New airline routes launched (27 February 2018 – 5 March 2018)

Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi to Baku 

Etihad Airways Baku

Etihad Airways commenced flights to Baku on 2 March, with the route officially being opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the carrier’s Abu Dhabi hub. Among those conducting the cutting was Etihad Airways CEO Peter Baumgartner (third right). The carrier will operate the city pair three times weekly on its A320s.

  • Etihad Airways added Azerbaijan to its network on 2 March, the day which saw the MEB3 carrier inaugurate flights between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Baku (GYD). Peter Baumgartner, CEO of Etihad Airways, said of the new service: “We are tremendously excited to be launching scheduled flights between Abu Dhabi and Baku, the only scheduled service linking the two capitals. There is strong demand from both markets for a direct, full-service operation on the route, and we have responded to this increasing customer requirement. The new flights will further boost traffic from the UAE and strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations. The visa waiver programme introduced for UAE nationals by Azerbaijan in 2015 has greatly stimulated interest in the country, resulting in a surge of visitors since its implementation.” The UAE-based airline will operate the 1,835-kilometre connection three times weekly on its A320s, with no other carrier presently serving the city pair. Although it does not serve the route, Azerbaijan Airlines does have a codeshare agreement with Etihad Airways on the new service. MEB3 competition comes from Qatar Airways which already flies to Baku non-stop twice-daily from its Doha hub, an airport which is featured this week. Although Emirates does not fly to Baku, flydubai does serve the city three times daily, with the former carrier having a codeshare on the route. See how Baku Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Norwegian Paris Orly to New York Newark

Norwegian commenced flights between Paris Orly and New York Newark on 28 February, with the latter airport celebrating the route with this French-inspired cake, along with the crew also posing with an airline-branded ribbon. This becomes the airline’s second route between Paris and New York.

  • Norwegian opened its second route between Paris and New York on 28 February, starting a six times weekly service from Paris Orly (ORY) to New York Newark (EWR). The 5,853-kilometre 787-9-operated route complements the LCC’s six times weekly operation between Paris CDG and New York JFK, an airport pair also flown on its 787-9s. The service from Orly to Newark will face direct competition from OpenSkies, however the latter airline will end operations between the two airports in September, the month when LEVEL will start services. This becomes Norwegian’s third European connection to Newark, with it already linking the New York airport to Barcelona and Rome Fiumicino, while from Orly this is the airline’s first long-haul route. It already links Paris’ second-largest airport to Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm Arlanda year-round, while also offering a summer seasonal link to Bergen. As well as its latest long-haul service, Norwegian opened a second route to Paris this week, with it now linking Oslo Gardermoen (OSL) to Paris CDG (CDG). Opened on the same day, the LCC will also offer a six times weekly link on the 1,357-kilometre European capital connection. Operated on its 737-800s, Norwegian will face direct competition from Air France (17 times weekly) and SAS (six). This becomes the LCC’s first short-haul service from CDG.

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

“We wish easyJet a warm welcome to the best airport in Northern Europe. According to Helsinki Airport’s passenger statistics, Berlin is one of the most popular destinations, and Germany at large is the most popular market for Helsinki Airport,” says Petri Vuori, VP, Head of Route development at Finavia, the Finnish airport operator. Helping Vuori (right) to mark the new route were: Timo Haikonen Head of Passenger Service Swissport; Mikko Komi Key Account and Business Development Finavia; and, Dody Grippa Ground Operations Manager easyJet.

Also launching on 1 February, like the Helsinki route above, was another service to Scandinavia from Berlin Tegel, this time to Stockholm Arlanda. The double-daily route received the thumbs up from the inaugural flight’s crew. easyJet will face direct competition from SAS which operates between the two cities 12 times weekly.

The first passengers are seen here disembarking in Cyprus from easyJet’s Berlin Tegel to Paphos service which commenced on 3 February. It is the LCC’s first route to the Mediterranean island from Tegel, however the airline does currently operate a twice-weekly service from Berlin Schönefeld to Larnaca.

  • easyJet used the last seven days to launch four new routes, all of them from its newest German base at Berlin Tegel (TXL) now the LCC’s sixth biggest operation in terms of weekly capacity (w/c 2 March), behind London Gatwick, Geneva, London Luton, Milan Malpensa and Amsterdam. Perhaps more importantly, Tegel’s weekly seat count is now ahead of that recorded at Berlin Schönefeld. The average sector length of the four new city pairs is 1,323 kilometres, with the longest being the 2,496-kilometre route to Paphos (PFO), while the shortest service is the 838-kilometre airport pair to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN). In S18, easyJet will continue to expand the geography of its flights from Tegel, adding a further 23 destinations to its fast-growing network from the German capital city. 
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
01-Mar Berlin Tegel (TXL) Helsinki (HEL) A320 (7) Finnair (21)
Milan Malpensa (MXP)  
Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) A320 (14) SAS (12)
03-Mar Paphos (PFO) A320 (1)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 6 March. WF = Weekly frequencies.

