New airline routes launched (27 November – 3 December 2018)

Air New Zealand Auckland to Chicago O’Hare

Air New Zealand Chicago

Air New Zealand operated its inaugural flight between Auckland and Chicago O’Hare on 30 November, with the 13,176-kilometre sector becoming the Star Alliance member’s longest non-stop flight. Pictured checking in for the first flight to the Windy City is Christopher Luxon, CEO of Air New Zealand. Picture credit: Greg Bowker.

  • Air New Zealand launched its longest non-stop flight on 30 November, beginning a three times weekly service between Auckland (AKL) and Chicago O’Hare (ORD). The Star Alliance member will operate the 13,176-kilometre route using its 787-9s, with no other airline presently serving between the two cities directly. With this launch, the New Zealand flag carrier connects Auckland to five US destinations, with it already flying to Honolulu, Houston Intercontinental, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The airline also operates a daily service to Vancouver in Canada from New Zealand’s largest city and its home base.

Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi to Barcelona

Etihad Airways launched flights from its home base of Abu Dhabi to Barcelona on 28 November. Pictured at the cake cutting ceremony in Barcelona are: Sonia Corrochano, Airport Director; Damià Calvet, Territory and Sustainability Territorial Services at Catalonia Goverment; Tony Douglas, CEO, Etihad Airways; Mohamed Alshamsi, UAE Consul in Barcelona; Xavier Mayo, Economic Promotions at Barcelona Council; and Cristian Bardají, Barcelona Chamber of Commerce. The MEB3 carrier will operate the 5,175-kilometre sector five times weekly using its fleet of A330-200s.

Etihad Airways Barcelona

Etihad Airways commenced flights from Abu Dhabi to Barcelona on 28 November. Pictured shaking hands before the inaugural flight in Abu Dhabi were: Robin Kamark, CCO, Etihad Aviation Group; H.E. Antonio Álvarez Barthe, Ambassador of Spain in UAE; and Tony Douglas, CEO, Etihad Airways. No other airline links the two airports directly.

  • Etihad Airways launched flights between Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Barcelona (BCN) on 28 November. The Spanish city becomes only the second new destination to be added to the MEB3 carrier’s network in 2018, with it having launched operations to Baku back on 2 March. The airline will operate the 5,175-kilometre connection five times weekly using its fleet of A330-200s, however it should be noted that the carrier used one of its newer 787-9s on the inaugural flight. No other airline presently operates the city pair, with the Abu Dhabi-based operator becoming the final MEB3 airline to operate into Barcelona after Emirates and Qatar Airways. Barcelona becomes Etihad’s 21st destination in Europe after Amsterdam, Athens, Baku, Belgrade, Brussels, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Istanbu Atatürk, London Heathrow, Madrid, Manchester, Milan Malpensa, Minsk, Moscow Domodedovo, Munich, Paris CDG, Rome Fiumicino and Zurich based on OAG data. It should be noted that during the past year the airline has ended flights from Abu Dhabi to Edinburgh, Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen and Venice Marco Polo in Europe.

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


There were celebrations at Ipoh to mark AirAsia’s first service to Singapore on 2 December. Among those welcoming the first arrival from Singapore was AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat (fourth from right). The LCC will serve the 480-kilometre connection four times weekly with A320s. It faces direct competition from Firefly and Scoot on this airport pair.

  • AirAsia launched three new services last week. On 30 November the LCC commenced operations on a four times weekly connection from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Kunming (KMG). On 2 December the carrier introduced four weekly flights on a domestic sector between Kuching (KCH) and Tawau (TWU), while that day also saw it launch a four times weekly link from Ipoh (IPH) to Singaore (SIN). There is no direct competition on the 917-kilometre domestic airport pair, but the 2,546-kilometre Kota Kinabalu – Kunming connection and the 480-kilometre Ipoh – Singapore route will face incumbent competition. The former will see competition from Lucky Air, while Firefly and Scoot serve the latter sector. All three routes will be operated by AirAsia’s A320 fleet. Speaking at the launch event for the new service from Ipoh to Singapore, AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said: “Since the launch of our Johor Bahru – Ipoh route in October, we have flown close to 10,000 guests in and out of Ipoh, including from China, Indonesia, India and Singapore. This new Singapore service builds on our efforts to expand our Ipoh network, and we hope it will contribute to increased tourist traffic to Ipoh as well as Perak as a whole. We wish to thank the Perak State Government and Tourism Board for their continued support and cooperation.”  

Eurowings Dusseldorf

On 1 December Eurowings took over from Lufthansa on the route between Düsseldorf and New York Newark, with a ceremonial Liberty Statue Torch baton being passed from one set of crew to the other. The low-cost unit of the Lufthansa Group will offer five weekly flights on the 6,035-kilometre sector, adding to its existing New York JFK link.

  • Eurowings commenced operations on its latest transatlantic route on 1 December, with the carrier taking over from Lufthansa on the 6,035-kilometre link between Düsseldorf (DUS) and New York Newark (EWR). It should be noted that the low-cost unit is no stranger to the market, with it already offering a six times weekly rotation between Düsseldorf and New York JFK. The carrier will offer five weekly flights between Düsseldorf and Newark using its 283-seat A330-300s, operated for the carrier by Brussels Airlines. No other airline will link Düsseldorf and New York this winter, giving Eurowings a monopoly in the market where it will offer 11 weekly flights. 

