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

Qatar Airways’ Doha to Skopje

Qatar Airways celebrated the arrival of its inaugural flight to Skopje with a press conference and gala dinner at the Marriott Hotel Skopje. The events were hosted by Qatar Airways CCO Ehab Amin (second right), who welcomed VIP guests including the Republic of Macedonia’s Minister of Transport and Communications, Goran Sugareski; TAV Macedonia GM Alper Ersoy; Macedonian Ambassador to Qatar, Vukica Krtolica Popovska, and Qatari Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Hassan Bin Abdullah Zaid Al Mahmoud. Guests enjoyed a dazzling line-up of entertainment and a headline performance by famous Macedonian singer Jana Burceska.

  • Qatar Airways will operate a four times weekly service from Doha (DOH) to Skopje (SKP) with its A320 fleet from 17 July. Qatar Airways CCO Ehab Amin, said at the press conference: “I am delighted to be here today to celebrate the launch of Qatar Airways flights to Skopje, our new gateway into Eastern Europe from our hub, Hamad International Airport in Doha. Qatar Airways is proud to bring the five-star experience to the Macedonian capital, which is so rich in culture and history.” GM of TAV Macedonia, Alper Ersoy, said: “Doha, known as the Pearl of the Arabian Gulf, will be an exciting travel opportunity for Macedonian citizens, both in terms of leisure and business, but it will also enable Macedonians who live in Australia and New Zealand to visit their motherland. We hope that the Republic of Macedonia, with its natural beauty and cultural-historical heritage, will be an interesting destination for Qatari tourists and business travellers. The presence of Qatar Airways in the Republic of Macedonia as a brand will make Skopje Airport even more attractive as a market, opening new possibilities for its development, while additionally contributing to further traffic growth.” In response to increasing demand, flights to Zagreb increased to a 10 times weekly service last year, while Budapest and Baku both increased to a 12 times weekly service in June 2017. The airline is also expediting its expansion in Eastern Europe, with services to Prague and Kiev set to commence by the end of August. No other airline flies on the 3,309-kilometre city pair. For a full write-up on this landmark route launch, as witnessed by’s Assistant Editor Jonathan Ford – click here! See how Skopje Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

TAP Portugal’s Lisbon to Cologne Bonn

Seen cutting the cake in Cologne Bonn to officially open TAP Portugal’s twice-daily service from Lisbon are: Klemens Müller, Marketing & Sales Support Manager, TAP Portugal; Ana Marta Alves, Area Sales DACH-Region, TAP Portugal; Tobias Lyssy, Head of Business Development and Aviation Marketing, Cologne Bonn Airport; and Katja Kimmig, Area Sales Manager Munich & North Rhine-Westphalia, TAP Portugal.

  • TAP Portugal has now added Cologne Bonn (CGN) to its European network, with the Star Alliance member now offering a twice-daily service to the German city from Lisbon (LIS). Commenting on the launch of flights from the Portuguese capital, with the route having launched on 15 July, Michael Garvens, Chairman of the Management Board, Cologne Bonn Airport, said: “We are very happy about our new customer at Cologne Bonn Airport. TAP Portugal offers attractive and easy connections to South America from Lisbon, giving interesting opportunities to our long-haul travellers.” The German city is already connected to Lisbon by Eurowings, which provides a daily service according to OAG schedules. TAP Portugal will operate its twice-daily service on the 1,848-kilometre sector using its fleet of 106-seat E190s. Marta Alves, TAP Portugal’s Area Sales Manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland added about the new service: “This new Cologne Bonn-Lisbon route is a crucial building block in our strategy for the German market. We are convinced of the success of this new partnership.” Along with Cologne Bonn, TAP Portugal has also added two African cities to its network this week – Abidjan (ABJ) and Lome (LFW). Both inaugurated on 17 July, flights to the Ivory Coast will operate five times weekly, with the 3,761-kilometre link to Abidjan facing no direct competition. Services on the 3,772-kilometre route to Togo will operate four times weekly, with two of those rotations operating via the airline’s existing Accra route, again facing no direct competition. Both African connections will be flown on the airline’s fleet of A320s when referring to OAG schedules. See how Cologne Bonn Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

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

After a gap of 14 years, the Aeroflot tailfin will grace the apron at Lisbon once again as the Skyteam member has resumed three times weekly flights to the Portuguese capital. The route is not served by another carrier.

