New airline routes launched (13 February 2018 – 19 February 2018)


Norwegian London Gatwick to Buenos Aires Ezeiza 

Norwegian held a Valentine’s Day celebration at London Gatwick as it launched a new route to the ‘Paris of South America’ – Buenos Aires. Passengers on the inaugural flight were surprised with a tango performance as well as learning a few steps for themselves, meaning they could tango their way to Buenos Aires.

Celebrations continued in Argentina, on hand to receive the inaugural Norwegian flight from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires Ezeiza on 14 February were: Martin Eurnekian, President of AA2000 (left); Gustavo Santos, Argentina’s Minister of Tourism (second left); Guillo Dietrich Minister of Transport (second right); and Mark Kent, UK Ambassador to Argentina (right). The four times weekly service is the first low-cost long-haul link from the UK to South America.

  • Norwegian has grown its long-haul network from London Gatwick (LGW) with its first route to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE). The new year-round service, which commenced on 14 February, will be operated four times weekly by the LCC’s 787-9 fleet. There is no direct competition on the 11,117-kilometre sector to the Argentinian capital city. Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “Today we have marked the start of our new expansion into South America by bringing a taste of Argentina to London Gatwick. I am delighted to bring our high quality long-haul flights to another continent as we launch the only direct flight from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires, giving leisure and business passengers affordable access to South America. Our first flight to Buenos Aires from the UK marks another milestone for Norwegian. As our first South American route takes off, it is also a first step towards ambitious plans for international and domestic growth in Argentina, ahead of flights to Chicago and Austin from London Gatwick next month.” Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate added: “The launch of Norwegian’s first ever South American route is another exciting landmark in Gatwick’s ongoing mission to connect the UK to more and more long-haul destinations. The airport now offers 63 long-haul connections – with many, including Buenos Aires, operated by low-cost carriers – making Gatwick the busiest departure airport for low-cost long-haul services in the world. We’re going to continue breaking new ground this year and remain focused on strengthening Gatwick’s global reach at a time when worldwide connections are crucial for the UK.” Buenos Aires will be Norwegian’s 11th sector launched from Gatwick in the past four years and by the end of March, the LCC will become the second largest long-haul airline at the airport, with 13 direct long-haul routes following the launch of Buenos Aires, Chicago and Austin in March, and Singapore in September. See how this route’s FTWA compares to other from around the world.

Pobeda St. Petersburg to Cologne Bonn 

Pobeda commenced services from St. Petersburg to Cologne Bonn on 17 February. Cutting the celebratory cake were: Anna Nikiforova, Head of Aviation Marketing and Sales at the Russian airport and Dmitry Sukolenko, Head of Ground Handling at the LCC. The German city becomes the first international destination in Pobeda’s route network from St. Petersburg.

  • Pobeda, the Russian low-cost airline, used the last seven days to launch four new routes, two from its main Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) base, and two from St. Petersburg (LED), its second biggest operation in terms of weekly seats. The average sector length of the four new city pairs is 1,607 kilometres, with the longest being the 2,235-kilometre route from St. Petersburg to Pisa (PSA), while the shortest service is the 715-kilometre domestic airport pair from Vnukovo to Ulyanovsk (ULV). In 2018, Pobeda will continue to expand the geography of its flights from St. Petersburg. In S18 the airline will start flights to Gyumri (Armenia), Girona (Spain), Tbilisi (Georgia), as well to the Russian cities of Kaliningrad, Nizhnekamsk, and Ulyanovsk. See how this route’s FTWA compares to other from around the world.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
16-Feb Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) Ulyanovsk (ULV) B738 (7)  
17-Feb Karlovy Vary (KLV) B738 (2)  
St. Petersburg (LED) Cologne Bonn (CGN)  
18-Feb Pisa (PSA)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 20 February. WF = Weekly frequencies.

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


Yee-hah! Gate celebrations were the order of the day in San Jose as the Californian airport heralded the start of Alaska Airlines’ new daily service to Dallas Love Field. The carrier now has six services to the Texan airport.

  • Alaska Airlines added two new sectors to Dallas Love Field (DAL) this week, with operations from San Jose (SJC) and San Diego (SAN) becoming the carrier’s fifth and sixth routes into the Texan airport, joining its existing services from Portland, New York LaGuardia, Washington Reagan and Seattle-Tacoma. Both routes started on 16 February and both are flown daily by Alaska’s E175 fleet. Additionally both sectors face competition from Southwest Airlines, with the LCC offering three times daily flights from San Diego and daily services from San Jose.

Cutting the ribbon on Allegiant Air’s inaugural  flight from Austin to Columbus/Rickenbacker were: Kate Messer, Austin City Council Member from Jimmy Flannigan’s office; Bobby Dyke from Congressman Mike McCaul’s office; Brooke Dorrien, South Terminal Finance Director; Visit Austin Board Member Mike McConnell; Sarah Holloway from Congressman Mike McCaul’s office; and Ernie Saulmon, Austin Airport Advisory Commission Chairman. The 1,712-kilometre sector was also given a grand send off by this towering treat.

