New airline routes launched (25 September 2018 – 1 October 2018)


Emirates Dubai to Edinburgh

Emirates Edinburgh

Emirates launched services between Dubai and Edinburgh on 1 October. Pictured at check-in for the first flight were: Major Abdulhamid Ahli, Head of the Operations Department, General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, Dubai; Mohamed Amin Attia El-Awady, GM, Alarabiyah Travel & Tourism; Gavin Steel, Partner, PwC; Professor Ammar Kaka, Provost, Heriot Watt University Dubai; Campbell Maclean Steedman, Head of Middle East – Corporate Finance, Winston & Strawn LLP; Hubert Frach, Emirates’ Divisional SVP – Commercial Operations West; Brigadier Ali Bin Lahej, Director General – General Department of Airport Security, Dubai Police; Nicholas Maclean, MD, Scotland Trade Envoy to the United Arab Emirates; and Bill McPherson, Emirates’ VP – Emirates Airport Services Outstations.

Emirates Edinburgh

Emirates launched flights between Dubai and Edinburgh on 1 October, with this cake being made to toast the occasion. The airline will initially offer a daily service between the two airports using its fleet of 777-300s, with the frequency scheduled to reduce to five times weekly from November. Edinburgh becomes the airline’s eighth UK link.

  • Emirates has introduced flights between Dubai (DXB) and Edinburgh (EDI), with the Scottish capital becoming the carrier’s eighth destination in the UK, and second in Scotland, after Birmingham, Glasgow, London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle. Launched 1 October, the carrier will initially offer a daily service on the 5,773-kilometre sector, however from November the frequency of flights will drop to five times weekly, while OAG schedules is currently showing the route operating as four times weekly during S19 based on present data. “This flight marks the start of greater connectivity and more convenience for leisure and business travellers from the wider Edinburgh area and locations further afield, such as Aberdeen and Dundee, to destinations across Emirates’ global network via Dubai,” commented Hubert Frach, Emirates’ Divisional SVP, Commercial Operations West. “While for inbound travellers, particularly from cities in Asia and Australia, there is now a direct flight option to Scotland’s most visited city by tourists.” The MEB3 operator will utilise its fleet of 777-300s on its latest route to the UK, with no other airline linking the Scottish capital with Dubai. Emirates becomes the UK airport’s second serving MEB3 carrier, with Qatar Airways already serving the city, while Etihad Airways ended flights to Edinburgh from Abu Dhabi on 30 September. Edinburgh becomes the fourth new destination launched by the carrier from Dubai this year, with it having already added services to Santiago (operates via Sao Paulo Guarulhos), Stansted, plus the resumption of flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen after a two-year hiatus. The airline has also commenced a non-stop service to New York Newark from Dubai, adding to its existing one-stop route via Athens, while it has also launched a new sector to Auckland which operates via Denpasar in Indonesia. See how Edinburgh Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Sun Country Airlines Tampa to Madison

Sun Country Airlines Madison

Sun Country Airlines launched a twice-weekly service between Tampa and Madison in Wisconsin on 29 September, with the Florida airport baking a splendid cake to mark the route, with the culinary creation showcasing the Wisconsin Capitol Building and of course cheese. Seen posing with the route launch showstopper are: Ilana Goldenberg-Rosen, Marketing Coordinator Tampa Airport; James Jadoo, Regional Manager, Sun Country Airlines; and Maria Cook, Events Manager, Tampa Airport. Sun Country Airlines will operate the 1,791-kilometre sector on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

  • Sun Country Airlines commenced operations on two new Florida services this week, beginning operations from Southwest Florida (RSW) and Tampa (TPA) to Madison (MSN) in Wisconsin. The first of the two routes to launch was from Southwest Florida, commencing on 28 September. The carrier will offer a twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) service on the 1,968-kilometre airport pair facing no direct competition. Services from Tampa were inaugurated the following day, a 1,791-kilometre sector that will also be flown twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays), again facing no direct competition when referencing OAG schedules. Both sectors will be flown using the carrier’s fleet of 737-800s. Madison Airport is a regional facility showing strong growth in recent years. In 2017 the airport processed over 1.86 million passengers according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), up 4.4% versus the 1.78 million it handled in 2016. For the first six months of this year, Madison welcomed just shy of 956,000 passengers, up 6.6% versus the same period of last year, showing that passenger growth is accelerating from the Wisconsin city.

