New airline routes launched (19 February – 25 February 2019)

Hainan Airlines Shenzhen to Dublin

Hainan Airlines, Dublin

Dublin celebrated the launch of Hainan Airlines’ second route to China on 25 February, Shenzhen, adding to its existing Beijing service. Performing the ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the occasion were: Ryan Zhang, GM Ireland, Hainan Airlines; Yue Xianoyong, Chinese Ambassador to Ireland; and Vincent Harrison, MD, Dublin Airport.

  • Hainan Airlines added two European links to its network from Shenzhen (SZX) in the past week, introducing services to Tel Aviv (TLV) on 22 February, followed by the inaugural departure to Dublin (DUB) three days later. The 7,696-kilometre connection to Tel Aviv and the 9,790-kilometre route to Dublin will both be served twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays). The Chinese carrier will deploy its 787-9s on both routes and will be the sole operator on each airport pair. “We are delighted Hainan Airlines is expanding its network from Dublin by adding this second destination to China,” commented Vincent Harrison, MD, Dublin Airport. “Shenzhen is a really exciting destination for both business and leisure travel. The new route will further increase trade, tourism and investment between Ireland and China, plus expand the growing number of Chinese visitors to Ireland.” Hainan Airlines already serves Dublin from Beijing, a route that commenced in June 2018 and currently operates twice-weekly, with one outbound and one inbound flight routing via Edinburgh. In the summer season, the Beijing service increases to four times weekly, with two direct and two indirect services in each direction, again operating via Edinburgh. Shenzhen becomes the carrier’s fourth link to Tel Aviv. It already serves the Israeli airport from Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai Pudong.

Allegiant Air Sarasota to Asheville

Allegiant Air Sarasota

Allegiant Air launched flights between Sarasota and Asheville in North Carolina on 22 February, with the latter airport baking this splendid cake to mark the new twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays) service. No other airline presently operates the 893-kilometre route between the two airports based on OAG Schedules Analyser data.

  • Allegiant Air kick-started part of its expanded flight operations from Sarasota (SRQ) on 22 February, launching flights to Asheville (AVL) and Baltimore/Washington (BWI). “We’re thrilled to launch new non-stop service connecting these two vibrant areas,” said Drew Wells, VP Planning and Revenue, Allegiant Air on the new service connecting Sarasota and Asheville. “Sarasota and Asheville have proven to have terrific synergy, and we know travellers in both directions will love our brand of friendly, affordable service.” The airline will operate both routes twice-weekly (Mondays and Fridays), with neither the 893-kilometre link to Asheville or the 1,418-kilometre hop to Baltimore/Washington poised to face direct competition, according to OAG Schedules Analyser data. In April, the carrier will expand its operations further from Sarasota, adding services to Cleveland, Columbus, Grand Rapids, Harrisburg, Nashville, Richmond and Syracuse.

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

Alaska Airlines El Paso

Alaska Airlines launched operations to El Paso on 19 February, beginning daily services to the airport from San Diego and Seattle-Tacoma, with the Texan airport showcasing the new destinations in this elaborate, three-tiered route launch cake, adorned with a replica of the airline on top. Both routes will be operated daily using E175s.

  • Alaska Airlines launched operations from El Paso (ELP) on 19 February, with the carrier commencing flights to the airport from San Diego (SAN) and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA). The airline will operate both routes daily using its fleet of E175s according to OAG schedules. There is no direct competition on the 2,198-kilometre sector from Seattle-Tacoma, however Southwest Airlines already offers eight weekly flights on the 1,109-kilometre link between San Diego and El Paso. Based on data obtained from the airport, El Paso handled just over 3.26 million passengers in 2018, with this representing an 11% increase versus the 2.93 million that were handled during the previous year. Alaska Airlines becomes the airport’s seventh scheduled airline, joining Southwest Airlines (46% market share of passengers in 2018), American Airlines (31%), United Airlines (13%), Delta Air Lines (6.9%), Frontier Airlines (1.9%) and Allegiant Air (1.5%). 

Aberdeen welcomed a new carrier to its departures boards on 25 February with the arrival of Danish Air Transport. The carrier will offer four weekly services from Esbjerg. Celebrating the news on the apron were Captain Jesper Rungholm, CEO and owner of Danish Air Transport, and Steve Szalay, MD, Aberdeen Airport.

  • Danish Air Transport introduced a new route from Esbjerg (EBJ) to Aberdeen (ABZ) on 25 February. It will operate the 686-kilometre sector four times weekly using its ATR 42s, with it taking over the route from bmi regional, with the latter airline recently ceasing operations. Danish Air Transport will be the sole operator on the airport pair until 4 March, when Loganair will begin serving the route five times weekly. Steve Szalay, MD, Aberdeen Airport, said of the news: “Esbjerg port is a gateway to the Danish North Sea and is a primary base for oil and gas activity in the region. It is essential that we strengthen our links with Denmark’s energy capital. Similarly, for leisure purposes Esbjerg is a city steeped in maritime history and is a gem waiting to be discovered.” 


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