New airline routes launched (14 August 2018 – 20 August 2018)

AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur to Amritsar 

AirAsia X

Celebrating AirAsia X’s introduction of flights between Kuala Lumpur and Amritsar on 16 August, flanked by some of the airline’s crew members, were: Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Chairman, AirAsia X; Shri Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister; Benyamin Ismail, CEO, AirAsia X; and Barry Klipp, AirAsia X Group Head of Commercial. The LCC will offer four weekly flights on the 4,276-kilometre connection using A330-300s.

  • AirAsia X introduced its third destination in India when it began flights from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Amritsar (ATQ) on 16 August. The long-haul LCC will operate the 4,276-kilometre airport pair four times weekly using its A330-300s. It faces direct competition from Malindo Air, which already offers daily flights on this route. AirAsia X already serves Delhi and Jaipur from its Kuala Lumpur base. Benyamin Ismail, CEO, AirAsia X said: “We are excited to bring the AirAsia experience to Amritsar for the very first time. Amritsar is of significant interest to tourists thanks to the Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) and the city’s numerous historic and cultural sites. Following a recent network review, Amristar and other cities in India were identified as being underserved from the Asia Pacific region, particularly when it comes providing affordable long-haul travel. We are confident the new services will prove popular for both tourist and domestic visitors alike.”

Cebu Pacific Air Manila to Melbourne 

Cebu Pacific Air Melbourne

Melbourne welcomed its latest carrier on 14 August, with Cebu Pacific Air introducing a three times weekly service from Manila. Cutting the celebratory route launch cake are: Rick Howell, Chief Operations Adviser, Cebu Pacific Air; Minda Calaguian-Cruz, Philippine Ambassador to Australia; Norjamin Delos Reyes, Tourism Attaché at the Philippine Department of Tourism-Australia and New Zealand; and Simon Gandy, Chief of Aviation, Melbourne Airport.

  • Cebu Pacific Air launched its first flights to Melbourne (MEL) on 14 August, with the introduction of a new three times weekly connection from Manila (MNL). It will operate the 6,309-kilometre sector with its A330-300s and faces direct competition from Philippine Airlines which already offers five weekly flights on the airport pair. “The Melbourne – Manila route is an important one as it supports not only tourism but also connections between family and friends living in both cities,” commented Simon Gandy, Chief of Aviation, Melbourne Airport. “Cebu Pacific Air understands the potential in the Melbourne market, which is why it is using its largest aircraft type to service the route, creating an increase of approximately 50% in additional cargo capacity between Melbourne and Manila. The route also opens up opportunities for importers and exporters to transport cargo through the airline’s substantial network into North Asia, including 58 services per week to Greater China via Manila.” Rick Howell, Chief Operations Adviser at Cebu Pacific, added: “Our three times weekly direct service between Melbourne and Manila is a wonderful opportunity to live up to the Cebu Pacific mission of bringing people together through safe, affordable, reliable and fun-filled air travel. Melbourne is our second destination in Australia, and we look forward to growing here as we’ve done and continue to do since we first started direct flights to Australia in 2014.” See how Melbourne Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world. 

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


A gate celebration was held at San Salvador Airport on 17 August to celebrate Avianca’s inaugural service to Boston, a route that the Star Alliance member will operate four times weekly. No other airline offers direct flights on the 3,652-kilometre sector, a city pair which Avianca is planning to serve using its fleet of A319s and A320s.

  • Avianca launched flights from San Salvador (SAL) to Boston (BOS) on 17 August. The Star Alliance member will operate the 3,652-kilometre sector four times weekly using its fleet of A319s and A320s, with no other carrier presently offering direct flights between the Central American capital and US city. Based on OAG Traffic Analyser data, an estimated 34,490 two-way passengers travelled indirectly between San Salvador and Boston in 2017, making it the top unserved destination in the US from the El Salvador capital. As a result of this route opening, Boston becomes the 11th city in the US to be served by Avianca from San Salvador, with it already operating flights to Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Miami, New York’s JFK and Newark, Orlando, San Francisco and Washington Dulles based on OAG schedules for S18. As Boston is now added to the list of served destinations in the US, the next leading unserved market in the country from San Salvador is Las Vegas, with an indirect market size of 16,700 passengers in 2017. See how the FTWAs from San Salvador and Boston compare to others from around the world.  

