New airline routes launched (15 May 2018 – 21 May 2018)

Eurowings Düsseldorf and Stuttgart to Mostar

On 16 May, Mostar Airport welcomed the first of two new Eurowings flights, the initial sector being from Düsseldorf. The city in Bosnia and Herzegovina won the LCC’s first ‘You Vote, We Fly’ competition which took place in October last year. Košice will be the second destination launched in this way later this year.

Festivities were a bit more modest three days later on 19 May, when Mostar celebrated the start of Eurowings’ flights from Stuttgart with a thumbs up on the apron.

  • Eurowings has come good on its promise to fly to a destination selected by the public, namely Mostar (OMO). The city in Bosnia and Herzegovina won the LCC’s first ‘You Vote, We Fly’ competition which took place in October last year. Twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) services from Düsseldorf (DUS) began on 16 May, with weekly flights (Saturdays) from Stuttgart (STR) beginning on 19 May. Both sectors are flown by the carrier’s Q400s and neither faces any direct competition. Košice will be the second destination launched in this way by Eurowings later this year. See how Mostar Airport’s two FTWAs compare to others from around the world

Air Canada Vancouver to Sacramento

Air Canada Sacramento

Air Canada added a connection between Vancouver and Sacramento on 17 May, with the California airport greeting the Star Alliance member’s new service with this classically designed two-tier cake. The carrier will be operating the 1,173-kilometre transborder airport pair daily using its fleet of CRJ 900s based on OAG schedules.

Air Canada commenced operations between Montreal and Baltimore/Washington on 17 May, with the US airport celebrating the route with a ribbon cutting and two cakes. Seen taking part in the ribbon cutting are: Frédéric Tremblay, Director of the Quebec Government Office in Washington; Frank Stendardo, Transport Counsellor, Embassy of Canada to the US; Vincent Gauthier-Dore, Director of US Business Development, Air Canada; Ricky Smith, Executive Director, Baltimore/Washington Airport; and Calvin Peacock, Maryland Aviation Commission.

Air Canada Pittsburgh

Air Canada also added Pittsburgh to its Montreal network on 17 May, with the US airport also baking a cake to mark the start of the new connection. Seen speaking at the launch is David Ray, Manager Business Development US, Air Canada. Ray was also joined by Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive; Eric Sprys, CCO, Pittsburgh Airport; and Bernie Mongilio, US Great Lakes BU Manager and US Banking Industry Leader at CGI, by commenting on the new service.

Along with its Montreal expansion, Air Canada also added a new service from Toronto Pearson on 17 May, coming in the form of a short 703-kilometre sector to Providence. The Rhode Island airport baked a cake to mark the arrival of the Star Alliance member, while speeches were made by Patrick Khoury, Senior Director Sales US, Air Canada, and Iftikhar Ahmad, President and CEO, Rhode Island Airport Corporation.

  • Air Canada upped its game in the US-Canada transborder market this week, adding four new routes to its network. The Star Alliance member now links Montreal (YUL) to Baltimore/Washington (BWI) and Pittsburgh (PIT). Toronto Pearson (YYZ) has gained a service to Providence (PVD), while Vancouver (YVR) is now connected with Sacramento (SMF). “Baltimore/Washington continues to outpace the region by offering more flights to more destinations more frequently. This new international service between Baltimore/Washington and Montreal will provide another convenient travel destination for Marylanders, as well as attract increased tourism to our state,” said Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland, of the new service from the US capital region. All four routes were previously unserved, making these markets unique to Air Canada. All four connections will be flown by the Canadian flag carrier daily, with the average sector length of the route quartet being 845 kilometres. See how Baltimore/Washington, Pittsburgh and Providence airports FTWAs compares to others from around the world
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
17-May Montreal (YUL) Baltimore/Washington (BWI) CRJ2 (7)  
Pittsburgh (PIT)  
Toronto Pearson (YYZ) Providence (PVD)  
Vancouver (YVR) Sacramento (SMF) CRJ9 (7)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 22 May. WF = Weekly frequencies.

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

Aer Lingus Seattle

Among those to speak at the press conference marking Aer Lingus’ inaugural flight between Dublin and Seattle-Tacoma was Robert O’Driscoll, Consul General of Ireland to Western US. The Irish carrier will offer four weekly flights to its latest North American airport, with Seattle taking its destination tally on the continent to 13.