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


AirAsia Ipoh

AirAsia launched flights from Johor Bahru to Ipoh on 1 October, a route that the carrier will operate four times weekly using its fleet of A320s. Among those at the launch were (starting third left):  Zuraida Md Taib, Tourism Perak CEO; YB Tan Kar Hing, State Tourism, Arts and Cultural Committee Chairman; AirAsia Group Berhad Board of Director Dato’ Aziz Bakar; Riad Asmat, AirAsia Malaysia CEO; Mohd Roslan Abdullah, Tourism Malaysia Perak State Director; Menteri Besar of Perak YAB Tuan Ahmad Faizal Bin Dato’ Azumu; State Finance Officer Dato’ Abu Bakar bin Haji Said; and Malaysia Airports Acting Group CEO Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin. The city pair is already served by Malindo Air four times weekly.

AirAsia Alor Setar

AirAsia launched a second domestic connection from Johor Bahru on 1 October, with the other city to gain a connection being Alor Setar. Like Ipoh, this route will also be flown by AirAsia four times weekly using its A320s. As seen above, the first flight on this 621-kilometre domestic route was flown by a Queens Park Rangers-themed livery, with the aircraft registered 9M-AFV. The Asian LCC is the official airline partner for the London-based football club.

  • AirAsia inaugurated two domestic routes from Johor Bahru (JHB) on 1 October, with the LCC now linking the Malaysian city to Alor Setar (AOR) and Ipoh (IPH). The carrier will operate both routes four times weekly using its fleet of 180-seat A320s. The 621-kilometre link with Alor Setar will face no direct competition, while the 433-kilometre hop to Ipoh is already flown by Malindo Air 11 times weekly when referencing OAG schedules. As a result of these launches, AirAsia now operates a network of 15 routes from Johor Bahru, with 11 of these being domestic services, while international routes include Bangkok Don Mueang, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta. Along with the launching of routes from Johor Bahru to Alor Setar and Ipoh this week, it should be noted that fellow group carrier Thai AirAsia commenced its latest international link from Chiang Mai, a connection with Taipei Taoyuan, a route that was also launched with an initial frequency of four times weekly. See how Alor Setar Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

China Southern Airlines Kota Kinabalu

China Southern Airlines launched flights between Shenzhen and Kota Kinabalu on 28 September, a route that the SkyTeam member will operate daily using its fleet of A320s. This becomes the airline’s second route to the Malaysian airport, with it already offering a twice-daily service from its main hub of Guangzhou.

  • China Southern Airlines introduced flights between Shenzhen (SZX) and Kota Kinabalu (BKI) in Malaysia on 28 September, with this becoming the SkyTeam member’s second route to the latter airport, adding to its existing twice-daily service from Guangzhou. The carrier will provide a daily service from Shenzhen using its fleet of A320s, however the first five flights on the route have been upgraded to an A321. “This shows the airline’s strong confidence in Kota Kinabalu as a destination,” highlighted Christina Liew, State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister at a press conference for the new service. “The decision to use a bigger aircraft will bring an additional 200 passengers on the first five flights.” The 1,872-kilometre Asian city pair is already served by LCC AirAsia, with the latter also offering daily flights between the two airports. With the addition of these flights by China Southern, a total of 95 weekly scheduled flights are being flown between China and Kota Kinabalu by eight carriers, with 12 destinations being served non-stop. See how Kota Kinabalu Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Shenzhen Airlines Hanoi

Shenzhen Airlines introduced Hanoi to its network on 30 September, launching daily flights to the Vietnamese city from Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Both routes will face direct competition from China Southern Airlines, while Jetstar Pacific Airlines and Vietnam Airlines also provide daily flights between Hanoi and Guangzhou.