  • Allegiant Air has enhanced the schedules of its 12th and 14th largest operations –namely Columbus/Rickenbacker (CMH) and Austin (AUS) – by introducing a service between the two airports on 16 February. “We’re very excited to continue our growth in Austin,” said Lukas Johnson, Allegiant Air SVP Commercial. “The demand to visit this destination is high and we are thrilled to offer Columbus-area travellers their only ultra low-cost nonstop option to experience the Live Music Capital of the World.” Jim Smith, executive director of Austin Airport added: “We are pleased to have Allegiant provide us with another option for connecting Central Texas to the Midwest.” Operated by the ULCC’s MD-80 fleet on a twice-weekly basis (Mondays and Fridays), the city pair has no incumbent carriers. “Austin was one of our community’s most in-demand destinations for non-stop flights. We are very pleased Allegiant and Frontier established this service to connect our two vibrant state capitals,” said Joseph Nardone, President & CEO of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates John Glenn International and Rickenbacker International airports. There is no competition on the 1,712-kilometre city pair.

Waiting to tuck into this fine looking cake, heralding the start of American Airlines’ new route from Philadelphia to San Antonio were: Dale Morris, Government Affairs Specialist, American Airlines; Daniel Rodriguez, Station Manager American Airlines; Erika Hurtak, VP of Communications, San Antonio Economic Development Foundation; Russ Handy, Aviation Director, City of San Antonio; and Charles Serafini, Airport Advisory Council Member. This route was last flown in October 2015.

  • American Airlines has commenced flights from three different hubs, all launched on 15 February. New A320 services from the carrier’s second-largest operation, according to OAG schedule data, at Charlotte Douglas (CLT) were started to Tucson (TUS). Additionally, the oneworld airline kicked off a 2,403-kilometre link between Philadelphia (PHL), its fifth-biggest base in terms of weekly seats, and San Antonio (SAT), which is flown by its 128-seat A319 fleet. “Approximately 120,000 travellers fly between San Antonio and Philadelphia each year, so this new service answers the need for many travellers and is a highlight to our economic progress,” said Russ Handy, Aviation Director for the City of San Antonio. Finally, again on the same day, American began the airport pair from Washington Reagan (DCA) to Tallahassee (TLH), operated by its CRJ 900 aircraft. None of the new route trio has any direct route competition, and all will be operated on a daily basis.

A ribbon cutting took place in Jacksonville on 14 February to commemorate the start of Frontier Airlines’ four times weekly service from the ULCC’s main hub in Denver. Southwest Airlines already operates on the city pair.

  • Frontier Airlines began its 46th non-stop route from its Denver (DEN) base, according to OAG schedule data, on 14 February. The four times weekly service from the ULCC’s biggest hub, operated by the carrier’s A320 fleet, is to Jacksonville (JAX). The 2,322-kilometre sector will face direct competition from incumbent Southwest Airlines’ daily rotation between the two cities. See how this route’s FTWA compares to other from around the world.

Norwegian London Gatwick to Buenos Aires Ezeiza 

Norwegian held a Valentine’s Day celebration at London Gatwick as it launched a new route to the ‘Paris of South America’ – Buenos Aires. Passengers on the inaugural flight were surprised with a tango performance as well as learning a few steps for themselves, meaning they could tango their way to Buenos Aires.

Celebrations continued in Argentina, on hand to receive the inaugural Norwegian flight from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires Ezeiza on 14 February were: Martin Eurnekian, President of AA2000 (left); Gustavo Santos, Argentina’s Minister of Tourism (second left); Guillo Dietrich Minister of Transport (second right); and Mark Kent, UK Ambassador to Argentina (right). The four times weekly service is the first low-cost long-haul link from the UK to South America.

  • Norwegian has grown its long-haul network from London Gatwick (LGW) with its first route to Buenos Aires Ezeiza (EZE). The new year-round service, which commenced on 14 February, will be operated four times weekly by the LCC’s 787-9 fleet. There is no direct competition on the 11,117-kilometre sector to the Argentinian capital city. Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “Today we have marked the start of our new expansion into South America by bringing a taste of Argentina to London Gatwick. I am delighted to bring our high quality long-haul flights to another continent as we launch the only direct flight from London Gatwick to Buenos Aires, giving leisure and business passengers affordable access to South America. Our first flight to Buenos Aires from the UK marks another milestone for Norwegian. As our first South American route takes off, it is also a first step towards ambitious plans for international and domestic growth in Argentina, ahead of flights to Chicago and Austin from London Gatwick next month.” Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate added: “The launch of Norwegian’s first ever South American route is another exciting landmark in Gatwick’s ongoing mission to connect the UK to more and more long-haul destinations. The airport now offers 63 long-haul connections – with many, including Buenos Aires, operated by low-cost carriers – making Gatwick the busiest departure airport for low-cost long-haul services in the world. We’re going to continue breaking new ground this year and remain focused on strengthening Gatwick’s global reach at a time when worldwide connections are crucial for the UK.” Buenos Aires will be Norwegian’s 11th sector launched from Gatwick in the past four years and by the end of March, the LCC will become the second largest long-haul airline at the airport, with 13 direct long-haul routes following the launch of Buenos Aires, Chicago and Austin in March, and Singapore in September. See how this route’s FTWA compares to other from around the world.