  • Aeroflot has commenced operations to Lisbon (LIS) again after a 14-year break on the airport pair from its Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO) hub. The three times weekly service, which launched 15 July, will be flown by the SkyTeam carrier’s 737-800 fleet. The 3,890-kilometre sector will face no direct competition. See how Lisbon Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

On 11 July, Eurowings started twice-weekly operations from its Cologne Bonn base to Seattle-Tacoma. The US airport has welcomed six new international airlines since 2016: Aeromexico, Eurowings, Norwegian, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Volaris and Xiamen Airlines.

  • Eurowings commenced seasonal twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) services from Cologne Bonn (CGN) to Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) on 11 July. In addition to Cologne Bonn, Seattle-Tacoma will add new non-stop service to Mexico City and London Gatwick later this year. The following day, the airline started twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) to Windhoek (WDH). Flights from Germany’s fourth-largest city to Namibia’s capital and the city on Puget Sound in the US’ Pacific Northwest will both be operated by the carrier’s 310-seat A330-200 fleet, and neither route faces any direct competition. See how Seattle-Tacoma Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

FlyOne Birmingham

Seen on its take-off roll at Birmingham Airport on 15 July is FlyOne flight 5F616, the first return service of the airline’s new connection from Chisinau. The carrier will offer a weekly (Saturdays) service on the city pair.

  • FlyOne has now added the UK to its route map, with the Moldovan carrier on 15 July beginning a weekly (Saturdays) service between Chisinau (KIV) and Birmingham (BHX). The latter airport becomes only the third UK connection from the capital of Moldova, with Wizz Air linking to London Luton and Air Moldova operating to London Stansted respectively. FlyOne’s new 2,268-kilometre sector to Birmingham will be flown by the carrier’s fleet of A320s when referring to OAG schedules, with no other airline linking the Moldovan capital to the UK’s second city.   

The full set of new route celebrations were made for the start of Interjet’s new services from Mexico City and Cancún to Montreal on 13 July – namely the gift exchange, ribbon cutting, cake cutting, fire truck water arch and traditional music! Cutting the thre-tiered cake were: Andrès Martinez Reynoso, Director Marketing & PR Interjet and Philippe Rainville President & CEO Aéroports de Montréal.

  • Interjet has started its first routes to Canada this week, beginning two new sectors to Montreal (YUL). The LCC began three times weekly A320 operations from both Mexico City (MEX) and Cancún (CUN) on 13 July. “Business and leisure travel between Canada and Mexico is reaching new heights,” said Philippe Rainville, President and CEO, Aéroports de Montréal. “So far this year, the number of Mexican tourists visiting Québec has more than doubled and is expected to grow even more. Interjet will provide more options for our businesses community and leisure passengers: from Mexico’s endless beaches to its unique history and culture. We are very pleased to welcome a new low cost airline to Montreal” he added. “Montreal is celebrating its 375th anniversary this year and we’re very excited to be able to offer Mexico’s business and leisure travelers the opportunity to visit Montreal and celebrate the city’s wealth of history and culture as well as its rich heritage, people and its iconic places,” said José Luis Garza, Interjet’s CEO. The 2,698-kilometre sector to Cancún will face competition from Air Canada (daily), Air Transat (five times weekly) and Sunwing Airlines (four times weekly), whereas the Mexico City-Montreal city pair will see Interjet face incumbents Aeromexico (double-daily) and Air Canada (six times weekly). See how Montreal Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Michael Eggenschwiler, Hamburg Airport CEO (second left), Dr Rolf Strittmatter, Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF) CEO and Seyed Saeid Seyedin, Iranian Consul-General in Hamburg, welcomed passengers on the first Qeshm Air flight from Tabriz as they arrived in Hamburg. Among the passengers on board the aircraft were Mahmoud Shekarabi, Qeshm Air CEO and Sadegh Najafi, Mayor of Tabriz.