Shenzhen Airlines Jakarta

Shenzhen Airlines added Jakarta to its network on 27 September, launching a daily service to the Indonesian city from Shenzhen, a route it will operate using its 737-800s. Direct competition on the 3,288-kilometre connection is provided by China Southern Airlines, with the SkyTeam member operating four weekly services.

  • Shenzhen Airlines added two new international gateways to its network this week, introducing flights to Hanoi (HAN) and Jakarta (CGK). Flights to the Indonesian capital were the first to be inaugurated on 27 September, with Shenzhen Airlines offering a daily connection from Shenzhen (SZX) using its fleet of 737-800s. Direct competition on the 3,288-kilometre connection comes from China Southern Airlines, which offers a four times weekly operation. Hanoi joined the network on 30 September, the day which saw Shenzhen Airlines begin daily services from both Shenzhen and Guangzhou (CAN), with the latter being the recent host city of World Routes 2018. Flights on the 838-kilometre connection from Shenzhen will be flown using 737-800s, while the 805-kilometre sector from Guangzhou will be flown using A320s. Both routes, like Jakarta, will also face direct competition from China Southern, with the latter offering daily flights between Shenzhen and Hanoi, while from Guangzhou the SkyTeam member offers a three times daily rotation. Jetstar Pacific Airlines and Vietnam Airlines also operate daily flights between Guangzhou and Hanoi.

Sichuan Airlines Tel Aviv

Sichuan Airlines launched flights between Chengdu and Tel Aviv on 26 September, with the carrier planning to operate the 6,442-kilometre sector twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) using its A330-300s. With this launch, Tel Aviv is now connected to four destinations in China with non-stop service, with it also seeing regular flights to Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai Pudong. It should be noted that the Israeli city is also connected to Hong Kong.

  • Sichuan Airlines commenced operations between Chengdu (CTU) and Tel Aviv (TLV) on 26 September. The Chinese carrier will link the two cities twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Sundays) using its fleet of A330-300s, with no other airline presently operating the 6,442-kilometre sector. With this launch, Sichuan Airlines becomes the second mainland Chinese operator to serve the Israeli city, with it joining Hainan Airlines which flies to Tel Aviv from Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai Pudong. Chengdu becomes the fourth destination in China to be flown direct from Tel Aviv. It should be noted that Tel Aviv also has regular services to Hong Kong, with both El Al and Cathay Pacific serving the latter city pair. By adding flights to Tel Aviv, Sichuan Airlines now serves five destinations across Europe and the Middle East from Chengdu, with it already offering flights to Dubai, Moscow Sheremetyevo, Prague and St. Petersburg. See how Tel Aviv Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Thai AirAsia Taipei

Thai AirAsia launched flights between Chiang Mai and Taipei Taoyuan on 30 September. The carrier is planning to serve the 2,396-kilometre sector four times weekly using its fleet of A320s. Taipei Taoyuan becomes the sixth international route that Thai AirAsia operates from Chiang Mai, joining existing routes to Changsha, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Yangon. The airline is also planning to add a four times weekly link to Hanoi from the Thai airport starting 28 October.

  • Thai AirAsia launched its sixth international route from Chiang Mai (CNX) on 30 September, the day it inaugurated a four times weekly service to Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). The airline already operates non-domestic routes from the Northern Thailand city to Changsha, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Yangon, while on the domestic front it offers seven connections. The AirAsia Group operator will operate the 2,396-kilometre sector to Taipei Taoyuan using its fleet of 180-seat A320s, with direct competition being provided by EVA Air which already offers a daily connection between the two airports. Thai AirAsia will introduced a seventh international link, and 15th overall from Chiang Mai, on 28 October, the day which sees it launch a four times weekly rotation to Hanoi. See how Taipei Taoyuan Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

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