  • Aer Lingus made Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) its 13th North American (12th US) destination on 18 May, the day on which it began a four times weekly service from Dublin (DUB). “Seattle as a destination holds great promise for Aer Lingus given the strong business ties between the two regions, making this an important route for business travel as well as leisure trips as exemplified by the high demand for business class tickets on the route to date,” commented Mike Rutter, COO of Aer Lingus. “Our interline agreement with Alaska Airlines means we can offer seamless onwards connections for our guests to 40 additional locations serviced by the airline.” The 7,281-kilometre sector is not served by any other airline. North America has certainly been a focus market for Aer Lingus over the past few years, with Seattle being its second new destination on the continent this year, having launched flights to Philadelphia in March. Between January and November 2017, the Irish flag carrier flew just under 1.78 million passengers between Ireland and the US, representing an increase of 20% versus the 1.48 million who used the carrier to fly between the two countries during the first 11 months of 2016. Along with its routes from Dublin, the airline also provides services from Shannon to Boston and New York JFK, meaning in total the carrier is currently operating 15 transatlantic services this summer. See how Seattle-Tacoma Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Africa World Airlines Freetown

Africa World Airlines held a press conference in Freetown to mark the start of its services from Accra on 21 May. The carrier plans to operate three weekly flights on the 1,473-kilometre sector using its ERJ 145s.

  • Africa World Airlines initiated flights between Accra (ACC), the destination for Routes Africa 2018, and Freetown (FNA) on 21 May. The airline will operate the 1,473-kilometre sector three times weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) using its fleet of ERJ 145s, of which it currently has six when consulting the carrier’s website and OAG schedules. The route from Accra to Freetown is presently served by ASKY Airlines (four times weekly) and Fly Mid Africa (twice-weekly), while Kenya Airways also offers three weekly services on its link from Nairobi which operates via the Ghanaian capital.

Air North Whitehorse

Air North commenced operations between Whitehorse and Victoria on 18 May, with one of the festivities to celebrate the route being a gift exchange. Flights will operate twice-weekly, with one of the weekly inbound and outbound services operating via Kelowna. Based on OAG schedules, flights are poised to be flown using the carrier’s 737-500s.

  • Air North launched flights between Whitehorse (YXY) and Victoria (YYJ) on 18 May. The carrier will operate the 1,530-kilometre sector twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays), with the first of the two weekly flights operating outbound via Kelowna, while the second of the weekly rotations is flown inbound via the latter city. The carrier will use its fleet of 737-500s on the route according to OAG schedules, with it also being the only airline to serve the city pair between Whitehorse and Victoria. See how Victoria Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Among the welcoming committee at Hua Hin to greet AirAsia’s inaugural arrival from Kuala Lumpur on 18 May 2018 were Pairin Chuchotethavorn, Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Transport; Daroon Saengchai, Director General of the Department of Airports; Panlop Singhaseni, Governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan province; Nopporn Wuttikul, Mayor of Hua Hin; Walailak Noypayak, TAT Director for ASEAN market; Apisit Ubolkomu, Director of Hua Hin Airport and Witchunee Kuntapeng, Director of Ground Operations for Thai AirAsia, representing AirAsia.

  • AirAsia began a new direct service between Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Hua Hin (HHQ) in Thailand on 18 May. Flights on the 1,114-kilometre sector will operate on Mondays, Wednesday’s, Fridays and Sundays, with an approximate flight time of two hours. The airport pair will be flown using A320s and there is no direct competition.“Last year, we carried about 1.3 million guests from Kuala Lumpur to Thailand, proving The Land of Smiles as one of the most popular holiday spots in our list of over 130 destinations,” said Spencer Lee, Head of Commercial, AirAsia. “Today, we couldn’t be more pleased to introduce Hua Hin to our guests and importantly, we are excited to introduce Hua Hin to its first direct international route to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We hope that this unique route will further boost the economic, cultural and social ties between Malaysia and Thailand.” Pairin Chuchotethavorn, Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Transport, indicated that the Thai government has plans to develop Hua Hin Airport by increasing its capacity to accommodate more airlines and travellers. AirAsia currently operates 165 weekly one-way flights to Thailand from Kuala Lumpur. See how Hua Hin Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Cutting the cake at the launch of airBaltic’s inaugural flight to Split from Riga are: Mantas Vrubliauskas, Network Development Manager, airBaltic; Anica Djamić, Ambassador and Plenipotentiary of Croatia; and Arturs Saveljevs, Member of the Board and Director of Commercial Department, Riga Airport. Flights to Split will operate twice-weekly.

  • airBaltic has introduced Split (SPU) to its network this week, with it becoming its third Croatian destination after Dubrovnik and Rijeka. Launched on 21 May, flights on the 1,582-kilometre link from Riga (RIX) will be flown twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays), with no direct competition being provided. While the inaugural flight was operated using one of the airline’s CS300s, regular services are scheduled to be flown on that aircraft type, along with the carrier’s 737-300s and 737-500s. “We are delighted to add the seventh new destination from Riga to our summer route map of 2018,” commented Wolfgang Reuss, SVP of Network Management, airBaltic, with the carrier having already launched flights to Almaty, Gdansk, Kaliningrad, Lisbon, Malaga and Sochi/Adler since the start of S18. “The city of Split has more than 2,000 years of history. Not only it is an attractive destination in itself, but with its position in Central Dalmatia it is also an ideal vantage point for journeys to Croatian islands including Hvar or Brac.” The Latvian-based airline’s next route launch will take place on 3 June, the day when the carrier will begin flights to Bordeaux from Riga. See how Split Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Allegiant Air Asheville

Allegiant Air launched flights between Denver and Asheville on 16 May, with the latter airport pulling out all the stops with the route launch cake that it produced to herald the service. Flights will operate twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) using the carrier’s fleet of A320s. Denver becomes the airline’s seventh route from Asheville.

