New airline routes launched (1 August 2017 – 7 August 2017)

Ethiopian Airlines’ Addis Ababa to Kaduna

Ethiopian Airlines Kaduna

A cake cutting ceremony was had in Addis Ababa to celebrate the start of Ethiopian Airlines’ new route to Kaduna, the carrier’s fifth destination in Nigeria. Seen speaking at the inaugural ceremony is the Star Alliance member’s CEO Tewolde Gebremariam. The airline will operate the 3,449-kilometre route on 737-800s facing no direct competition.

Ethiopian Airlines Kaduna

Another cake cutting ceremony was also performed in Kaduna. Among those seen cutting the cake are Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State (fourth from left) and Busera Awel, CCO of Ethiopian Airlines (sixth from right).

  • Ethiopian Airlines has now added the Nigerian city of Kaduna (KAD) to its network, with it becoming the Star Alliance member’s fifth destination in the country. Launched 1 August, the carrier commenced a three times weekly service from Addis Ababa (ADD), a connection it will operate on its fleet of 737-800s. No other airline currently operates the 3,449-kilometre sector. With this launch, Ethiopian Airlines now operates 21 weekly flights direct to Nigeria from Addis Ababa, with Lagos and Abuja being served daily, Enugu three times weekly and Kano weekly when referring to OAG schedules. The latter is also served twice-weekly via N’Djamena in Chad. However, the airline does not have local traffic rights between N’Djamena and Kano. At present, Ethiopian Airlines is the only airline operating between Nigeria and Ethiopia. See how Kaduna Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Ural Airlines’ Moscow Zhukovsky to Tbilisi

On 5 August, Ural Airlines began services from Moscow Zhukovsky and Tbilisi. Galina Telpiz, Senior Aviation Marketing Manager at Moscow Zhukovsky helps Yana – the youngest passenger of the first flight to Tbilisi – cut the route launch cake, assisted by Dmitry Doronin, representative of Ural Airlines in Moscow.

  • Ural Airlines has now started its only service from the Russian capital to Tbilisi (TBS), beginning twice-weekly (Mondays and Saturdays) flights from Moscow Zhukovsky (ZIA). Launched on 5 August, the airline will utilise its fleet of A320s on the airport pair. The first flight’s load factor was 90% according to the airport. Tbilisi is the sixth destination flown by the airline from Zhukovsky, with its latest venture not going directly head-to-head with another carrier.   


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

AirAsia India begins service to Bhubaneswar

I5 is the IATA code for AirAsia India. This cake was baked to celebrate the arrival of the carrier at Bhubaneswar Airport on 1 August. The LCC now serves this airport from its bases in Bengaluru and Kolkata. In the second quarter of 2017 just over one million passengers used the airline, up 89% on the same period last year.

  • AirAsia India has celebrated the beginning of August with the launch of five new domestic routes. Four are from Kolkata (CCU). Sector lengths range from 380 kilometres on the Kolkata to Bhubaneswar route to 1,355 kilometres for the Jaipur (JAI) route. IndiGo already serves all five of these sectors with multiple daily flights. On the Delhi (DEL) route AirAsia India becomes the eighth carrier to connect the two major cities. According to AirAsia its Indian subsidiary operated with a load factor of 90% in 2017 Q2 and carried just over one million passengers, up 89% compared with the same period in 2016. Capacity was up only 83% resulting in a three percentage point improvement in load factor. The average sector length fell 21% to 989 kilometres. A total of 11 180-seat A320s are now operated by the LCC, with three having been added this summer, all of which were formerly operated by Frontier Airlines in the US according to In total AirAsia India now operates 25 domestic routes in India. 
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
01-Aug Bengaluru (BLR) Bhubaneswar (BBI) A320 (7) IndiGo (14)
Kolkata (CCU) Bagdogra (IXB) IndiGo (21), SpiceJet (14), GoAir (7), JetKonnect (7), Air India (3)
Bhubaneswar (BBI) IndiGo (21), Air India (7)
Delhi (DEL) IndiGo (69), Air India (28), Jet Airways (28), SpiceJet (21), GoAir (14), Vistara (14), JetKonnect (7)
Jaipur (JAI IndiGo (21), GoAir (7)
Source:’s New Route Database. OAG Schedules Analyser for w/c 8 August 2017. WF = Weekly frequencies.

