New airline routes launched (15 August 2017 – 21 August 2017)

Air India’s Delhi to Stockholm Arlanda

Gagan Narang, Indian Olympic athlete and Harbhajan Singh, Indian cricketer, were on-hand to light the ceremonial lamp at the inaugural Air India flight from Delhi to Stockholm Arlanda. Significantly the first flight took place on Indian Independence Day – 15 August – with the nation celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

In Sweden the inauguration of the new Delhi service was marked by: Jonas Abrahamsson, CEO Swedavia; Ann Linde, Trade Minister of Sweden; Monika Kapil Mohta, India’s Ambassador to Sweden; and Pankaj Sravista, Commercial Director, Air India. The route from India will initially operate three times weekly on 787-8s.

  • Air India commenced its ninth European destination on 15 August – significantly launched on the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence Day – with three times weekly services from Delhi (DEL) to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). The Swedish capital joins the Star Alliance carrier’s existing European operations to London Heathrow, Birmingham, Paris CDG, Frankfurt, Milan Malpensa, Madrid, Rome Fiumicino and Vienna. Facing no direct competition, the 5,581-kilometre sector will be flown by Air India’s 787-8s, which according to ch-aviation’s fleet database, is 25-strong. “Stockholm Arlanda is the fastest growing airport in Scandinavia. We are pleased that Air India has chosen to set up operations in Stockholm and it is also a clear confirmation of our strong growth. Sweden has the largest market in Scandinavia, and demand is increasing for non-stop services to India, especially among business travellers. The new route will also make it more convenient for the growing number of Indian visitors to fly to Stockholm,” said Jonas Abrahamsson, Swedavia President and CEO. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman & MD of Air India said: “We are confident that Air India’s first foray into Scandinavia would add new destinations to trade, commerce and tourism between India and Sweden.” See how Stockholm Arlanda Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Ethiopian Airlines’ Addis Ababa to Bahrain

Ethiopian Airlines celebrated with a cake cutting ceremony the start of flights to Bahrain on 17 August. Among those taking part in proceedings was the airline’s CEO Tewolde Gebremariam (centre). The 2,292-kilometre route, that was last served in 2011, will be flown three times weekly on its 737-800s.

A cake and ribbon cutting ceremony were conducted at Bahrain to welcome the return of Ethiopian Airlines on 17 August. Carrying out the ribbon cutting are: Mohammed Al Subaie, Head of Airlines Marketing, Bahrain Airport; Ayda Desta, Area Manager Bahrain, Ethiopian Airlines; Solomon Yadeta, Regional Director Sales & Services Middle East & Asia, Ethiopian Airlines; Eskedar Girmay, Honorary Consul to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and C D Singh, Group GM, Bahrain International Travel Group.

  • Ethiopian Airlines has restored service to Bahrain (BAH) on 17 August, ending a six-year hiatus of flights from Addis Ababa (ADD). The relaunched route will be flown by the Star Alliance member three times weekly on its fleet of 737-800s, with the outbound rotation operating via Dammam in Saudi Arabia. Commenting on the launch, Bahrain Airport Company CCO, Ayman Zainal, said: “Ethiopian Airlines has been operating in the region for decades. Its level of efficiency and operational experience are among the best in the African continent. We are very happy to have these routes added to our scheduled flights which provide added convenience and options for travelers, including the large Ethiopian community in Bahrain.” Competition on the 2,292-kilometre sector comes in the form of Gulf Air, with it also serving the city pair three times weekly on its A320s according to OAG schedules.

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

Alaska Airlines ABQ

  • Alaska Airlines has increased its operation from Albuquerque (ABQ) this week by introducing daily flights to Portland (PDX) and Orange County (SNA), adding to its existing daily operation from Seattle-Tacoma. The 1,785- and 1,043-kilometre routes from Oregon and California, both launched on 18 August, will be flown by the airline on its fleet of E175s operated by Horizon Air. While Orange County services will face no direct competition, flights to Portland will go head-to-head with Southwest Airlines which already provides six weekly flights on the city pair.  

Atlasglobal flight KK 6292 (operated by A320 UR-AJA – according to Flightradar24) marked the resumption of services by the airline from Istanbul Ataturk to Najaf in Iraq. As a result, the carrier now offers a network of four destinations in the Middle Eastern country.

  • Atlasglobal has resumed operations to Najaf (NJF) in Iraq on 15 August, a sector which it last served from its Istanbul Atatürk (IST) base in December 2015 according to OAG schedule data. Flown twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays) by the carrier’s A319s and A320s, the 1,709-kilometre sector faces two incumbents – with Turkish Airlines (daily) and Iraqi Airways (four times weekly) providing the competition. As a result of this new route, Atlasglobal now offers four cities in Iraq, with Najaf flights joining existing rotations to Erbil, Baghdad and Sulaymaniyah.