  • Allegiant Air expanded its networks at Denver (DEN) and San Diego (SAN) airports this week, with the ULCC adding two spokes from the Colorado hub while the Californian city saw only one connection added. The first route to launch was on 16 May, coming in the form of a 2,002-kilometre connection between Denver and Asheville (AVL), while a second route to Bellingham (BLI), at a distance of 1,725 kilometres from Denver, was inaugurated on 18 May. The sole new route from San Diego, a 1,368-kilometre sector to Eugene (EUG), was launched on 17 May. Flights to Asheville will be flown using the carrier’s fleet of A320s, while the other two routes will see A319 operations. Neither of the three routes launched by Allegiant Air this week will face direct competition based on OAG schedules.

Austrian Airlines Japan

Austrian Airlines added Japan to its network on 15 May when it commenced flights to Tokyo Narita from Vienna, with the Japanese airport celebrating the arrival of the first flight the following day. The Star Alliance member will serve the 9,151-kilometre sector between Austria and Japan five times weekly using its 777-200 fleet.

  • Austrian Airlines returned to the Japanese market on 15 May, the day which saw the Star Alliance member resume flights between Vienna (VIE) and Tokyo Narita (NRT) after a two-year gap. “We had to terminate flights on the route to Tokyo back in 2016 due to the economic downturn and the currency decline in Japan,” commented Stephan Linhart, Senior Director Sales Austria & Slovakia, Lufthansa Group. “Now market conditions are significantly better. There is potential for this flight service once again and we are very pleased that we can return to Japan so quickly.” The carrier will offer five weekly flights between the Austrian and Japanese capitals, with it planning to utilise its 777-200s on the 9,151-kilometre sector. The carrier has stated that it hopes to carry 57,000 passengers by the end of 2018 on the route according to its press release. When referencing OAG schedules, the carrier will offer 72,222 two-way seats on the city pair between 15 May and the end of 2018, which based on its passenger flow forecast means that carrier will be hoping to achieve an average load factor of 79% this year. No other carrier presently flies between the two cities.

Among those present at the launch of British Airways’ service between London Heathrow and Kefalonia were: Haris Filos, Senior Airline Developer, Fraport Greece; Spyros Galiatsatos, Ionian Islands Region Vice Governor of Tourism & Promotion; and George Vilos, Executive Director of Commercial & Business Development, Fraport Greece. The three were then joined by other VIPs to help cut the cake baked to celebrate the route launch.

British Airways Dublin Manchester

Along with its new route from London Heathrow, British Airways commenced flights between Dublin and Manchester this week. Seen pictured at the launch in the Irish capital are: Dublin Airport Aviation Business Development Manager, Stephen O’Reilly; British Airways Key Partnership Manager UK & Ireland, Brenda Morgan; British Airways Consumer Sales Manager Tara Magee and Dublin Airport Business to Business Marketing Executive, Edel Redmond.

British Airways Manchester Florence

Along with securing a new route from Dublin with British Airways, Manchester Airport also gained a link to Florence with the oneworld member, a service launched on 19 May. Seen cutting this fantastic cake, styled on the Italian city’s cathedral, are Stephen Turner, Commercial Director, Manchester Airport, and Luke Hayhoe, GM Customer and Commercial, BA CityFyer. The carrier will serve the route weekly using its E190s.

  • British Airways introduced a new European spoke to its London Heathrow (LHR) network on 15 May, initiating a twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) seasonal service to Kefalonia (EFL). The oneworld member will serve the 2,205-kilometre route using its fleet of A320s, with the carrier scheduled to operate the airport pair until 6 October based on present schedules. While no direct competition will be provided, during peak summer some six airlines offer 20 alternative services to London’s Gatwick, Luton and Stansted airports, with the most dominant being easyJet which offers a daily rotation from Gatwick. Along with its new route from Heathrow to Kefalonia, BA also introduced two routes from Manchester (MAN) this week, namely Dublin (DUB) and Florence (FLR). Both routes will be flown weekly, with the carrier’s E190 fleet scheduled to serve both routes. While the 1,447-kilometre jaunt to Italy, launched on 18 May, is a brand-new unserved city pair, the link from the UK city to Dublin, inaugurated on 19 May, is already heavily contested by Irish airlines Aer Lingus and Ryanair. The two combined will offer 71 weekly departures on the short 264-kilometre Irish Sea hop this summer.

