth, President and CEO of Edmonton Airport. “We have been working on this direct flight for years as there is such a demand for services between our two cities. We know we will be serving many more Prince George travellers to Edmonton and also connecting to places like Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Saskatoon and eastern Canada.” No other carrier currently operates the city pair. 

Etihad Regional Brest

Passengers on the first Etihad Regional flight from Geneva were greeted at Brest Airport on 6 July with chocolates from Favarger, an artisanal chocolatier which was founded in Geneva in 1826.

  • Etihad Regional has commenced flights between Geneva (GVA) and Brest (BES). Launched 6 July, the carrier will connect the two cities with twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) flights operated by its 50-seat Saab 2000s. The 827-kilometre sector is not flown by any other carrier, with Etihad Regional scheduled to be serving the summer seasonal route until 24 September according to OAG schedules. Brest becomes the airline’s second destination in France after Biarritz, while in total the carrier operates to seven destinations from Geneva this summer. See how Brest Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

This delicious-looking cake was baked to herald the start of Eurowings’ first flight from Palma de Mallorca to Friedrichshafen. The twice-weekly operation will face competition from Germania’s daily service.

  • Eurowings began three new services from three different bases this week. On 4 July it commenced a twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) route from Palma de Mallorca (PMI) to Friedrichshafen (FDH). Served by a mixture of the LCC’s A320/A319 fleet, the 1,053-kilometre sector will face direct competition from Germania’s existing daily service. The next day, Eurowings started a weekly (Wednesdays) A320 rotation to Kalamata (KLX) from Vienna (VIE). Again this route will be up against incumbent carriers, with Austrian Airlines and NIKI both flying the 1,304-kilometre city pair on a weekly basis. Finally on 7 July, the carrier’s long-haul operation began a twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Fridays) route from its Cologne Bonn (CGN) base to Orlando (MCO). The US service will encounter no direct competition and becomes the airline’s fourth route to the country joining existing flights Las Vegas, Miami and Seattle-Tacoma. All US sectors are flown by the LCC’s 310-seat A330-200s. See how Friedrichshafen and Orlando airports FTWAs compare to others from around the world

William Pearson, Aviation Director at Birmingham Airport, seen here with the Flybe inaugural crew on the new Birmingham to Hamburg service commented: “Hamburg is a hugely welcome addition to Flybe’s growing list of routes from Birmingham for both our business and leisure passengers. It is Germany’s second largest city and has the country’s biggest port making it an important economic hub and a great city break destination too. Connecting Hamburg with Britain’s second largest city will be of huge benefit to trade and business relations.”

Seen welcoming Flybe’s new service from Birmingham in Hamburg with cake is the German airport’s Manager Traffic Development & Sales, Aviation Marketing, Alexandra Ringel. The route will operate year-round.

To celebrate the inaugural Flybe flight from Doncaster Sheffield to Palma de Mallorca, the UK airport surprised the lucky customer who made the very first booking on the service by presenting her with access to its Premium Lounge where she enjoyed free food and drink. Steve Gill, Doncaster Sheffield Airport CEO (centre) hands over the prize to Judith Machin (left) and daughter Emily Machin (right).

  • Flybe, on 10 July, celebrated the launch of its year-round service between Birmingham (BHX) and Hamburg (HAM), the only direct service connecting the UK’s and Germany’s ‘second cities’. The Q400-operated route, which faces no direct competition, departs up to four times a week, with additional frequency being added for the upcoming winter schedule. Flybe’s CRO, Vincent Hodder, said: “We are delighted to be launching our first flights between Birmingham and Hamburg today. These flights are the only direct route between these two major cities and it is the fifth German destination to be added to our schedule to and from Birmingham Airport. We look forward to welcoming many new customers on board this summer.” The airline’s other German routes from Birmingham for S17 are Düsseldorf, Hannover, Berlin Tegel and Stuttgart. On 7 July, Flybe also commenced a twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) service from Doncaster Sheffield (DSA) to Palma de Mallorca (PMI). The E175-operated sector will face direct competition from Thomson Airways (six times weekly) and Thomas Cook Airlines (weekly). 

This beach parasol-topped cake was baked to mark the start of the summer seasonal HOP! service from Montpellier to Ibiza. The weekly flight commences in Castres, just 140 kilometres away from the French city.

Absent over the skies of the Côte d’Azur for over four years, Qatar Airways returned to Nice on 4 July. This time it will operate to the busiest airport outside of Paris on a five times weekly basis, having previously served the city three times weekly via Milan Malpensa. The airport is already served by Emirates which now uses its A380s from Dubai.

  • Qatar Airways has resumed service to Nice (NCE) after a break of over four years. Starting on 4 July, the oneworld carrier will offer a five times weekly direct service from its Doha (DOH) hub. The airline temporarily ceased operations to the French destination in May 2013, when the city was served three times weekly via Milan Malpensa with an A330-300. The 4,484-kilometre sector is now flown by Qatar Airways’ 787-8 fleet, and faces no direct competition. It should be noted that Emirates also serves Nice from its Dubai hub, with it having recently introduced the A380 on its services to the largest French airport outside of Paris. See how Nice Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

SAS Kristiansand Malaga data shows that the inaugural SAS flight from Kristiansand to Malaga – SK4921 – touched down three minutes behind its scheduled 19:55 arrival time. The seasonal route will operate weekly (Wednesdays) until 9 August.

  • SAS has added a weekly (Wednesdays) seasonal service between Kristiansand (KRS) and Malaga (AGP). Launched on 5 July, the 2,562-kilometre sector will be flown by the carrier until 9 August. The Star Alliance member will use its 141-seat 737-700s on the route, when referring to OAG schedules (and confirmed by above). No other carrier currently links the Norwegian city to the Spanish airport.  

Transavia Pula Rotterdam

Passengers can be seen disembarking the inaugural flight between Rotterdam and Pula on 6 July. The carrier will operate the 1,049-kilometre route three times weekly on its fleet of 737-700s.

  • Transavia on 6 July began flights between Rotterdam (RTM) and Pula (PUY), the carrier’s second route to Croatia from the Dutch airport after Split. Its latest service will be flown three times weekly according to OAG schedules on its 737-700s, with no other airline currently flying the 1,049-kilometre sector. With this launch, Transavia now serves 21 destinations from Rotterdam this summer, operating 117 weekly flights. When referring to’s New Route Database, the next planned route for Transavia from Rotterdam is to Lisbon, with flights scheduled to begin on 18 February.  


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