Avianca Bucaramanga

Bucaramanga Airport celebrated the arrival of Avianca’s new link from Cali on 17 August, one of three domestic routes launched from the latter airport this week, with the others being San Andres Island and Santa Marta. The 531-kilometre sector to Bucaramanga will be operated by the Star Alliance member three times weekly on its fleet of A320s.

  • Avianca has been busy expanding its domestic network this week, particularly from Cali (CLO) where it has begun three new routes to Bucaramanga (BGA), San Andres Island (ADZ) and Santa Marta (SMR). Of the three routes, the one that will face direct competition is the daily connection to San Andres Island, a sector already flown by LATAM Airlines twice-daily. Along with these three services, a further two San Andres Island links have also been launched, from Cartagena (CTG) and Medellin (MDE) respectively. These two routes will also go head-to-head with LATAM Airlines. The average weekly frequency of the five routes inaugurated this week is 4.2, while the mean sector length is 855 kilometres. All services are scheduled to be operated by A320s according to OAG schedules. See how Bucaramanga Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.  
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
17-Aug Cali (CLO) Bucaramanga (BGA) A320 (3)  
San Andres Island (ADZ) A320 (7) LATAM Airlines (14)
Cartagena (CTG) A320 (3) LATAM Airlines (4)
Medellin (MDE) A320 (4) LATAM Airlines (7)
18-Aug Cali (CLO) Santa Marta (SMR)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 22 August 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.

Frontier Airlines began flights to Long Island MacArthur Airport on 16 August, initially starting with a connection from Orlando. Seen posing for a photo with the aircraft are Islip Town Board Member Steve Flotteron and Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter. They were both then joined by Michael Pewther, Senior Director at Frontier Airlines, and the Glauber Family from Mastic, New York, to conduct the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially declare the new route open.

  • Frontier Airlines has introduced Long Island MacArthur (ISP) to its network this week, with the carrier on 16 August beginning a daily A320-operated route to the New York State airport from Orlando (MCO). “We are so excited to welcome Frontier Airlines to Long Island MacArthur Airport. We want Long Island to experience Frontier and enjoy flying non-stop across the country right from ISP,” said Shelley LaRose-Arken, Commissioner, Long Island MacArthur Airport. “Within two months of announcing service to Orlando, Frontier was back with us making plans to serve some of the top markets on our wish list,” she added. Indeed these meetings were successful, with Frontier already scheduled to begin flights from the airport to Southwest Florida, Miami, New Orleans, Tampa and West Palm Beach before the start of W17/18. Back to this week’s launch, the 1,563-kilometre route to Orlando is already served by Southwest Airlines which offers three daily flights on the city pair according to OAG schedules. Along with introducing a new airport to its network this week, Frontier has also started linking Las Vegas (LAS) to Cedar Rapids (CID). Launched on 15 August, the 2,118-kilometre route between the Nevada and Iowa airports will be operated three times weekly on A320s, with Allegiant Air providing the competition. The latter airline already serves the route with a twice-weekly rotation. See how Long Island MacArthur Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Qatar Airways Prague

Qatar Airways celebrated the launch of flights to Prague on 21 August. Among the dignitaries at the launch was the airline’s GCEO Akbar Al Baker (centre). Baker commented by saying: “We are delighted to launch daily service to Prague, a long-anticipated addition to our global route network. This exquisite European city will be an extremely popular destination for both business and leisure travellers.” Flights will be operated by the oneworld member’s A320s.

  • Qatar Airways commenced a daily operation from its Doha (DOH) hub to Prague (PRG) on 21 August. The 4,216-kilometre city pair will become the oneworld carrier’s 13th destination in Central and Eastern Europe, according to OAG schedules. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker commented on the launch of flights to Prague by saying: “We are delighted to launch daily service to Prague, a long-anticipated addition to our global route network.” Also speaking at the route launch, Vaclav Rehor, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Prague Airport, added: “The proposed schedule, at two different times of operations, will support connections within the carrier’s network via Doha to Asian and Australian routes. We expect that passengers coming from Prague will be most interested in the connecting flights to Bali, Bangkok, Colombo, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Delhi and Sydney.” The route, which witnesses no direct competition for Qatar Airways, will see the airline compete against fellow MEB3 carrier Emirates, which offers a daily flight too. However, its operation uses a 517-seat A380, whereas Qatar Airways will use its A320 fleet on the city pair. The next route launch for Qatar Airways from Doha will take place on 28 August, the day in which the carrier will start serving Kiev Boryspil. See how Prague Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world


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