New airline routes launched (17 April 2018 – 23 April 2018)


Primera Air London Stansted to New York Newark

A full celebration to mark the start of Primera Air’s transatlantic operations from London Stansted has been postponed until the LCC receives its A321LRs from the manufacturer. A small ceremony was still held at the London airport for the daily service, which will utilise a leased 757 in the interim period.

  • Primera Air, has commenced its first transatlantic flights from London Stansted (STN) on 19 April, beginning a daily operation to New York Newark (EWR), just over a week after launching flights to Malaga and Alicante. According to OAG schedules, the start of services are being flown by a leased 757-200, to be replaced with the carrier’s A321LRs once they are cleared for operations. While there is no direct competition on the airport pair, Air India, British Airways, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways all offer services from London Heathrow.

Frontier Airlines Denver to Pensacola 

Frontier Airlines introduced Pensacola to its route map on 22 April. To celebrate, the Florida airport held a major celebration to greet its newest airline, including two fantastic cakes to commemorate the first service from Denver, while also choosing the opportunity to push the airline’s route from Chicago O’Hare which begins in May. Seen posing with the cakes, alongside the chocolate moose mascot, are Eric Olson, Pensacola City Administrator and Jonathan Freed, Director of Corporate Communications at Frontier Airlines. Denver flights face no direct competition.

  • Frontier Airlines has now added Pensacola (PNS) in Florida to its route map, commencing a 1,894-kilometre link from Denver (DEN). Launched on 22 April, the carrier will operate the city pair three times weekly, with no other carrier presently flying between the two airports. From 12 May the carrier will add a second connection into Pensacola from Chicago O’Hare. That twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) service will go head-to-head with United Airlines’ 15 times weekly operation when it launches. Overall, this means that Frontier now serves seven airports in Florida. This tally is better than that of rival ULCC Spirit Airlines (three Florida airports served), with Frontier now serving the same number of destinations as Allegiant Air in the state.

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


Aircompany Armenia launched flights to Lyon on 19 April, with the French airport baking a classically-styled three-tier cake to greet its newest airline. Seen speaking at the event is Cédric Fechter, MD Lyon Airport, who was in the company of Lyon Mayor Georges Cepenenkian. Flights on the route will operate twice-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays).

  • Aircompany Armenia commenced flights between Yerevan (EVN) and Lyon (LYS) on 19 April, with this becoming the airline’s only route to France, home to approximately 450,000 people of Armenian descent according to various sources. Launched 19 April, the airline will operate the 3,225-kilometre route twice-weekly (Mondays and Thursdays) using its sole 737-500 according to OAG schedules, however some services maybe flown using E190s and 737-700s courtesy of its partner airline Georgian Airways. The only other carrier presently flying between France and Yerevan is Air France, with the SkyTeam member offering four weekly flights between Paris CDG and the Armenian capital. See how Lyon Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Finnair commenced flights to Stuttgart on 23 April. Pictured celebrating the new service with the flight crew are Jan Pellinen, GM Central Europe, Finnair and Dr. Arina Freitag, MD of Stuttgart Airport. The oneworld member will operate the 1,635-kilometre route daily using its E190 fleet, with Stuttgart becoming the carrier’s sixth German destination.

  • Finnair commenced its sixth service to Germany on 23 April, with Helsinki (HEL) now being linked to Stuttgart (STR) on a daily basis courtesy of the oneworld member. The carrier already operates into Berlin Tegel, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich from its hub. The airline is no stranger to Stuttgart, having last flown into the airport up until the end of the W11/12 season. Finnair will operate the Stuttgart route using its fleet of E190s, with the 1,635-kilometre sector facing no direct competition. When referencing OAG Traffic Analyser data, an estimated 24,000 passengers travelled indirectly between Helsinki and Stuttgart in 2017, up 12% versus the 21,500 that reportedly flew between the two airports in 2016. Of course Finnair will not only be trying to capture this demand, but also feed its multiple services into North America and Asia. A further look into the data also reveals that the leading airport to capture indirect traffic in 2017 was Berlin Tegel, with 33% of the market being driven by the now defunct airberlin, which itself was also a oneworld member. See how Stuttgart Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Izumo Airport celebrated the launch of daily Sendai services with Fuji Dream Airlines on 20 April. The ribbon cutting ceremony was supported by two larger-than-life mascots. The 776-kilometre route will be operated by E170s departing Izumo at 10:30 each day and arriving in Sendai at 12:00. There is no direct competition on the airport pair.

Sendai held a ribbon cutting ceremony of its own to welcome the inaugural arrival from Izumo on 20 April. Schedules show this is Fuji Dream Airlines’ first route to Sendai. It will now offer three domestic links from Izumo during S18, with the Sendai service being joined by flights to Nagoya Komaki and Shizuoka.

