Xiamen Airlines Qingdao to Los Angeles
Xiamen Airlines began flights between Qingdao and Los Angeles on 11 December. Among those to speak at the event was Wang Zhendong, Deputy Director of the Municipal Government Office. The carrier will operate the 10,110-kilometre route three times weekly on its 787-9s when referring to OAG schedules, with no other airlines operating the link.
- Xiamen Airlines headed for Hollywood from Qingdao (TAO) on 11 December, the day which saw the carrier commence its first long-haul route from the Chinese airport, a connection to Los Angeles (LAX). According to Xiamen Airlines’ Qingdao Sales Manager, Zheng Weijian, the performance of the new service is doing very well, with the initial flight having a load factor of 80% according to various reports in Chinese media. The SkyTeam member will offer three weekly flights on the 10,110-kilometre route using its 787-9s, of which it currently has four, with a further two expected to join the fleet. No other carrier currently operates between the two airports. By launching services between Qingdao and Los Angeles, Xiamen Airlines now offers five non-stop transpacific city pairs, with it already linking Los Angeles with Xiamen. The airline also serves New York JFK, Seattle-Tacoma and Vancouver in North America.
Frontier Airlines Tampa to Buffalo
Tampa Airport once again got creative with its baking marketing to celebrate Frontier Airlines’ new service to Buffalo. Seen posing with the Niagara Falls-inspired cake are: Christopher Minner, EVP of Marketing and Real Estate, Tampa Airport; Richard Oliver, Corporate Communications, Frontier Airlines; and Joe Lopano, CEO of Tampa Airport. Oliver and Lopano also carried out the ribbon cutting ceremony. Flights on the route will operate four times weekly.
Celebrations were also held in Buffalo to welcome Frontier Airlines’ new service from Tampa on 6 December. Among the highlights of the first flight ceremony was a ribbon cutting, while passengers were all given decorative biscuits. Flights from Miami, Orlando and Southwest Florida were inaugurated on 10 December, while services from Denver will begin on 9 April next year. Photo credit: Joe Gerardi.
- Frontier Airlines launched flights to Buffalo (BUF) on 6 December, with it becoming the carrier’s latest destination. The first route to the New York State airport was from Tampa (TPA), while links from Orlando (MCO), Miami (MIA) and Southwest Florida (RSW) were inaugurated on 10 December. Along with the four Floridian connections, the ULCC will link Buffalo to its home hub of Denver from 9 April next year. Along with the new links to Buffalo, Frontier has also added a further two spokes to its Southwest Florida (RSW) network, while an international service from Kansas City (MCI) has been launched to Cancún (CUN). The average frequency of the seven routes started by Frontier this week is 3.9, while the mean sector length is 1,849 kilometres.
||Southwest Airlines (13)
||Southwest Airlines (18), JetBlue Airways (7)
|Southwest Florida (RSW)
|Grand Rapids (GRR)
||Southwest Airlines (1)
|Kansas City (MCI)
||Kansas City (MCI)
||American Airlines (1)
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser data for w/c 12 December 2017. WF = Weekly Frequency.
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
Air China commenced flights between Shenzhen and Los Angeles on 7 December, a route that it will operate three times weekly on its 787-9s. The new route was celebrated with a press conference at the Chinese airport before boarding. Seen speaking at the first flight ceremony in Shenzhen is Chen Zhiyong, VP of Air China and CEO of Shenzhen Airlines.
An inaugural flight ceremony also took place in Beijing to toast the start of Air China’s operation from China’s busiest airport to Brisbane. Among those speaking at the event was Jan Adams, the Ambassador of Australia to China and Hou Xulun, Deputy GM of the China Aviation Group Corporation.
Brisbane Airport baked a cake to welcome Air China and its new service from Beijing. The Star Alliance member will operate the 8,393-kilometre route four times weekly on its A330-200s, with no other carrier serving the route.