Avianca Sao Paulo

Seen at the launch of Avianca Brazil’s new route to Santiago at Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport on 7 August are: Frederico Pedreira, President of Avianca Brazil; José Efromovich, CEO of Avianca Brazil; João Pedro Pita, Head of Airline Business, Sao Paulo Guarulhos Airport; and Tarcísio Gargioni, VP Marketing and Sales, Avianca Brazil.

Avianca Santiago

At the other end of the 2,614-kilometre route in Santiago, a cake was made to welcome the new service. Seen posing with the baked beauty are: José Efromovich, CEO of Avianca Brazil; Javiera Cruz, Chilean Undersecretary of Tourism; Jaime Binder, Secretary General of the Civil Aeronautical Board of Chile; Nicolas Claude, Manager, Santiago Airport; and Carlos Duarte, Brazilian Ambassador to Chile. The route will be flown on a mixture of A330-200s and A320s.

  • Avianca Brazil on 7 August began a twice-daily service between Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU) and Santiago (SCL) in Chile, the carrier’s first route into the South American country. The airline’s morning rotation on the 2,614-kilometre sector will be operated by its fleet of A330-200s, while the evening service is currently scheduled to be flown on A320s. Avianca Brazil becomes the third airline to connect the two airports, with LATAM Airlines (56 weekly flights) and GOL (15) already operating the route. Santiago becomes Avianca Brazil’s second international destination from Guarulhos, with the other non-Brazilian route being to Miami. Currently the carrier is operating just one more international service from Brazil, with that being its weekly (Saturdays) link from Fortaleza to Bogota. See how Santiago Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Cemair Hoedspruit

The first Cemair flight from Cape Town to Hoedspruit on 1 August was flown by: Captain T. Booysen; Flight Attendant A. Pieterse; and First Officer K. Venter. Cape Town services will operate daily on 50-seat CRJ 200s.

  • Cemair, a privately owned airline operating in South Africa, added Hoedspruit (HDS) to its network on 1 August, beginning a daily 1,601-kilometre route from Cape Town (CPT). The route, which will face direct competition from SA Express’ daily 74-seat Q400-operated service, will be flown by Cemair on its 50-seat CRJ 200s. A second route from Johannesburg (JNB) was inaugurated on 7 August, with the 336-kilometre sector from South Africa’s largest city also being flown daily, this time on Cemair’s 56-seat Dash 8-300s. SA Express will also offer competition on the latter route, with it operating between Johannesburg and Hoedspruit twice-daily on Q400s. With these launches, Cemair now offers 10 domestic routes in South Africa, of which five originate in Johannesburg, on 150 weekly flights when referring to OAG schedules. Along with Cape Town, Hoedspruit and Johannesburg, Cemair also serves the following destinations: Bloemfontein; George; Margate; Plettenberg Bay; Port Elizabeth; and Sishen Kathu.     

Indonesia AirAsia adds Jakarta to Macau link

  • Indonesia AirAsia has added a new destination from its Jakarta (CGK) hub with the launch on 7 August of a three times weekly service to Macau (MFM). The 3,228-kilometre sector will be flown by the LCC’s A320s not facing any direct competition. Indonesia AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia X now serve a total of eight destinations from the Indonesian capital. AirAsia also serves Macau from Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

  • JETGO Australia started the 965-kilometre domestic link between Wagga Wagga (WGA) and Gold Coast (OOL) on 2 August. The route will be operated twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) by the Australian regional airline’s ERJ 135s, of which it has two, according to ch-aviation’s fleet database. There are no incumbent carriers on this city pair.

SAS Shannon

Seen welcoming SAS to Shannon on 1 August are: Aileen Hickey, Nordic Market Manager, Tourism Ireland; Alan Sparling, MD of GSA for SAS, Ireland; and Mary Considine, Deputy CEO at Shannon Group. The seasonal 1,814-kilometre route will operate twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) until 3 October according to OAG schedules.