Frontier Airlines celebrated its inaugural flight between Austin and Orange County on 14 August, with a ribbon- and cake-cutting ceremonies being held at the Texan airport. Seen snipping the ribbon to officially open the 1,941-kilometre sector, along with the crew, are: Grace Pettis, a local Austin musician; Richard Oliver, Spokesperson and Communications Supervisor, Frontier Airlines; and Mike Rodriguez, Chairman, Airport Advisory Commission.

Frontier Airlines Raleigh Durham

Frontier Airlines launched flights between Raleigh Durham and San Diego on 15 August, with the former airport baking this cake to celebrate the first flight. The route will operate twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays).

  • Frontier Airlines launched 10 routes during the course of the past week, adding to the 25 routes that it commenced during the previous week. “We are happy to continue to grow service in Austin and introduce a new and more affordable way to travel to and from city,” said Richard Oliver, Spokesperson and Communications Supervisor, Frontier Airlines, commenting on the carrier’s new service from Austin (AUS) to Orange County (SNA), the only sector launched in this batch of 10 routes that will see a three times weekly rotation, with all others operating twice-weekly. Three of the city pairs will face direct competition, while the average sector length is 1,985 kilometres. See how  Jacksonville Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world. 
Launched From To Aircraft (WF) Competition
14-Aug Austin (AUS) Orange County (SNA) A320 (3)  
15-Aug Jacksonville (JAX) Kansas City (MCI) A320 (2)  
Milwaukee (MKE)  
Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) Delta Air Lines (6)
Las Vegas (LAS) Calgary (YYC) WestJet (23), Air Canada (7)
San Antonio (SAT) Albuquerque (ABQ) A319 (2)  
Columbus (CMH)  
Salt Lake City (SLC) A320 (2) Delta Air Lines (18)
San Diego (SAN) Cleveland (CLE) A321 (2)  
Raleigh-Durham (RDU)  
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser w/c 21 August. WF = Weekly frequencies.

LATAM Airlines Cuzco

Pictured speaking at the launch of LATAM Airlines’ inaugural service from Cuzco to Santiago on 15 August is Liz Chirinos, Deputy Minister of Tourism, with Manuel van Oordt, GM, LATAM Airlines Peru, waits to take his turn at the podium. The carrier will offer three weekly flights between the Peruvian and Chiliean cities using A319s.

  • LATAM Airlines launched flights from Peru’s seventh biggest city in terms of population, Cuzco (CUZ) to the capital of Chile, Santiago (SCL), on 15 August. The oneworld member will perform three weekly flights on the 2,208-kilometre South American city pair using its fleet of 144-seat A319s. No other airline presently operates between the two cities. This is the carrier’s only international route from Cuzco, with it offering non-stop flights on seven domestic links from the city this August. An analysis of OAG traffic data shows that over 61,100 people travelled indirectly between Cuzco and Santiago in 2017, resulting in an average PDEW of 84 people. The top connection airport last year was Lima, with it accounting for 98% of traffic flying between Cuzco and Santiago. Cuzco Airport handled just under 3.38 million passengers in 2017, up 5.3% versus 2016. International traffic from the airport accounted for only 2.6% of passengers last year, however this rose from a market share of 1.5% the year before. Peru is a nation where the capital airport of Lima holds the majority stake of international traffic, with 99% of all non-domestic passengers flying into the city. However, Cuzco saw its market share of Peru’s international passengers grow from 0.5% in 2016 to 0.8% last year, with LATAM’s new Santiago route hopefully helping it push the 1.0% barrier in 2018. 