Condor celebrated its maiden flight from Frankfurt to Phoenix on 18 May. The Grand Canyon State will be served non-stop from Frankfurt on Mondays and Fridays during S18. One of the leisure airline’s 767-300s left Germany at 11:40 for Phoenix under flight number DE2026Undertaking the ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the German airport were: Condor Flight Attendant, Isabell Castano; Simone Schwab, SVP Sales & Customer Relations FraportAG; Henning Lindemann, Head of Flight Planning, Thomas Cook Group Airline; Consul General Herman, US Commercial Service, American Consulate General; and Condor Captain, Dirk Seitz.

Condor Crew members pose with Phoenix Councilwoman Kate Gallego; Phoenix Vice Mayor Thelda Williams; Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton; and Condor Captain Dirk Seitz to mark the arrival of the airline’s flight from Germany. An Arizona-themed cake was also baked to celebrate the new 9,046-kiloemetre sector.

  • Condor started eight new connections from six of its German operations in the past seven days, flying to four destinations in Greece, Tunisia, Turkey and the US. The most significant of these new services was the link from Frankfurt (FRA) to Phoenix (PHX). “We are delighted to add Phoenix, a very attractive and exciting destination, to our steadily growing network. In recent years in particular, we have expanded our services in North America and fly to a total of sixteen destinations in the US and Canada,” says Ralf Teckentrup, CEO of Condor. “Phoenix is a special destination for us, as the city was influenced by its five Cs (cotton, cattle, citrus, climate and copper) early on. We hope to establish a sixth C with Condor.” In addition to this transatlantic sector, the German leisure airline also started seven new European routes, which are summarised below.  
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
18-May Düsseldorf (DUS) Kalamata (KLX) A320 (1) Aegean Airlines (1)
Frankfurt (FRA) Phoenix (PHX) B763 (2)  
20-May Düsseldorf (DUS) Sitia (JSH) A321 (1)  
Frankfurt (FRA) A320 (1)  
Munich (MUC)  
Nuremberg (NUE) Antalya (AYT) B753 (1) SunExpress (15), Onur Air (7), Germania (4), Pegasus Airlines (3), Corendon Airlines (3)
21-May Hannover (HAJ) Djerba (DJE) A320 (1) Tunisair (1)
Stuttgart (STR) Kalamata (KLX)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 22 May. WF = Weekly frequencies.

Finnair Bergen

Pictured at the cake cutting ceremony, held to toast the launch of Finnair’s new service between Helsinki and Bergen, are: Christian Skaug, CCO of Widerøe; Robert Lönnblad, GM Scandinavia, Finnair; and Aslak Sverdrup, MD, Bergen Airport. The route will be flown six times weekly, with flights operated by Widerøe. Finnair and the Norwegian carrier recently extended their cooperation agreement, with Widerøe also operating Tromsø flights which launched this week.

Finnair Tromso

Mona Ringstrand, Commercial Manager, Avinor is seen pictured with Robert Lönnblad, GM Scandinavia, Finnair as they pose with the route launch cake which was made to celebrate Finnair’s new service between Helsinki and Tromsø. The route will be flown weekly (Saturdays) by Widerøe Q400s, with no direct competition being provided.

  • Finnair expanded its presence across Norway this week by launching new services from Helsinki (HEL) to Bergen (BGO) and Tromsø (TOS), routes that will be flown by Norwegian regional carrier Widerøe. “We are happy to extend our cooperation with Widerøe, and connect more Norwegian regions to our network,” commented Juha Jarvinen, CCO, Finnair. “The new codeshares serve both our Asian and Finnish customers travelling to Norway, and our Norwegian customers who will now have more and smoother connections to our network.” The 1,081-kilometre connection between the Finnish capital city and Bergen, which launched on 15 May, will be flown daily using Widerøe’s recently acquired E190-E2s based on data. The 1,077-kilometre jaunt to Tromsø, which launched 19 May, will be flown weekly (Saturdays) on the regional carrier’s Q400s until further E190-E2s join the fleet. Neither route will face direct competition, with these launches bringing to three the number of destinations that the Finnish flag carrier serves in Norway, as the oneworld member also flies to Oslo Gardermoen up to four times a day according to OAG schedules. See how Bergen Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Flowers (as well as Fire Truck Water Arch) were the order of the day in Dresden to mark the start of Germania’s latest route from the airport to Bastia. Currently the LCC offers 22 destinations from its second biggest German base (in terms of weekly seats).

Flowers were again central to the celebrations in Nuremberg for its Bastia route launch, which were led by the German airport’s MD Dr. Michael Hupe (right). Presently the LCC also offers 22 destinations from its biggest German base (in terms of weekly seats).