Passengers on the inaugural service between Buenos Aires El Palomar and Tucuman were presented with a certificate as they arrived at the latter airport on 28 February. With the launch of flights to Tucuman, along with Mendoza which also started this week, to date Flybondi now operates five routes from El Palomar.

  • Flybondi commenced two more routes from its Buenos Aires El Palomar (EPA) base this week, with the first being a 1,062-kilometre link to Tucuman (TUC). Inaugurated on 28 February, the carrier will offer a daily service on the domestic connection. The second route to be started was Mendoza (MDZ), a link which commenced on 5 March. The latter 964-kilometre sector will also be flown daily, with both routes scheduled to be flown on the airline’s 737-800s. Due to Flybondi’s exclusive use of El Palomar Airport, neither route faces direct competition. See how Tucuman Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Frontier Airlines Little Rock

Frontier Airlines returned to Little Rock on 1 March, having last served the airport in October 2014 based on OAG schedules. The carrier inaugurated a three times weekly link from Denver, the same frequency that it operated last time from the Arkansas airport. Based on data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Frontier transported 40,920 passengers in 2014 on the route, representing an average theoretical load factor that year of 86%.

  • Frontier Airlines resumed flights between Denver (DEN) and Little Rock (LIT) on 1 March, with the carrier having last operated the 1,238-kilometre sector at the end of S14. The ULCC will operate its latest link from its Colorado hub three times weekly (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) on its fleet of A320s, with no other operator currently serving the city pair. During 2014 (up until the end of October, when the route closed), Frontier transported 40,920 passengers on its connection between Denver and Little Rock based on data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This means the airline achieved an average theoretical load factor of 86% that year on the city pair.

There were celebrations at Niigata Airport to mark the inaugural Peach Aviation service from Osaka Kansai on 1 March. The Japanese LCC will operate its latest domestic link, and first service to Niigata, with daily A320 flights. There is currently no direct competition on this 525-kilometre airport pair.

  • Peach Aviation launched operations on a new domestic link from Osaka Kansai (KIX) to Niigata (KIJ) on 1 March. The Japanese LCC will serve the 525-kilometre sector with daily A320 flights. There is no existing competition on this airport pair. This is the airline’s first route to Niigata Airport. OAG schedules show that Peach will serve 11 domestic destinations from Kansai during the week commencing 6 March. According to’s New Routes Database, it is due to launch two further domestic airport pairs in August, including a link from Kansai to Kushiro.

What is a new route celebration without cake! SalamAir now serves five different countries in the Middle East after commencing its first flights to Iran on 28 February. Along with Shiraz in Iran, SalamAir also serves: Taif, Jeddah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia; Sialkot, Multan and Karachi in Pakistan; Doha in Qatar; and Dubai in the UAE.

  • SalamAir has added Iran to its regional network, commencing a twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) service from Muscat (MCT) to Shiraz (SYZ). The A320-operated route joins the LCC’s existing international destinations in Saudi Arabia (Taif, Jeddah and Madinah), Pakistan (Sialkot, Multan and Karachi), Qatar (Doha) and the UAE (Dubai). The 869-kilometre sector, which started on 28 February, faces competition from Iran Aseman Airlines (twice-weekly) and Kish Air (weekly). See how Shiraz Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

SaudiGulf Airlines began double-daily flights from the Saudi Arabian capital city to the world’s busiest international airport on 1 March – its first overseas operation. The LCC hopes to start services to Pakistan in the coming months.

  • SaudiGulf Airlines, the LCC which is owned by flag carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines, has commenced double-daily flights from Riyadh (RUH) to Dubai (DXB) on 1 March. Flown by the carrier’s A320 fleet, the 872-kilometre sector will face some intense competition. Also operating the city pair are its parent Saudi Arabian Airlines (42 times weekly), as well as flynas (29), Emirates (21), flydubai (14) and Sky Pearl (six). At the time of announcing its flights to Dubai in early-January, SaudiGulf also suggested that it was looking to start operations in March from its Dammam base to four destinations in Pakistan – namely Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Sialkot. At the time of writing, these services were not on sale. See how Dubai Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world


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