Malindo Air

Malindo Air launched flights between Kuala Lumpur Subang Airport and Silangit in Indonesia on 17 August. The carrier will operate the short 299-kilometre hop between the two Asian airports four times weekly using its fleet of ATR 72-600s. No other airline presently operates flights between the two cities, however it should be noted that from 28 October AirAsia will launch a four times weekly service to Silangit from Kuala Lumpur’s main airport.

  • Malindo Air launched two new international services this week, starting on 17 August with a short 299-kilometre sector between Kuala Lumpur Subang (SZB) and Silangit (DTB) in Indonesia. The airline will offer a four times weekly service on the airport pair using its fleet of ATR 72-600s. While no direct competition is provided on the airport pair at the moment, competition to Kuala Lumpur will be added from 28 October, the day on which AirAsia will begin its own four times weekly A320-operated service from Kuala Lumpur’s main airport. Along with this service, Malindo Air also commenced a twice-weekly (Tuesdays and Saturdays) service from Penang (PEN) to Nanning (NNG) in China. Launched on 18 August, the carrier will operate the 2,102-kilometre sector using its fleet of 737-800s, with OAG schedules confirming that Malindo Air will face no direct competition on the route. While both destinations in Indonesia and China are new airports for Malindo Air’s network, it should be noted that the Lion Air Group, of which Malindo Air is a subsidiary of, already serves Nanning courtesy of Batik Air Malaysia from Kota Kinabalu, a route which begin on 8 August when referencing data and OAG schedules. See how Silangit Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world. 

SalamAir Khartoum

SalamAir recently announced four new destinations from its base in Muscat, with it planning to add flights to Dhaka in Bangladesh, Kathmandu in Nepal, Khartoum in Sudan and Najaf in Iraq. Services to Khartoum commenced on 17 August, with the Oman-based LCC planning to offer a three times weekly service on the link to Africa. Flights to Dhaka will begin on 28 August, Najaf on 9 September and Kathmandu 11 September respectively.

  • SalamAir recently unveiled its next batch of destinations from Muscat (MCT), with the Omani LCC wasting no time in launching the first of the four announced routes. On 17 August the carrier commenced its first service to Africa, beginning a three times weekly service to Khartoum (KRT) in Sudan. The airline will serve the 2,829-kilometre sector using its fleet of A320s, with data showing that the airline operated the inaugural flight on a VietJetAir A320 which it has been operating for SalamAir since 4 August. No other airline presently flies between Muscat and Khartoum. With regards to the three other routes recently announced by SalamAir, services from Muscat to Dhaka in Bangladesh will begin on 28 August, while services to Najaf in Iraq and Kathmandu in Nepal will begin on 9 and 11 of September respectively.  

Sun Country Airlines Santa Barbara

Sun Country Airlines commenced a twice-weekly route between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Santa Barbara on 16 August, with the Californian airport’s Director, Hazel Johns (right), greeting passengers as they stepped off the inaugural service. The carrier will operate the 2,540-kilometre US domestic sector through until 9 December.

  • Sun Country Airlines launched its latest route from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) on 16 August, a seasonal twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) service to Santa Barbara (SBA) in California. The airline will operate the 2,540-kilometre US domestic airport pair using its fleet of 737-800s on a seasonal basis, with the last flight currently scheduled to depart on 9 December. No other carrier presently operates a regular scheduled service between the two cities. With this launch, Sun Country offers six routes to California from Minneapolis-St. Paul on either a seasonal or year-round basis, with it already operating flights to Los Angeles, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Rosa. Based on OAG Traffic Analyser data, over 11,000 passengers travelled indirectly between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Santa Barbara in 2017, with American Airlines being the largest carrier in the indirect market, responsible for flying over 51% of this demand on its services last year. A further breakdown of the travelling patterns between the two US airports highlights that 44% of the 11,000 travellers flew between August and December 2017, the period in which Sun Country is operating the route this year.

