Bangkok Airways Bangkok Suvarnabhumi to Nha Trang
Bangkok Airways launched flights to Nha Trang from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi on 25 January, with representatives of Khanh Hoa Tourism Department and Bangkok Airways welcoming inaugural flight visitors to Khanh Hoa. The airline will operate the 938-kilometre route four times weekly using A319s, with this being its third route to Vietnam from Bangkok.
- Bangkok Airways launched its latest route from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) on 25 January, with the airline now offering a four times weekly service to Nha Trang (CXR) in Vietnam, with flights operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The airline will operate the 938-kilometre route using its fleet of A319s. No other operator presently links the two cities directly when referencing OAG Schedules Analyser data. “We consider this to be another milestone, as this will make Bangkok Airways the only scheduled airline to fly direct to this popular beach holiday destination from Thailand. The aim of this new launch is not only to enhance Bangkok Airways’ network to cover the Indochina region, but also to provide better flight connections for European, Thai and Vietnamese customers as well as offering regional connecting routes to Cam Ranh for our long-haul codeshare partners,” commented Varong Israsena Na Ayudhya, VP Sales, Bangkok Airways. Nha Trang becomes the airline’s third destination in Vietnam from Bangkok’s largest airport, with it also linking the Thai capital hub with Da Nang and the island of Phu Quoc, with the carrier operating these two routes on a daily basis during W18/19. It uses its fleet of A320s to serve Da Nang, while Phu Quoc is served by ATR 72-500s and -600s.
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou to Cebu
Cebu celebrated the launch of China Southern Airlines’ new route from Guangzhou on 22 January. Taking part in the ribbon cutting ceremony were: Shalimar Tamano, Director, Department of Tourism Region 7; Pan Feng, GM Philippines, China Southern Airlines; Jia Li, China Consul General; Janette Cordeo, President and CEO, PAGSS; and Ravishankar Saravu, Chief Commercial Adviser, Cebu Airport. A special Canton Tower cake was also baked to mark the occasion in homage to Guangzhou’s most famous landmark.
- China Southern Airlines introduced a new service from Guangzhou (CAN) to Cebu (CEB) in the Philippines on 22 January, with the latter being the host of the upcoming Routes Asia conference in March. It will operate the 1,843-kilometre sector three times weekly using its fleet of 737-800s. According to OAG Schedules Analyser data, there is no direct competition on this sector. This is currently the only connection that China Southern will operate to Cebu during W18/19, although it does also offer flights to Manila from its home hub. Cebu will see direct scheduled services to nine Chinese destinations in total over the course of the winter season.
The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)
Garuda Indonesia launched a three times weekly non-stop service from London Heathrow to Denpasar on the Indonesian island of Bali on 22 January. Flights will operate every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday using 777-300s. Confirmed by schedules and indeed the airline’s advert for the new route, return services to the UK will operate via Jakarta.
- Garuda Indonesia launched non-stop flights between London and Bali on 22 January, with the carrier offering flights between London Heathrow (LHR) and Denpasar (DPS). The airline will operate three weekly flights on the 12,519-kilometre sector using its fleet of 777-300s, with departures from the UK taking place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It should be noted that while the route from the UK to Bali will operate non-stop on outbound legs, return services will be performed via Jakarta, with the airline already offering flights between the Indonesian and UK capitals. When referencing OAG Traffic Analyser data, it shows that just under 153,000 passengers travelled indirectly between Heathrow and Denpasar during the 12-month period from July 2017 to June 2018, via a one-stop flight offering. A further look at the data shows that Denpasar was one of the top unserved markets from Heathrow regarding indirect traffic flows within the time frame analysed, with the top airlines for passengers on the airport pair being Garuda Indonesia itself, via its existing Jakarta service (19% of the market), followed by Qatar Airways (18%) and Singapore Airlines (14%).
GX Airlines launched a daily service between Nanning and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi on 23 January, with the airline using its Transformers livery aircraft, registered B-8655, to perform the inaugural flight. A celebration for the new service took place at the Chinese airport, with GX Airlines becoming the third airline to operate the airport pair.
- GX Airlines launched a new connection from Nanning (NNG) to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) on 23 January. The carrier will operate the 1,263-kilometre route daily using its fleet of A320s, becoming the third operator on the sector after China Southern Airlines (daily) and Sichuan Airlines (three times weekly). According to OAG Schedules Analyser data, this becomes the carrier’s first route to Suvarnabhumi Airport, while the Thai capital becomes the airline’s second international route from Nanning after Singapore. OAG also indicates that the operator serves over 30 domestic cities from Nanning this winter season. According to Flightradar24.com data, GX Airlines currently operates a fleet of 25 aircraft, made-up of nine A320s, of which two are neos, and 16 E190s.
Hainan Airlines launched flights between Chongqing and Yangon on 27 January, a route that the airline will operate four times weekly using 737-800s. A celebration took place at the Chinese airport to mark the route opening. With this launch, it means that Yangon is directly connected to 12 airports in China with non-stop flights this winter season.
- Hainan Airlines launched its latest route from Chongqing (CKG) on 27 January, launching a four times weekly service to Yangon (RGN) in Myanmar. The airline will operate the 1,780-kilometre route on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays using its fleet of 737-800s. “We would like to congratulate Hainan Airlines on its inaugural flight from Chongqing. This new route allows Yangon Airport to further tap into the Chinese market and open-up new possibilities for cultural and economic exchange between Myanmar and China,” commented Jose Angeja, CCO of Yangon Aerodrome Company Limited. No other airline presently links the two Asian cities. With this launch, it means that Yangon is directly connected to 12 Chinese destinations in W18/19 with 56 weekly departures taking place based on scheduled data for the week commencing 6 February.
There was a welcoming ceremony in Van Don on 22 January for VietJet Air’s first flight from Ho Chi Minh City. Nguyen Duc Tam, VP VietJet Air (third left) was joined by representatives of Quang Ninh Province and Van Don International Airport for the official ribbon cutting to mark the start of the service. OAG data shows that Ho Chi Minh City is currently the only scheduled destination available from the new airport at Van Don, with this route also being served by Vietnam Airlines.
- VietJet Air added its first flights to Vietnam’s newest airport – Van Don (VDO) – on 22 January, when it began services from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN). The 1,144-kilometre connection will be operated four times weekly by the carrier’s A320s and A321s. The LCC will face direct competition from Vietnam Airlines which already serves this airport pair with daily flights. In its official press release VietJet explains that Van Don is situated in the Quang Ninh Province, and that the route will also serve as a direct gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay located 50 kilometres away, or approximately a 60-minute drive from the newly opened airport. The bay consists of over 1,600 islands and islets and is famous for its ocean karst topography.