- Air China commenced flights on two long-haul sectors this week, with one to Australia and the other to the US. The Star Alliance member launched its first transpacific route from Shenzhen (SZX) on 7 December, a 11,640-kilometre link to Los Angeles (LAX) that will operate three times weekly on its 787-9s. The new route means that Air China is now the second Chinese carrier after Xiamen Airlines to link the Chinese city to the US, with the latter carrier linking Shenzhen to Seattle-Tacoma. Air China already links Los Angeles with Beijing. On 11 December, Air China started a 8,393-kilometre link between Beijing (PEK) and Brisbane (BNE), a route that the carrier is scheduled to operate four times weekly on its A330-200s. Neither of Air China’s two routes that were inaugurated this week will face direct competition. When referring to statistics published by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Air China carried 1,485,091 passengers between China and the US in 2016, an increase of over 14% when compared to the 1,299,062 passengers it flew in 2015. In the Australian market, according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) some 2,488,594 passengers travelled between China and Australia in 2016, with Air China carrying 364,982 (15%) of these travellers. In total Air China saw its passenger numbers to Australia grow by 14% in 2016, with the Star Alliance member having carried 320,626 passengers in 2015. See how Brisbane Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
Among the VIPs at Air India’s inaugural flight ceremony between Bhubaneswar and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi was Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who had the honour of lighting the lamp, cutting the ribbon and cake, plus flying the flag to officially open the new link. Launched 10 December, Air India will operate the 1,743-kilometre route twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) on its A320s. The city pair is not served by any other carrier.
- Air India commenced flights from Bhubaneswar (BBI) and Chandigarh (IXC) to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) this week, meaning that the Indian flag carrier now serves the Thai capital from four destinations in India non-stop, with these latest routes joining Delhi and Mumbai services. Flights from Bhubaneswar commenced on 10 December, with the 1,743-kilometre sector expected to be flown twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays). Chandigarh operations began the following day, with the 3,092-kilometre link to Suvarnabhumi seeing three weekly flights. Both connections will be flown on the airline’s A320s, with neither city pair facing direct competition when referring to OAG schedules. See how Buhbaneswar Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
Air Mediterranean launched flights to Jeddah on 6 December, with the route being celebrated with a cake cutting ceremony at the Saudi Arabian airport. The recently launched carrier will operate three weekly flights on the route using its fleet of 737-400s. The competition on the 2,321-kilometre route comes in the form of Aegean Airlines.
- Air Mediterranean, the new Greek start-up airline which began services on 2 November, commenced flights between Athens (ATH) and Jeddah (JED) on 6 December, with the link to Saudi Arabia becoming the airline’s second service to the Middle East joining Baghdad. The recently launched carrier will serve the 2,321-kilometre route three times weekly (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) using its fleet of 737-400s, of which it currently has two. Competition on the sector comes from fellow Greek carrier Aegean Airlines, with the Star Alliance member serving the city pair twice-weekly. Jeddah becomes Air Mediterranean’s seventh route from Athens after Baghdad, Casablanca, Khartoum, Larnaca, London Stansted and Stockholm Arlanda.
Seen pulling the ribbon to officially open Avianca Brazil’s new service between Recife and Bogota are Felipe Carreras, Secretary of Tourism of Pernambuco and Tarcísio Gargioni, VP Marketing and Sales, Avianca Brazil. The Star Alliance member will operate the 4,580-kilometre sector weekly, with outbound flights taking place on Mondays, while the return rotation will be on Tuesdays. Flown on A319s, the carrier will face no direct competition on the city pair.
- Avianca Brazil commenced flights between Recife (REC) and Bogota (BOG) on 11 December. The Star Alliance member will operate the 4,580-kilometre sector weekly on its A319s, with no direct competition being provided. Flights leave Recife on Mondays at 19:05, while return services depart the Colombian capital at 01:20 the following morning. Bogota becomes the airline’s first international route from Recife, while in the domestic market it already serves Brasilia, Petrolina, Rio de Janeiro Galeao, Salvador and Sao Paulo Guarulhos according to OAG schedules. See how Recife Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
Azul Airlines commenced flights between Belem and Fort Lauderdale on 10 December, with the Floridian airport celebrating the new service with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The route from Brazil will be flown four times weekly on the carrier’s fleet of A320s. This becomes Azul Airlines’ second route to Fort Lauderdale after Sao Paulo Viracopos.
- Azul Airlines commenced two new international routes from Brazil this week, with the carrier now linking Belem (BEL) to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), while Navegantes (NVT) has gained a connection to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE). The former route was the first to be inaugurated, with flights on the 4,566-kilometre link to the US airport having begun on 10 December, a sector Azul will operate four times weekly. Flights on the 1,291-kilometre city pair between Navegantes and the Argentinian capital began the following day, with a daily rotation scheduled on the airport pair. Flights to Fort Lauderdale will be flown on the airline’s A320s, with this becoming the carrier’s second route to the Floridian city after Sao Paulo Viracopos. Services to Ezeiza will be flown on a mixture of the airline’s E190s and E195s, with this becoming the carrier’s second route to the Argentinian city, adding to its existing service from Belo Horizonte. Neither of the airline’s new routes which were inaugurated this week will face direct competition. See how Belem Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in Panama City for Copa Airlines’ inaugural flight to Denver on 11 December. By launching services to the Mile High City, Copa now serves 13 destinations in the US.