Thai AirAsia, Kota Kinabalu

There was a welcoming ceremony at Kota Kinabalu on 16 August to mark the arrival of Thai AirAsia’s first flight from Bangkok Don Mueang. Joining the celebrations were: Tuan Mohamaddin Bin Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia (Third from left); Christina Liew, Deputy Chief Minister, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment of Sabah; and Riad Asmat CEO, AirAsia.

  • Thai AirAsia introduced its first flights to East Malaysia on 16 August when it commenced services from Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) to Kota Kinabalu (BKI). The 1,907-kilometre connection will be operated three times per week with A320s and faces no direct competition. Riad Asmat, CEO, AirAsia said, “We are pleased to welcome our inaugural flight from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu today. We launched our first flight to Kota Kinabalu back in 2002, and have flown more than 39 million guests from and to the city since. We now connect Kota Kinabalu to 18 destinations across the region with 332 weekly flights. We hope that our new direct service between Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu will bring more positive impact, not just to the state’s tourism and economic sector, but to the communities in Sabah as well. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank both Federal and State Tourism Ministry for supporting the low-cost business model and for engaging stakeholders, including AirAsia, to improve the connectivity in and out of Sabah.”  Tuan Mohamaddin Bin Ketapi, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia added, “Collaboration for air accessibility into Malaysia is very much welcomed and I am pleased that Thai AirAsia has expanded its route to Sabah. Thailand is an important market for Malaysia with potential for growth especially with the interest in travel among Thais and the range of tourism products in Malaysia that cater to their needs. Sabah definitely has a lot of attractive tourism offerings that appeal to Thai tourists.” See how Kota Kinabalu Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.  

Cutting the ribbon at the launch of Widerøe’s new route between Kristiansand and London Stansted on 13 August were: Catharina Solli, Public Relations Manager at Widerøe, and Jørgen Kristiansen, Mayor of Kristiansand. The Norwegian airport also baked a cake to celebrate the new service to the UK capital, a route that will operate four times weekly.

The crew which operated Widerøe’s inaugural flight from Bergen to London Stansted were met with a cake when they arrived at the UK capital airport on 13 August. The carrier will operate the route using its Q400s.

On 14 August Widerøe launched a three times weekly service between Bergen and Hamburg, with the latter becoming the airline’s second route from the Norwegian city to Germany, with flights to Munich having launched last week. Pictured with the inaugural crew and route launch cake at Hamburg Airport were Lina Lindegaard Carlsen, Public Relations Manager, Widerøe, and Gesa Zaremba, Senior Manager Traffic Development, Hamburg Airport.

  • Widerøe, having added two new routes from Bergen (BGO) to Liverpool and Munich last week, has introduced a service to Hamburg (HAM) from the Norwegian city this week, while also beginning a new connection from Kristiansand (KRS) to London Stansted (STN). The latter was the first of the two services to be inaugurated, with flights on the 859-kilometre connection to the UK capital having begun on 13 August. The carrier will offer four weekly flights between Kristiansand and Stansted using its fleet of Q400s, with no other airline presently connecting the two airports. “We’re delighted to welcome Widerøe to the airport, adding yet another destination to our rapidly growing network providing passengers with even more options when travelling from London Stansted. This makes a beautiful region of Norway more accessible to British travellers as well as providing those arriving from Norway convenient and easy access to London and the East of England,” commented Mark Souter, Aviation Manager, London Stansted Airport. The 793-kilometre hop between Bergen and Hamburg commenced the following day, with Widerøe planning a three times weekly service between the Norwegian and German cities using its fleet of E190-E2s. Competition on this city pair will come from SAS, with the Star Alliance member already offering a three times weekly service between the two cities using mixed fleet of 737s and CRJ 900s. See how Hamburg Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world. 


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