  • Fuji Dream Airlines inaugurated its first link to Sendai (SDJ) on 20 April, with the launch of a daily domestic connection from Izumo (IZO). Flights will depart Izumo at 10:30 each day, before arriving in Sendai at 12:00. The Japanese regional carrier will deploy its E170s on the 776-kilometre route which faces no direct competition. OAG schedules show the Sendai sector will be one of three domestic connections Fuji Dream Airlines offers from Izumo during S18, with the carrier also serving Nagoya Komaki and Shizuoka from the facility in Shimane Prefecture. See how Sendai Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Having operated its New York Newark service from Paris CDG since its inception in July 2014, La Compagnie moved its boutique airline service across town on 22 April. Having faced competition from Delta Air Lines and United Airlines at CDG, it will now encounter incumbents OpenSkies and Norwegian at Paris Orly.

  • La Compagnie, the French all-business carrier, has shifted its New York Newark (EWR) route across the French capital city from Paris CDG, where the service was first started, to Paris Orly (ORY). Flown 11 times weekly by the boutique carrier’s 74-seat 757-200s from 22 April, the airline faces direct competition from OpenSkies (daily) and Norwegian (six times weekly), as well as indirect competition from Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, which both continue to fly to the US airport from CDG. See how Paris Orly Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

There were celebrations in Singapore on 22 April to mark Lanmei Airlines’ first flight from Phnom Penh. A special cake was baked to mark the occasion, apparently by dnata. The Cambodian carrier will operate this route six times weekly using A319s, facing direct competition from SilkAir, Jetstar Asia and JC International Airlines.

  • Lanmei Airlines added Singapore (SIN) to its growing network of routes from Phnom Penh (PNH) on 22 April. The Cambodian carrier will operate five flights on the 1,135-kilometre route during the first week of operation, but the frequency quickly increases to six weekly rotations in May. It will deploy A319s on this airport pair and will face multiple incumbents. OAG schedules show that during the week commencing 24 April, SilkAir, Jetstar Asia and JC International Airlines will provide 17, 11 and six weekly flights between Phnom Penh and Singapore respectively. Singapore is one of five international destinations Lanmei Airlines is currently scheduled to serve regularly from Phnom Penh in S18, with the others being Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Hanoi. It also offers a domestic link to Siem Reap. 

There were celebrations at Bangkok Don Mueang to mark Philippines AirAsia’s first service from Manila on 22 April. The assembled dignitaries included Dexter Comendador, CEO Philippines AirAsia and Kajorndet Apichartrakul, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand. The LCC will operate this 2,200-kilometre sector daily with its A320s.

  • Philippines AirAsia launched a new link between Manila (MNL) and Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) on 22 April. The 2,200-kilometre connection will link the capital cities of the Philippines and Thailand with daily flights operated by A320s. There is no direct competition, but schedules show that multiple carriers (including Philippine Airlines and Thai Airways) will operate a combined 46 weekly flights from Manila to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi during the week commencing 24 April. “AirAsia is a product of Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and we are so proud to be part of this region we call home,” said Dexter Comendador, CEO Philippines AirAsia. “We are the only airline that carries “I love Asean” painted on our aircraft including the ASEAN logo. AirAsia loves Asean is a commitment to help bridge communities and economies as we move toward even greater integration and mutual understanding.” Kajorndet Apichartrakul, Director, Tourism Authority of Thailand, said: “We want to bring people across the Asean region closer together and further expand our Asean footprint to serve more and more communities. We have 100% load for this inaugural flight and we hope to do more inter-Asean routes to serve every Filipino traveller’s needs and enable them to connect, do business and build socio-economic ties with neighbouring economies.”

SAS Toulon

SAS commenced flights from Copenhagen to Toulon-Hyères on 21 April, with the French airport handing out roses and trilby hats to the arriving guests. The Star Alliance member also serves four other airports in France this summer from Copenhagen, namely Biarritz, Montpellier, Nice and Paris CDG.

  • SAS commenced operations between Copenhagen (CPH) and Toulon-Hyères (TLN) on 21 April, with the 1,468-kilometre sector complementing the airline’s existing routes from the Danish capital to Montpellier and Nice on the French Riviera. Flown weekly (Saturdays) using CRJ 900s, this seasonal service, which is scheduled to run until 20 October, will face no direct competition. Along with Toulon-Hyères, Montpellier and Nice, SAS also links Copenhagen to Biarritz and Paris CDG in France this summer. Along with these sectors, SAS will operate a further eight routes to France this summer based on OAG Schedules.

Swiss Marseille

SWISS introduced Marseille to its network on 21 April, the day which saw it commence a three times weekly service from Zurich. Based on OAG schedules, the Star Alliance member faces no direct competition on the route.

  • SWISS has now introduced Marseille (MRS) to its network, having begun a three times weekly link from Zurich (ZRH) on 21 April. The Star Alliance member will operate the 515-kilometre route on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays using a mixture of its single-aisle fleet according to OAG schedules. The Switzerland-France city pair faces no direct competition. This is the airline’s fourth route to mainland France from Zurich, with Marseille joining its Paris CDG, Nice and Bordeaux services, with the latter having only launched on 26 March. SWISS also offers a seasonal link from Zurich to Figari in Corsica.