  • Qeshm Air, the Iranian airline, landed in Hamburg (HAM) for the first time on 14 July. The airline now links the city twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) with Tabriz (TBZ) – a completely new destination in Hamburg’s route network, being served from German city for the first time. For Tabriz, Hamburg is the first European destination with a direct flight. The service is being operated by the airline’s 133-seat A319s. Flights land in Hamburg at 11:30 and depart back to Iran at 13:30, with the sector lasting just under five hours. See how Hamburg Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Pittsburgh celebrated the start of Spirit Airlines’ new route to Los Angeles with a retro-themed beach party that included a hula-hoop contest, prize wheel and snow cones at Gate D83. Launched 13 July, the airline will operate the 3,428-kilometre route to California daily on its fleet of A320s.

  • Spirit Airlines launched two routes from Pittsburgh (PIT) this week – Los Angeles (LAX) and Houston Intercontinental (IAH). The 3,428-kilometre route to California, launched 13 July, will be flown by the airline daily. Services on the 1,796-kilometre link to Texas, which inaugurated a day later according to OAG schedules, will also operate daily. Both flown on the airline’s fleet of A320s, the connection to Los Angeles will see direct competition from Southwest Airlines which itself provides a daily rotation, while Houston will go head-to-head with Star Alliance member United Airlines which offers 34 weekly flights. Indirect competition is also offered to Houston, with Southwest Airlines also serving Houston Hobby daily from Pittsburgh. See how Pittsburgh Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

SriLankan Airlines Director Harendra Balapatabendi together with SriLankan Airlines CCO Siva Ramachandran, Brand Ambassador of SriLankan Airlines and former Sri Lanka Cricket Captain Mahela Jayewardene, and SriLankan Airlines Consultant Lal Perera are seen here cutting a cake minutes before the inaugural flight to Hyderabad on 12 July.

Four days later, SriLankan Airlines CCO Siva Ramachandran was on-hand again, this time lighting the traditional oil lamp together with the operating crew of the inaugural flight to Coimbatore, its 14th destination in India. On the launch Ramachandran said: “We are delighted to extend our services to yet another vibrant city in Tamil Nadu, offering travelers a seamless travel experience from their doorstep to the rest of the world via our global network.

  • SriLankan Airlines launched services on 12 July from Colombo (CMB) to India’s fourth largest city, Hyderabad (HYD), the capital of the state of Telangana. Hyderabad is one of three South Indian cities that SriLankan is commencing operations to, together with Visakhapatnam which launched last week on 8 July, and also this week to Coimbatore (CJB), the second largest city in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu, on 16 July. With these additions, the airline will operate 126 flights per week to 14 cities in India, with existing services to Chennai, Tiruchirappalli, Thiruvananthapuram, Mumbai, Delhi, Gaya, Madurai, Varanasi, Kochi, Bengaluru and Kolkata. The carrier will be offering a four times week service on its A320 family of aircraft to both cities, and neither route faces any direct competition.

Already flying to more countries and international destinations than any other airline in the world from its Istanbul Atatürk hub, Phuket became Turkish Airlines’ 300th destination on 17 July.

  • Turkish Airlines has inaugurated direct flights to Phuket (HKT) from its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub on 17 July, with the Thai city becoming its 300th destination. The airline will operate four times weekly to Phuket, with a variety of equipment. Deputy Chairman and CEO of Turkish Airlines Bilal Eksi, commented at the launch ceremony: “Turkish Airlines is excited to be bringing more value and connectivity to its passengers through its ever expanding network. As an award-winning airline that invites people to explore the beauties of our world, it was a natural choice for us to decide on Phuket as our next destination.” No other incumbents operate on the airport pair.

WOW air Chicago O'Hare

Taking in the Windy City. Two WOW air crew check out their latest destination, Chicago. The carrier, as of 13 July, now offers four weekly flights to Chicago O’Hare from its Reykjavik/Keflavik base on A321s.

  • WOW air has now added Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to its North America network, with the carrier having launched flights to the Windy City on 13 July from its Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF) base. Flown four times weekly on WOW air’s A321s, the 4,723-kilometre sector will face direct competition from Icelandair which already offers a daily service between the two airports on its 757-200s according to OAG schedules. With this launch, WOW air now operates to 10 destinations across the US (eight destinations) and Canada (two), with its other recent addition being Pittsburgh which began on 16 June. See how Chicago O’Hare’s FTWA compares to others from around the world


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