- Copa Airlines commenced flights to Colorado on 11 December, the day of the airline’s first service between Panama City (PTY) and Denver (DEN). The Star Alliance member will offer four weekly flights on the 4,239-kilometre sector using its 737-800s, with the route facing no direct competition. With the launch of flights to Denver, Copa now serves 13 destinations in the US, with it already having a presence at Boston, Chicago O’Hare, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York JFK, Orlando, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington Dulles. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), Copa carried 2,282,022 passengers to/from the US in 2016, while for the first five months of 2017 it has transported 970,692, up 7.1% when compared to the first five months of last year. See how Denver Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
Jetstar Airways commenced twice-weekly services from Melbourne to Zhengzhou on 6 December. The inaugural flight JQ68 is one of two weekly return 787 services which will bring an additional 35,000 Chinese tourists to Australia each year.
- Jetstar Airways‘ inaugural flight to Zhengzhou (CGO) started on 6 December from Melbourne (MEL). The twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays), 787-8-operated service means that Jetstar is the only Australian airline flying direct to the Chinese city, and will offer around 70,000 two-way seats annually. Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation, Simon Gandy, welcomed the addition of this new Chinese destination, which makes Zhengzhou the 11th destination in mainland China accessible via a non-stop flight from the airport. “Today’s inaugural flight by Jetstar is a win for Melbourne, continuing the strong growth in the number of visitors from China heading to the world’s most livable city,” Gandy said. “China is Melbourne’s largest international passenger market with more than 1.2 million passengers travelling between the airport and China in FY16/17. For years we have experienced consistent international passenger growth and to build on that by adding a completely new service is fantastic for both airlines and for travellers.” No other airline operates this city pair.
Tigerair Australia started flights from Hobart to Gold Coast on 7 December. The LCC’s Head of Communications Vanessa Regan said: “These services will provide a welcome boost for tourism in both cities and have arrived just in time for the busy summer holiday period and the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April 2018.”
The new route celebrations continued in Queensland, where the airline’s mascot Toby, who was on-board the inaugural Hobart-Gold Coast service (TT852), was greeted by an on-apron delegation upon arrival.
- Tigerair Australia commenced the only direct service between Hobart (HBA) and Gold Coast (OOL) on 7 December. The LCC will operate four weekly flights between the ‘Apple Isle’ and the Gold Coast with its A320 fleet. The new services have been scheduled to suit the airline’s core market of budget and leisure travellers, with flights departing Hobart at 08:50 and arriving in Gold Coast at 10:20. The return sector leaves Gold Coast Airport at 10:50 and touches down in Hobart at 14:30. Hobart Airport CEO Sarah Renner said: “We are proud to welcome this new route which will increase interstate and international visitation and allow easier access for leisure and business travellers working between Queensland and Tasmania.” Gold Coast Airport COO Marion Charlton said: “Tigerair’s first Australian service was from Melbourne to the Gold Coast 10 years ago, so we’re very pleased to see their commitment to our city bolstered with this new route. The Gold Coast and Hobart are increasingly popular travel destinations and this new, direct link has arrived just in time for the summer peak. This is a welcome addition to Tigerair’s existing Sydney and Melbourne services.” See how Gold Coast Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.
VietJetAir launched flights between Nha Trang and Seoul Incheon on 6 December. The 3,310-kilometre sector will initially be flown by the carrier fives times weekly, before increasingly to six times weekly and finally daily from 9 January. Competition on the route comes from Korean Air which offers four weekly flights.
- VietJetAir commenced flights between Nha Trang (CXR) and Seoul Incheon (ICN) on 6 December. The Vietnamese LCC will initially operate the 3,310-kilometre route five times weekly, with the service rising to six weekly flights in the new year, before finally increasing up to a daily rotation on 9 January. The airline will fly the city pair using its fleet of A320s, with the carrier going head-to-head with Korean Air on the route, with the SkyTeam member serving the link with four weekly flights.