  • Germania has commenced its first services to the French island of Corsica during the last seven days. Weekly flights (Saturdays) from Dresden (DRS) and Nuremberg (NUE) were started to Bastia (BIA), the second busiest airport on the island after Ajaccio. The 1,007-kilometre sector from the former airport will be flown by the airline’s 737-700s, while the service from the latter facility will be operated by a mix of Germania’s A320 family. Both routes were launched on 19 May and neither faces any direct competition. See how Dresden Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

HK Express

Representatives from the Kumamoto Prefectural Government’s Hong Kong Office and HK Express were on hand in Hong Kong  to see off passengers on the inaugural HK Express scheduled service to Kumamoto on 20 May. The airline will operate the 2,034-kilometre airport pair twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) facing no direct competition.

  • HK Express launched scheduled services from Hong Kong (HKG) to Kumamoto (KMJ) on 20 May. It will offer twice-weekly flights (Thursdays and Sundays) on the 2,034-kilometre airport pair, which it previously operated as a charter flight. The airline will deploy its A320s on the sector and faces no direct competition. “Japan is among our most welcomed places, and Hong Kong-Kumamoto is surely one of the very popular routes in our network,” said Jonathan Hutt, Commercial Director of HK Express. “Apart from Hong Kong residents, we also expect to serve many Asia-based travellers who can take advantage of our convenient connections throughout the region.” OAG schedules show that HK Express will fly to 10 Japanese destinations from its home base during S18.

Hong Kong Airlines Moscow

Among those celebrating the launch of Hong Kong Airlines’ inaugural flight from Hong Kong to Moscow Vnukovo on 18 May were Tang King Shing, Vice Chairman, Hong Kong Airlines (third left) and Alexander Kozlov, Consul-General of Russia, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR (fourth left). The airline will operate the 7,145-kilometre route three times weekly with A330-300s until 23 October, with the routes scheduled not to face direct competition.

  • Hong Kong Airlines launched flights between Hong Kong (HKG) and Moscow Vnukovo (VKO) on 18 May. The carrier will serve the 7,145-kilometre airport pair three times weekly using its fleet of A330-300s facing no direct competition. Tang King Shing, Vice Chairman, Hong Kong Airlines said: “Hong Kong Airlines is proud to be the only Hong Kong-based carrier operating a direct service to Moscow. Hong Kong and Russia have enjoyed a strong bilateral partnership as seen in the visa-free arrangements for travel between the two destinations. Our new service will provide more choice and greater convenience as more travellers look to Russia for a holiday getaway.” Alexander Kozlov, Consul General of Russia, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR added: “Russia’s ties with Hong Kong have strengthened substantially over recent years, with tourism being a significant economic driver. I’m therefore very pleased to be a part in this ceremony, which celebrates the launch of Hong Kong Airlines’ new passenger service connecting Hong Kong with Moscow.” The seasonal Moscow Vnukovo link will run until 23 October and is Hong Kong Airlines’ only connection to Europe in S18. The airline last served Russia in 2012 with flights between its home base and Moscow Sheremetyevo, while that year also saw it end its services between Hong Kong and London Gatwick.

Wizz Air Cleveland

Icelandair commenced operations to Cleveland on 16 May, with the US airport producing a splendid Northern Lights-themed cake to greet the airline’s arrival. A ribbon-cutting ceremony also took place to officially open the route, with Icelandair’s Director of Network Planning and Scheduling, Egill Almar Agustsson, and Cleveland Airport’s Director, Robert Kennedy, joining the inaugural flight Captain to snip the ribbon. Services will be flown on the airline’s 737 MAX 8s.

  • Icelandair joined the carrier line-up at Cleveland (CLE) this week, with the airline inaugurating flights to the US airport from Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF). Launched on 16 May, Cleveland becomes the first-ever route launch that Icelandair has conducted using its 737 MAX 8s, with the European flag carrier planning to use the aircraft type on its five weekly rotations to the Ohio city. The airline follows fellow Icelandic carrier WOW air in serving Cleveland, with the latter having launched the 4,479-kilometre sector on 3 May. Icelandair’s next US route launch takes place on 25 May, the day which sees the carrier begin service to Kansas City. Following on from this, the airline will also add Baltimore/Washington, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Francisco to its S18 schedule in the coming weeks. During the period between January and November last year, Icelandair flew 1.21 million passengers to/from the US, representing an 18% increase versus the 1.03 million it transported during the same period of 2016 on US services. With Reykjavik/Keflavik handling 8.15 million passengers during the first 11 months of 2017, it means that 15% of the airport’s passengers during that period flew on Icelandair services to the US. It should be noted that 9.7% of the Icelandic hub’s passengers during this time flew with WOW air to/from the US, with the transatlantic battle of the carriers continuing to intensify. See how Cleveland Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

On 15 May, Guangzhou welcomed the inaugural Lanmei Airlines arrival from Phnom Penh. The carrier will operate the 1,590-kilometre airport pair daily with A319s and faces incumbent competition from China Southern Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Cambodia Angkor Air and Spring Airlines.

