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

WestJet Vancouver and Calgary to Mexico City

Furry nice! Calgary Airport used some of its hairy helpers to send off WestJet’s new service to Mexico City on 14 March. The 3,755-kilometre sector will initially be flown four times weekly, before being upgraded to daily from 29 April.

WestJet first landed in Mexico in 2007 and now serves 11 cities in the country from 15 Canadian destinations, thanks to its new services from Vancouver and Calgary to Mexico City. Offering more non-stop routes than any other Canadian airline, WestJet’s growth in Mexico makes up nearly 10% of the airline’s ASMs and in its peak winter schedule, it will operate up to 37 daily flights to the country.

  • WestJet’s inaugural flight WS2200 from Calgary (YYC) to Mexico City (MEX) departed on 14 March, marking the airline’s newest service to Mexico. Flights between Vancouver (YVR) and the Mexican capital city started on the following day. “WestJet is proud to be at the forefront of expanding on vital trade and tourism linkages between Mexico and Canada,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. “Non-stop, year-round flights from Calgary and Vancouver to Mexico City connect the country to one of the most important major markets in the Americas and expand on growing opportunities for Canada/Mexico tourism.” WestJet begins service with four weekly flights between Calgary and Mexico City and a three times weekly operation between Vancouver and Mexico City. Effective 29 April, both routes move to a daily service. Both city pairs are also flown by the carrier’s 737-700 fleet. On the Calgary route, the airline will face competition from Aeromexico (daily), while on the Vancouver sector there are three incumbents, namely Aeromexico (double-daily), Air Canada (daily) and Interjet (four times weekly).

Frontier Airlines Denver to Tulsa

Cakes and a ribbon-cutting accompanied the inaugural flight by Frontier Airlines from Denver to Tulsa this week. The ULCC will add four more destinations from the Oklahoma city this summer.

  • Frontier Airlines has commenced its first route to Tulsa (TUL) from its biggest base at Denver (DEN). The first of five routes to the Oklahoma city which will start this summer – including flights to Orlando, San Diego, San Jose and Washington Dulles – the Denver-Tulsa city pair started on 15 March. Flown by the airline’s A320 fleet, the 863-kilometre domestic sector will face direct competition from United Airlines (three times daily) and Southwest Airlines (13 times weekly). See how this route launch’s FTWA performed against other airports from around the world.

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

There were celebrations at San Francisco on 14 March to mark a double route launch from Interjet, with the Mexican LCC starting services from both Cancún and Guadalajara on the same day. Cutting the ribbon to commemorate the inaugural flights were Jeff Littlefield, COO, San Francisco Airport; Javier Porragas, Sales Director, Interjet; Gemi José González López, Consul General, Mexico and Todd O’Leary, VP of Partnerships, San Francisco Travel. A special cake was also baked for the occasion.

  • Interjet began two new services to San Francisco (SFO) on 14 March, linking the Californian city to Cancún (CUN) and Guadalajara (GDL). The two city pairs will be operated three times per week with A320s, and both face incumbent competition. The 3,870-kilometre Cancún route is already operated by United Airlines with 15 weekly frequencies, while the 2,644-kilometre Guadalajara sector is currently served by Aeromexico (six weekly flights) and Volaris (four weekly). These are Interjet’s only routes to San Francisco. OAG schedules show the Bay Area airport will be one of three US destinations served by the Mexican LCC from Cancún in S18 and one of five from Guadalajara.

AdR’s Route Manager – Americas and Africa Marco Gobbi (second left) was on hand to welcome LATAM Airlines’ new service to the Eternal City from Sao Paulo Guarulhos on 16 March, arriving in Italy at 07:55 the following day. The 9,424-kilometre sector will be flown three times weekly.

  • LATAM Airlines has added Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to its European network of services from Sao Paulo Guarulhos (GRU). The Italian capital city joins the oneworld member’s existing services to Milan Malpensa, Madrid, Barcelona, Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Paris CDG. Flown three times weekly, the 767-300-operated service, which commenced on 16 March, will face competition from Alitalia, which currently serves the city pair on a nine times weekly basis. See how this route launch’s FTWA performed against other airports from around the world.

Malindo Air commenced two routes linking Malaysia and nearby Indonesia this week, including this one from Penang to Banda Aceh getting the thumbs up! As a result of this expansion, the airline offers eight city pairs between the two countries, with four routes being operated from Kuala Lumpur.

  • Malindo Air began two fresh routes between Malaysia and Indonesia this week. The first, which started on 15 March, linked Ipoh (IPH) and Medan (KNO), while on the following day a service between Penang (PEN) and Banda Aceh (BTJ) was launched. The former city pair will be flown four times weekly, whereas the latter will be served three times weekly. The Penang-Banda Aceh sector will face direct competition from Firefly (four times weekly). Both routes are operated by the airline’s ATR 72 fleet. As a result of this expansion Malindo Air now flies two routes from Ipoh and eight from Penang.

They’ve certainly got Spirit! The ULCC started its first operations to Richmond in Virginia on 15 March with daily services from Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. The delicious cupcakes for the launch flight were provided by Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe!

  • Spirit Airlines added a new point to its network map on 15 March, with Richmond (RIC) becoming the latest airport “to get Spirit”. Daily A319-operated flights were commenced from Orlando (MCO) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). According to OAG schedules for this week, the ULCC now offers connections to 22 non-stop destinations from the former Floridian airport, and 51 from the latter. Both routes will see Spirit compete against JetBlue Airways, which flies double-daily on the two sectors, whereas the Orlando-Richmond city pair will face competition from another incumbent, Southwest Airlines, which operates on a weekly basis.

On 16 March, Turkish Airlines started flights to its 302nd destination, as it began flights to Samarkland in Uzbekistan, becoming the second destination in the country after the capital city Tashkent, which is now served daily. The carrier’s first flights to Uzbekistan began in 1992.

Three days later, Turkish Airlines inaugurated services to Aqaba in Jordan, which adds to the Star Alliance carrier’s existing operations to Amman. Flights leave its Istanbul Ataturk hub at 22:00 and arrive in Jordan at 23:50. The return sector leaves Aqaba at 00:45 and lands back in Turkey at 04:20.

  • Turkish Airlines has used the last seven days to add two further spokes to its vast Istanbul Atatürk (IST) hub. On 16 March, the Star Alliance carrier started twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Fridays) flights to Samarkland (SKD), its second destination in Uzbekistan. On the new service, the Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi said: “We have launched flights to Samarkand, one of the most important cities of our civilisation, and on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Passengers will be able to fly to Samarkand from 121 countries, through direct flights that we launched.” The 3,211-kilometre sector will face direct competition from Uzbekistan Airways, which flies the city pair on a twice-weekly basis. Three days later, Turkish Airlines began three times weekly operations to its second city in Jordan, with flights to Aqaba (AQJ). No other carrier flies this route. Both services will operated by the airline’s 737-800 fleet.

Wizz Air launched its 55th service from its Budapest base on 15 March, a twice-weekly operation to Stavanger. Cup cakes and on-apron celebrations were held at the Norwegian airport to mark the event.

  • Wizz Air has added the 1,555-kilometre sector from its second-biggest base at Budapest (BUD), which is behind only its London Luton operation, to Stavanger (SVG). Launched on 15 March, the twice-weekly service (Thursdays and Sundays) is operated by the ULCC’s A320 fleet and faces no direct competition. Wizz Air now flies five routes from the Norwegian airport.


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