Hainan Airlines, Singapore

Singapore welcomed the return of Hainan Airlines on 30 November as the Chinese carrier re-introduced a link from Haikou, a route it previously served between 2011 and 2015. The service will operate three times weekly. Among those celebrating the first flight with the crew were: Vincent Wu, GM South East Asia, Hainan Airlines (third left) and Liew Zhong Yao, Airline Development Assistant GM, Changi Airport Group (centre).

  • Hainan Airlines introduced a three times weekly service between Haikou (HAK) and Singapore (SIN) on 30 November. It will deploy its 737-800s on the 2,181-kilometre sector, facing direct competition from Jetstar Asia (five weekly flights) and Scoot (four weekly). This is a returning route for Hainan Airlines, following an absence of more than three years. OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that the Chinese carrier previously operated this airport pair between September 2011 and June 2015. The Haikou connection is currently Hainan Airlines’ only service into Singapore.

Jeju Air, Macau

Jeju Air launched a new service from Daegu to Macau on 2 December. Dignitaries attending the launch ceremony to see off the first passengers returning to South Korea included Eric Fong, Director of Marketing Department of Macau International Airport Company Limited (fourth right). The LCC already operates to Macau from Seoul Incheon.

  • Jeju Air introduced a new route from Daegu (TAE) to Macau (MFM) on 2 December. The South Korean LCC will operate the 2,110-kilometre connection five times weekly, using its 737-800s. There is no direct competition on the route. Commenting on the airport’s latest link, Eric Fong, Director of Marketing Department, Macau International Airport Company Limited said: “There are four low-cost airlines from Korea operating services between Seoul, Busan and Macau. This new service between Macau and Taegu would be in time to satisfy the Christmas peak season for travel in the coming December.” Daegu becomes Jeju Air’s second route to Macau, with the carrier already operating a service from Seoul Incheon.

Jet Airways, Singapore

There were celebrations in Singapore on 1 December with Raj Sivakumar, SVP Network and Revenue Management, Jet Airways (fourth from left) and Lim Ching Kiat, MD of Airhub Development, Changi Airport Group (fifth from left), along with the crew of Jet Airways’ inaugural flight from Pune, to celebrate the Indian carrier’s latest network addition. The new airport pair will be flown daily facing no direct competition according to OAG schedules.

  • Jet Airways launched a new service between Pune (PNQ) and Singapore (SIN) on 1 December. It will operate the 3,793-kilometre sector daily using its 737-800s. There is no direct competition on the airport pair. This brings the airline’s total number of connections from India to Singapore to four. It already operates flights to the city-state from Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai. The Singapore connection becomes Jet Airways’ second international link from Pune, with the carrier also offering direct services to Abu Dhabi based on OAG schedules.

Royal Brunei Airlines Taipei

Royal Brunei Airlines commenced flights between Bandar Seri Begawan and Taipei Taoyuan on 3 December. Among those cutting the ribbon to officially open the route were Lin Weiyang, Representative, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Brunei (second left) and Karam Chand, CEO of Royal Brunei Airlines (second right).

  • Royal Brunei Airlines launched its latest route on 3 December, commencing a three times weekly service between Bandar Seri Begawan (BWN) and Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). The carrier, which will have a codeshare agreement with China Airlines on the 2,335-kilometre sector, will utilise its fleet of A320neos on this route, with the carrier having recently taken delivery of its seventh unit of the type. Along with seven A320neos, the airline operates one A319, four A320s, one 777-200 and five 787-8s based on data. No other airline presently offers direct flights between Bandar Seri Begawan and Taipei Taoyuan. According to OAG Traffic Analyser data, just over 4,000 passengers travelled indirectly between the two airports in 2017, however the codeshare agreement will allow for many passengers to connect onto China Airlines’ extended network via its hub in Taiwan.

Tigerair Taiwan, Cebu

A warm welcome was waiting in Cebu for the passengers and crew of Tigerair Taiwan’s first flight from Taipei Taoyuan on 2 December. The LCC will serve the 1,666-kilometre sector four times weekly using its A320s. It faces competition from incumbent carriers EVA Air and Philippines AirAsia.

  • Tigerair Taiwan launched its first flights to Cebu (CEB) on 2 December, the day in which it began a four times weekly service from Taipei Taoyuan (TPE). The 1,666-kilometre connection will be operated by the carrier’s fleet of A320s. There is direct competition on the airport pair, with EVA Air and Philippines AirAsia both already offering daily flights. According to OAG Schedules Analyser data, the new Cebu route also represents Tigerair Taiwan’s first scheduled service to the Philippines. 

Vueling, Amsterdam

Annemiek Holkeboer, Marketing Support, Aviation Marketing Team, Amsterdam Airport and Krassimir Tanev, Director International Markets, Vueling, celebrate the LCC’s new route from the Dutch capital to Vienna, launched 2 December. Vueling will serve the 959-kilometre airport pair four times weekly using its fleet of A320s.

  • Vueling launched a new service from Amsterdam (AMS) on 2 December, beginning a four times weekly link to Vienna (VIE). The 959-kilometre European capital connection will be operated by the airline’s A320s. The IAG-owned carrier will face stiff competition on the sector, with Austrian Airlines (22 weekly flights), KLM (21) and easyJet (9) all already operating the route. According to OAG Schedules Analyser data, Vueling will operate regular scheduled services to 13 destinations from Amsterdam during W18/19. It offers links to five destinations from Vienna this winter too.


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