On the same day the Cambodian carrier’s first flight from Siem Reap to Changsha was welcomed by the Chinese airport. The 1,909-kilometre sector becomes Lanmei Airlines’ second Chinese connection from Siem Reap. It will operate the route three times weekly with A321s.

  • Lanmei Airlines began two new connections between Cambodia and China on 15 May, launching flights between Phnom Penh (PNH) and Guangzhou (CAN) and from Siem Reap (REP) to Changsha (CSX). The 1,590-kilometre Phnom Penh-Guangzhou sector will be flown daily by A319s. According to OAG schedules for the week commencing 22 May, there is incumbent competition on this route in the form of China Southern Airlines (21 weekly flights), Shenzhen Airlines (seven), Cambodia Angkor Air (seven) and Spring Airlines (three). The 1,909-kilometre Siem Reap-Changsha route will be operated three times weekly. There is currently no competition on this airport pair, although Cambodia Angkor Air is scheduled to provide several flights per week from the start of July. The Guangzhou link becomes Lanmei Airlines’ first Chinese connection from Phnom Penh. Changsha is the second destination the airline has introduced from Siem Reap, with it already serving Shijiazhuang. 

LOT Polish Airlines Singapore

LOT Polish Airlines commenced operations between Warsaw Chopin and Singapore on 15 May. Charged with the honour of cutting the ribbon to officially open the route were: Lee Seow Hiang, CEO, Singapore Airport; Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore’s Co-ordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport; Piotr Gliński, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage; and Michal Fijol, CCO of LOT Polish Airlines.

LOT Polish Airlines Kaunas

LOT Polish Airlines commenced operations from Warsaw Chopin to Kaunas on 21 May, with the inaugural flight back to the Polish capital being the following day, a result of the aircraft night-stopping at the Lithuanian airport. Seen cutting the ribbon in Kaunas, officially opening the route, are: Vice Mayor of Kaunas, Simonas Kairys; CEO of Lithuanian Airports, Marius Gelzinis; and LOT Polish Airlines’ GSA for Lithuania, Raimondas Kesilis.

  • LOT Polish Airlines added its latest Asian spoke to its network on 15 May – Singapore (SIN) – with the Star Alliance member now linking its Warsaw Chopin (WAW) hub to the destination three times weekly. The carrier will operate the 9,408-kilometre route using its 787-8s, with no other airline presently linking the two cities. “We are delighted to welcome LOT Polish’s new service which now connects us to Poland. This marks Singapore’s first non-stop link to Central and Eastern Europe, and will provide passengers with greater convenience and travel options. It also presents growth opportunities for leisure and business travel in both regions,” commented Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Singapore Airport on the carrier’s launch. According to the Asian airport, in 2017 traffic between Singapore and the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region totalled over 258,000 passenger movements. Along with its flights to Singapore, another route launched by the airline from Chopin this week was Kaunas (KUN) in Lithuania, with LOT becoming the first hub carrier to serve the airport. Flights on the short 372-kilometre hop will operate six times weekly (no Saturday services) and be flown by the carrier’s fleet of Q400s. Services from the Polish capital city to the Lithuanian city will depart at 22:35, landing into Kaunas at 00:45, resulting in a night-stop at Kaunas. Return flights to Warsaw then depart the following morning at 06:15, allowing for seamless connections onto morning services from LOT’s hub to destinations throughout Europe, Asia and North America. See how Kaunas Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world

Luxair Bol Brac

Luxair commenced a weekly (Saturday) service between Luxembourg and Bol on the Croatian island of Brac on 19 May, a service which will run until 13 October. These facts were creatively highlighted on the latter airport’s route launch cake. The carrier will operate the 1,064-kilometre sector using its fleet of Q400s.

  • Luxair commenced flights on its latest route on 19 May, with the carrier linking its home market of Luxembourg (LUX) with Bol (BWK) on the Croatian island of Brac. The airline will serve the 1,064-kilometre sector weekly (Saturdays) using its fleet of Q400s until 13 October, with the route not expecting to face any direct competition this summer season. While it’s results for 2017 have not yet been released, Luxair is a carrier which has steadily expanded in recent years, having also recently added Enfidha and Reykjavik/Keflavik to its network. The airline handled 1.84 million passengers in 2016 based on its annual report for that year, with this being a 56% increase versus the 1.18 million passengers that flew with the carrier in 2009. 

Philippines AirAsia Cebu

Philippines AirAsia launched twice-weekly flights (Mondays and Fridays) between Cebu and Hangzhou on 18 May. The 2,243-kilometre sector will be operated by A320s and faces no direct competition. The LCC previously operated this route for a short period between January and March 2017 according to OAG schedules.

  • Philippines AirAsia launched services between Cebu (CEB) and Hangzhou (HGH) on 18 May. The LCC will operate the 2,243-kilometre airport pair twice-weekly, with flights departing Cebu late in the evening on Mondays and Fridays before returning from Hangzhou in the early hours on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Flights will be operated by the carrier’s A320 fleet and there is no direct competition. OAG schedules show that the airline previously operated this route three times weekly for a short season between 24 January and 18 March 2017. The Cebu link is the carrier’s only current connection to Hangzhou.