  • SAS has now added Shannon (SNN) to its network, beginning on 1 August a seasonal twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) service to the Irish airport from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). The 1,814-kilometre sector, which will operate until 3 October, will be flown regularly on a mixture of the Star Alliance member’s 737s according to OAG schedules, however some services will be operated by CRJ 900s. The link faces no direct competition. Andrew Murphy, MD of Shannon Airport, said of SAS’ arrival: “This is a further boost for tourism in this region as it gives a direct link from the Nordic market, where there is a growing demand for the Irish tourism product.” Talking about the reasons for visiting Ireland, Murphy also added: “It’s a two-way street as Stockholm is a magical city to visit and Sweden itself offers so much for tourists. Ultimately, Tourism Ireland has played a big role in this. They are very active in Sweden and that’s a major support to us.” Shannon becomes SAS’ second destination in Ireland after Dublin, which it links to Arlanda, as well as Copenhagen and Oslo Gardermoen, offering a total of 29 weekly flights this summer. Along with launching flights to Shannon this week, SAS has also increased its presence in Pristina (PRN), beginning flights to the Kosovo capital from Arlanda and Oslo Gardermoen (OSL). Flights from the Swedish capital commenced on 1 August, with Norwegian capital services starting on 4 August. SAS will offer eight scheduled flights (last flight 26 August) from Arlanda on a mixture of its 737s and A320s, while Gardermoen will be served by nine flights (last flight 2 September). The route from Sweden will not face direct competition, but services from Norway will go head-to-head with Norwegian which serves the route weekly (Saturdays). SAS already links Pristina seasonally to Copenhagen and Gothenburg. See how Shannon Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Sacramento Southwest Airlines

Spokane Airport commissioned this cake, baked by Freeport Bakery, to celebrate the start of Southwest Airlines’ new twice-daily service to Long Beach and daily service to Spokane. Both routes launched on 1 August.

  • Southwest Airlines has expanded its route offering from Sacramento (SMF) with flights to Long Beach (LGB) and Spokane (GEG). Both launched on 1 August, the 621-kilometre link to Long Beach will be operated by the LCC twice-daily, facing direct competition from JetBlue Airways which also operates the city pair twice-daily. The 1,044-kilometre route to Spokane will be flown daily facing no direct competition. Both sectors will be flown using the carrier’s 737-700s. With these launches Southwest Airlines now offers 17 routes from Sacramento this summer on 532 weekly flights according to OAG schedules, with the top destinations being San Diego (75 weekly flights), Los Angeles (58) and Las Vegas (53). See how Spokane Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

United Airlines Columbia

The first United Airlines passenger to disembark the aircraft in Columbia had the honour of cutting the ribbon to officially open the airline’s new services from Chicago O’Hare (twice-daily) and Denver (daily) on 1 August. United Airlines, which will operate both routes on CRJ 200s, becomes the second carrier to serve the Missouri airport, with American Airlines already linking it to Chicago O’Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth.

  • United Airlines has become the second airline to serve Columbia (COU) in Missouri, with the Star Alliance member on 1 August beginning a twice-daily service from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and a daily link from Denver (DEN). The 1,075-kilometre link to Denver will not face any direct competition. However, the 505-kilometre link from O’Hare is already served by American Airlines (13 times weekly), with the oneworld member also serving Columbia from Dallas/Fort Worth. The oneworld member started serving the airport in 2013. Both of United’s new routes will be flown by the carrier’s 50-seat CRJ 200s. See how Columbia Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Virgin Australia Airlines started its 10th domestic route to Canberra on 6 August, with a twice-weekly connection from Perth. Flights leave the capital bound for Western Australia at 19:00 on Thursdays and 19:30 on Sundays.

  • Virgin Australia Airlines added its 10th route from the Australian capital city of Canberra (CBR) on 6 August, commencing a twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) operation to Perth (PER). The airline will utilise its 737-800 fleet on the 3,082-kilometre city pair. Canberra Airport MD, Stephen Byron, said: “Canberra is attracting increasing numbers of inbound tourists. In the past year, 208,000 international visitors visited the capital and the wider region, and spent A$452 million. Perth is not only a key national destination, but a gateway to Africa and beyond, and we expect the new service to become highly attractive to our region’s population of around one million.” Virgin Australia GM Network Management Hope Antzoulatos said: “This service will be particularly welcomed by West Australian parliamentarians and their staff who will have the opportunity to fly directly from Perth to Canberra during sitting weeks, as well as passengers wishing to travel between the two cities. The introduction of this service is part of our commitment to bring greater competition to the industry and more choice to Australian travellers.” Qantas provides the competition on the route, offering a daily service.


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