Pobeda St. Petersburg to Cologne Bonn 

Pobeda commenced services from St. Petersburg to Cologne Bonn on 17 February. Cutting the celebratory cake were: Anna Nikiforova, Head of Aviation Marketing and Sales at the Russian airport and Dmitry Sukolenko, Head of Ground Handling at the LCC. The German city becomes the first international destination in Pobeda’s route network from St. Petersburg.

  • Pobeda, the Russian low-cost airline, used the last seven days to launch four new routes, two from its main Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) base, and two from St. Petersburg (LED), its second biggest operation in terms of weekly seats. The average sector length of the four new city pairs is 1,607 kilometres, with the longest being the 2,235-kilometre route from St. Petersburg to Pisa (PSA), while the shortest service is the 715-kilometre domestic airport pair from Vnukovo to Ulyanovsk (ULV). In 2018, Pobeda will continue to expand the geography of its flights from St. Petersburg. In S18 the airline will start flights to Gyumri (Armenia), Girona (Spain), Tbilisi (Georgia), as well to the Russian cities of Kaliningrad, Nizhnekamsk, and Ulyanovsk. See how this route’s FTWA compares to other from around the world.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
16-Feb Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) Ulyanovsk (ULV) B738 (7)  
17-Feb Karlovy Vary (KLV) B738 (2)  
St. Petersburg (LED) Cologne Bonn (CGN)  
18-Feb Pisa (PSA)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 20 February. WF = Weekly frequencies.

Spirit Airlines crew celebrated the launch of the ULCC’s new link from Colombus to Tampa on 16 February by having their picture taken with this impressive cake prepared by Tampa Airport. The cake is decorated in the colours of Ohio State University’s football team. Spirit will operate the 1,336-kilometre sector between Colombus and Tampa with daily flights and faces competition from Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

  • Spirit Airlines started five new domestic routes from Colombus (CMH) in the space of two days on 15 and 16 February, with links launching to Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Las Vegas (LAS), Orlando (MCO), Southwest Florida (RSW) and Tampa (TPA). The ULCC will operate daily frequencies on all five airport pairs and faces direct competition on each route. Southwest Airlines already serves all five links. The average sector length on Spirit’s new routes is 1,707 kilometres. See how this route’s FTWA compares to other from around the world.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition (WF)
15-Feb Columbus (CMH) Fort Lauderdale (FLL) A319 (7) Southwest Airlines (12)
Las Vegas (LAS) A319 (7) Southwest Airlines (13)
Orlando (MCO) A319 (7) Southwest Airlines (28), Frontier Airlines (4), Delta Air Lines (1)
Southwest Florida (RSW) A319 (7) Southwest Airlines (15), Frontier Airlines (3), Delta Air Lines (1)
16-Feb Columbus (CMH) Tampa (TPA) A319 (7) Southwest Airlines (14), Frontier Airlines (3)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 20 February 2018. WF = Weekly frequencies.

Vistara’s Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer Sanjiv Kapoor took part in a press conference at Chennai Airport to mark the airline’s inaugural service from Delhi on February 15. The full-service operator will initially serve this hotly-contested airport pair with daily flights, before increasing to double daily from 1 March. IndiGo, Jet Airways, Air India and SpiceJet already serve the 1,757-kilometre sector.

  • Vistara added Chennai (MAA) to its growing network, beginning daily services from Delhi (DEL) on 15 February. The Indian full-service carrier will initially serve the 1,757-kilometre airport pair with daily flights, before increasing frequencies to double daily from 1 March. Flights will be operated by A320s. Vistara faces direct competition from four incumbent carriers with IndiGo, Jet Airways, Air India and SpiceJet offering a combined 163 flights on this sector during the week commencing 20 February. “Many of our customers had been waiting for us to bring ‘the new feeling of flying’ to Chennai, and we’re pleased to finally inaugurate our service to the city,” commented Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Vistara. “We may have been late in coming to Chennai, but our aggressive expansion plan from the city truly signals its importance to Vistara.” The airline says that in addition to the Delhi connection, it will fly daily services between Chennai and Port Blair from 1 March and will further expand its operations from the city from 25 March, with daily flights between Chennai and Kochi, plus a double-daily link between Chennai and Kolkata. 

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