If evidence was needed of the mish-mash of aircraft being used by Primera Air on its fledgling transatlantic network, then this image from FlightRadar24 is the smoking gun. While its factory-fresh first A321neo is flying some of its operations from London Stansted, including the Boston route launched this week, it is using a National Airlines 757-200 from Birmingham and a euroAtlantic Airways 767-300 from Paris CDG on its services to New York Newark.

  • Primera Air, which is venturing into the combative transatlantic market this summer, has added three new routes from three different bases, all launching on 18 May. Utilising a leased 757-200 from US charter carrier National Airlines, the airline started a six times weekly operation from Birmingham (BHX) to New York Newark (EWR). Using the carrier’s single A321neo presently available for commercial flying, Primera commenced the four times weekly route from London Stansted (STN) to Boston (BOS). Neither of these routes faces any direct competition. The final sector of the transatlantic trio launched was from Paris CDG (CDG) to Newark. With incumbents United Airlines (12 times weekly) and Delta Air Lines (five) already operating this airport pair, Primera’s passengers will (at least in the short-term) be stepping on board a leased euroAtlantic Airways 767-300 to take them to New York on a daily basis. 

RwandAir Cape Town

Pictured at the launch of RwandAir’s first flight to Cape Town are: Olivia Ntambara, Customer Relations Manager, RwandAir; Gavin Simpson, CEO, Holiday Aviation; Thembela Dladla, Country Manager South Africa, RwandAir; Vincent Karega, Rwandan Ambassador to South Africa; and Sonia Kamikazi, Director of Quality Assurance, RwandAir.

  • RwandAir introduced Cape Town (CPT) to its network on 16 May, commencing a four times weekly service to the South African city from Kigali (KIG), with the city pair operating via the carrier’s existing Harare service which is flown with its CRJ 900 fleet. According to various media reports, the route was made possible as a result of the Zimbabwean Government granting fifth freedom rights to the Rwandan flag carrier. With the freedom to offer this service to passengers, it now means that the airline serves two destinations in South Africa, with it already flying to Johannesburg. As a result of the airline being granted fifth freedom rights between Zimbabwe and South Africa, it will be able to capture some of the demand between Harare and Cape Town. Although no other airline presently flies between the South African and Zimbabwe cities, some 34,600 passengers travelled indirectly between the two destinations last year according to OAG Traffic Analyser data. In 2017 the leading connecting hub was Johannesburg, with South Africa’s leading airport capturing over 99% of the connecting market between Cape Town and Harare. As a result of this launch, the carrier now serves 26 destinations across Africa, the Middle East, India and Europe, with its only non-African destinations at present being Brussels, Dubai, London Gatwick and Mumbai.

Ryanair Lappeenranta

Ryanair returned to Lappeenranta earlier this year with flights from Milan Bergamo, with the Finnish airport greeting the carrier’s second route this week – Athens. Pictured at the inaugural flight from the Greek capital are: Eija Joro, President, Lappeenranta Airport; Chris Lundshøj, Sales and Marketing Executive for Nordics and Baltics, Ryanair; and Mirka Rahman, Marketing and Tourism Manager, Lappeenranta City. The route from Athens will operate weekly.

Ryanair Shannon Liverpool

Along with its expansion from Athens, Ryanair also introduced two routes to Shannon this week, with one being Bristol and the other Liverpool. Seen pictured with the crew at the latter UK airport’s route launch to the Irish airport are Robin Kiely, Head of Communications, Ryanair and Robin Tudor, Head of PR, Liverpool Airport.

  • Ryanair, which last week added services from Athens (ATH) to six new destinations, has introduced a further three from the Greek capital this week, namely Billund (BLL), Lappeenranta (LPP) and Rzeszow (RZE). All three will be flown by the Irish carrier weekly on its 737-800s, with only Billund services facing direct competition, a result of Primera Air offering a weekly seasonal service between the Danish and Greek cities. Along with the new routes from Athens, Ryanair has also introduced two new routes to Shannon (SNN) this week, namely Bristol (BRS) and Liverpool (LPL). Neither UK service faces direct competition. See how Rzezsow Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
15-May Athens (ATH) Billund (BLL) B738 (1) Primera Air (1)
16-May Lappeenranta (LPP)  
Rzeszow (RZE)  
17-May Bristol (BRS) Shannon (SNN) B738 (2)  
19-May Liverpool (LPL) B738 (3)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 22 May. WF = Weekly frequencies.

Volaris Costa Rica Washington Dulles

Volaris Costa Rica commenced flights between San Jose and Washington Dulles on 16 May, a route that operates via San Salvador. Among those cutting the ribbon at the US capital city airport included delegates from the embassies of El Salvador and Costa Rica, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia.

