Unserved Route of the Week success rate continues to climb; over one in four routes featured are now served
For those of you still bizarrely unaware of this ground-breaking feature, Unserved Route of the Week (UROTW) draws on the aspirational data captured from Skyscanner’s leading flight comparison site which has more than 70 million unique visitors every month. Based on Skyscanner’s cutting edge Travel Insight big data solution, the feature identifies market route demand for routes currently unserved by the industry, but for which there lies a substantial commercial opportunity.
Last year we twice looked at which of the unserved route opportunities we had featured had been gladly swept up by the world’s airlines to become part of their respective networks. In April our success rate was a credible 16%, by August last year the number of potential routes which we have covered and subsequently adopted by carriers has risen to 15, from the 67 potential city pairs featured so far – a 22% success rate. Taking the opportunity to review this feature again as we close in on 100 UROTWs reveals that our success rate has improved again, with 27% of all routes covered either served or to be served. We firmly believe that out of any data sources which are available to airport business development managers in the market, none of them have a hit rate as impressive as that!
Going to prove that these new route opportunities have been widely received, 26 different airlines are now flying or are planning to operate these fledgling city pairs. SAS leads the way, having put its name next to four of the UROTWs. In addition, LOT Polish Airlines and Ryanair have commenced operations on two city pairs each. N.B. The recently launched routes below are listed in terms of when they were revealed by our data elves in this feature as having market potential, and not their actual start date.
Launched – Copenhagen to Hong Kong by Cathay Pacific Airways on 2 May 2018
Launched – Beijing to Brisbane by Air China on 11 December 2017
Launched – Tenerife North to Lisbon by BinterCanarias on 29 October 2017
Launched – Bergen to Hamburg by SAS on 25 June
Launched – Warsaw Chopin to Nuremberg by LOT Polish Airlines on 7 May
More routes to be launched soon
In addition to the Unserved Route of the Week sectors which have now commenced operations like those above, there are some routes which have been announced and are waiting for launch later this year.
To be launched – Helsinki to Lyon by Finnair on 11 December 2018
To be launched – Los Angeles to Buenos Aires on 19 December 2018
To be launched – Manchester to Mumbai by Jet Airways on 5 November 2018
To be launched – Zurich to Colombo by Edelweiss Air on 3 November 2018
To be launched – Edinburgh to Dubai by Emirates on 1 October 2018
To be launched – Tampere to Malaga by SAS on 13 October 2018
Another point to make is the fact that Aeromexico announced its intention to start flying between Mexico City and Barcelona – an UROTW we featured in December 2017 – in May this year, only for the planned three times weekly service to be cancelled before it was due to launch in November this year. And you can bet your bottom dollar…we are still claiming that one!! There were also two potential sectors, Gold Coast to Seoul and Bologna to Tel Aviv, which have had some flying action. The former route received two Jin Air flights in April this year, while the Italy-Israel pairing witnessed two flights by Neos in March 2018. Analysis of OAG schedules also indicates that Iraqi Airways offers services between Malmö and London Gatwick, another UROTW, however according to the airline’s website passengers cannot book this sector.
Some former Unserved Routes of the Week now served by two carriers!
On the Copenhagen-Hong Kong route, on which Cathay Pacific Airways started a three times weekly operation on 2 May, will be joined by SAS on 28 October this year with a five times weekly A340-300 service. Similarly while Korean Air started its Barcelona-Seoul Incheon three times weekly operation in April 2017, Asiana Airlines will begin the same city pair on 30 August, on a four times weekly basis. These are in addition to the Tenerife North to Lisbon and Bergen to Hamburg sectors which were identified above as now having more than one serving carrier, having previously both been an UROTW.
Still some unserved whoppers out there…
While many of our Unserved Route of the Week services may have been snapped up already, there is still ample opportunity to capitalise on some of the routes Skyscanner data has exposed that currently remain unserved. Here are a few of the biggest ones still crying out to be served:
London – Kochi: with over 1.4 million searches from the UK capital to this Indian city in the past 12 months, this route is a great opportunity for whichever airline grabs it;
Barcelona – Bangkok: Spain’s city of culture to the Thai capital is a tempting offer with over 1.1 million searches annually – according to Skyscanner data;
Amsterdam – Ho Chi Minh City: when we did this UROTW a year ago, it identified that over 530,000 travellers wanted this link. Despite all this undeniable demand the potential city pair is still free to serve;
Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen – Manchester: While Turkish Airlines might be offering close to 2,900 weekly one-way seats on its double-daily operation into Manchester from Istanbul Atatürk, we still think there is some substantial unserved demand on the other side of the Bosporus (440,000 searches);
Delhi – Auckland: Unsurprisingly we tipped that either or Air New Zealand or Air India should contemplate operating this route, which was searched for by 420,000 travellers in 12 months. Still no dice however!!
You can check out the latest opportunities by visiting our weekly feature. Want to find out more about the cutting edge product behind the stories, Travel Insight?