Four thumbs up for four new Ural Airlines routes to Bologna which launched on 21 April, adding to Moscow Domodedovo and Krasnodar services which started on 7 April. Five out of six destinations are brand new for the Italian airport, with Domodedovo having already been connected in the past.

  • Ural Airlines, having launched its first two routes from Moscow Domodedovo and Krasnodar to Bologna (BLQ) on 7 April, introduced four more destinations two weeks later. The longest sector is the 3,650-kilometre route from Ekaterinburg (SVX) to the Italian city, whereas the shortest city pair is from Rosov-on-Don (ROV) to Bologna, at 2,221 kilometres. The average sector length of all four services is 2,940 kilometres. Five out of six destinations operated by Ural are brand new for the Italian airport, with Domodedovo having already been connected in the past.
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
21-Apr Ekaterinburg (SVX) Bologna (BLQ) A320 (1)  
Kazan (KZN)  
Rostov-on-Don (ROV)  
Samara (KUF)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 24 April. WF = Weekly frequencies.

Heralding the start of Volotea’s newest base in France were: Carlos Cerqueiro, Corporate Development & Communication Director, Volotea; Edo Friart, Development Director, Volotea; Julien Boullay, CCO Marseille Airport; Véronique Lemée-Alexandre, Head of Route Development & Market Research, Marseille Airport; Carlos Muñoz, CEO, Volotea; Patrice Escorihuela, CFO, Marseille Airport; Isidre Porqueras Orea, Chief of Cost & Operational Performance, Volotea; Marco Comani, Chief Strategy Officer Volotea; and Pierfrancesco Carino, Chief Sales Officer, Volotea.

  • Volotea opened its fifth French base this week in Marseille (MRS) and at the same time started four new routes from France’s second-biggest city. In addition, the LCC commenced its sixth service from Nice (NCE), this time to Split (SPU). The longest sector is the 1,930-kilometre route from Marseille to Heraklion (HER), whereas the shortest city pair is the French domestic route from the new base to Biarritz (BIQ), at 541 kilometres. The average sector length of all five services is 1,053 kilometres, while the average frequency is just 1.4 flights per week. Only two of the five airport pairs will see any direct competition. See how Marseille and Caen airports’ FTWAs compare to others from around the world
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
19-Apr Marseille (MRS) Biarritz (BIQ) B717 (2)  
20-Apr Caen (CFR) HOP! (5)
21-Apr Corfu (CFU) B717 (1)  
Heraklion (HER) Aegean Airlines (2)
22-Apr Nice Split (SPU)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 24 April. WF = Weekly frequencies.

Malacca Airport in Malaysia welcomed the inaugural Wings Air service from Medan Indonesia on 20 April. The Thai Lion Air subsidiary will offer daily flights on the 405-kilometre link. There is no direct competition on this route, which becomes the carrier’s second connection between Indonesia and Malaysia, joining Pontianak to Kuching.

  • Wings Air began daily services between Medan (KNO) in Indonesia and Malacca (MKZ) in Malaysia on 20 April. It will deploy ATR 72-500s and -600s on the 405-kilometre sector and faces no direct competition. According to OAG data, the Thai Lion Air subsidiary is already scheduled to operate to 10 domestic destinations from Medan in S18, but Malacca currently represents the only international link. Schedules show that this new route will become Wings Air’s second link to Malaysia, after it introduced a connection from Pontianak to Kuching in January. See how Malacca Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Wizz Air London Luton

Not only did Wizz Air base a fourth aircraft at London Luton this week, but it also opened its latest route from the UK capital, a 1,912-kilometre link to Tirana. Inaugurated on 19 April, the ULCC will operate the airport pair three times weekly using its A320 fleet, with this service becoming the only low-cost link between the UK and Albania.

  • Wizz Air launched its latest service from the UK on 19 April, a 1,912-kilometre link between London Luton (LTN) and Tirana (TIA), with this becoming the only low-cost service between the UK and Albania. While it is not direct competition, British Airways does fly to Tirana from London Gatwick five times weekly this summer. “We are delighted with this new service operated by Wizz Air. This will be of great help to many Albanians who live in or near to London, and will offer new opportunities for tourists to explore Albania more fully,” said Tirana Airport CEO Dr. Rolf Castro-Vasquez about the new service. Wizz Air, which also based a fourth aircraft at Luton this week, will operate its newest city pair using its fleet of A320s. This becomes Wizz Air’s second route to Tirana, after the carrier inaugurated flights from Budapest on 5 April last year. The airline’s next new services from Luton will begin on 29 April, with the ULCC planning routes to Athens and Reykjavik/Keflavik respectively. 

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