  • Volaris Costa Rica introduced Washington Dulles (IAD) to its network on 16 May, with it beginning a twice-weekly service (Mondays and Wednesdays) service to the US capital from San Jose (SJO) in Costa Rica, a route that operates via San Salvador (SAL). “We are proud to celebrate the launch of a new direct international flight to Virginia and our nation’s capital region – these direct flights will take tourism, trade and economic development between the Commonwealth and Central America to new heights,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam of the launch. “We look forward to the opportunity for countries on both sides to increase connections and strengthen our important relationships.” Services on the 3,277-kilometre city pair will be flown using the carrier’s A319 fleet, with no other carrier presently offering direct services between the two cities. However, it should be noted that Avianca offers a daily link between San Salvador and Dulles according to OAG schedules. Along with Dulles, Volaris Costa Rica also serves Los Angeles and New York JFK in the US. See how Washington Dulles Airport’s FTWA compares to other from around the world

Due to the exceptional growth encountered in Georgia last year, with it being Europe’s fastest-growing country market in 2017, it is no surprise to see that Wizz Air has committed a second aircraft to its base at Kutaisi. This is a business development that was beautifully displayed in sweet treat form, with United Airports of Georgia commissioning this cake for the launch. Cutting the showstopper on the apron are: Johan Eidhagen, Chief Marketing Officer, Wizz Air; Kate Aleksidze, CEO, United Airports of Georgia; and Dimitri Kumsishvili, Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia.

  • Wizz Air showed its commitment to Kutaisi (KUT) in Georgia by choosing to base a second A320 at the airport this week, allowing it to open up five routes. With the country seeing passenger traffic grow by over 43% last year, making it the fastest-growing European country market for 2017, it is not surprising to see such commitment from the ULCC as it continues to stimulate traffic from Kutaisi. The carrier will now connect the airport to Athens (ATH), Barcelona (BCN), Paris Beauvais (BVA), Prague (PRG) and Rome Fiumicino (FCO), while further routes to Bucharest and Vienna will begin in the coming months. “We are delighted to announce today our new Wizz Air routes from Kutaisi to seven European cities, as we continue to create ever more travel opportunities for our passengers,” commented Johan Eidhagen, Chief Marketing Officer of Wizz Air at the launch. With this expansion and commitment of a second aircraft, we are now offering 21 routes to 14 countries from Kutaisi,” Eidhagen added. None of the five routes launched from Kutaisi this week will face direct competition, with the average weekly frequency of the services being 2.4 and the mean sector length 2,592-kilometres. Along with its Georgian expansion, Wizz Air also launched flights between London Luton (LTN) and Larnaca (LCA) this week. It will operate the 3,285-kilometre airport pair daily using its fleet of A321s, with Blue Air and TUI Airways providing direct competition. Take a closer look at’s in-depth coverage of Wizz Air’s expansion from Luton in recent years. See how Kutaisi Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
17-May Kutaisi (KUT) Athens (ATH) A320 (2)  
Paris Beauvais (BVA) A320 (3)  
Rome Fiumicino (FCO) A320 (2)  
18-May Barcelona (BCN) A320 (3)  
19-May Prague (PRG) A320 (2)  
20-May London Luton (LTN) Larnaca (LCA) A321 (7) Blue Air (4), TUI Airlines (1)
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 22 May. WF = Weekly frequencies.

WOW air St. Louis

St. Louis Airport produced a splendid cake to greet the arrival of WOW air’s inaugural service from Reykjavik/Keflavik. Among those present at the airline’s launch were: Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Director, St. Louis Airport; Sheila Sweeney, CEO, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership; Steve Stenger, St. Louis County Executive; Lyda Krewson, St. Louis City Mayor; and Kitty Ratcliffe, President, Explore St. Louis. The European LCC will serve the route four times weekly.

  • WOW air, which in recent weeks has added Cleveland, Cincinnati and Detroit to its US network, has produced another service to North America, this time premiering operations between its Reykjavik/Keflavik (KEF) base and St. Louis (STL). Launched 17 May, the LCC has restored transatlantic operations to the latter airport, with St. Louis having last had non-stop European service back in 2003 when American Airlines stopped flights to London Heathrow. “There has been great build-up and excitement since WOW air’s announcement last fall to launch the return of international, transatlantic flights to and from St. Louis,” commented Lyda Krewson, St. Louis City Mayor. “We already know that ticket sales are strong and our region is behind this new route. We’re also excited for new leisure and business connections that will be made from international travellers visiting St. Louis thanks to these new WOW air flights.” Initially the carrier will offer four weekly flights between Iceland and St. Louis, however between 3 June and 23 September a fifth weekly rotation will be offered, with all services scheduled to be flown by the carrier’s fleet of A321s. St. Louis becomes WOW air’s 14th destination in North America, with a 15th – Dallas/Fort Worth – launching 24 May. See how St. Louis Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world


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