New airline routes launched (08 – 18 December)

FlyArystan Nur-Sultan to Moscow Zhukovsky

This week, Zhukovsky welcomed the first international flight of Central Asia LCC, FlyArystan.  About to cut the cake are, from left to right: Nurzhan Kadzhiakbarov, Advisor-Envoy of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakstan in Russia; Peter Foster, President and CEO, Air Astana; Aleksandr Semenov, Deputy CEO, Zhukovsky Airport; Pavel Mandazhi, Regional Head of Sales, Zhukovsky Airport.

  • FlyArystan this week added a daily flight between its Nur-Sultan base and Zhukovsky in Moscow. It is the sole operator at airport-pair level, but there are four daily services to the other three Moscow airports. Over 203,000 passengers flew between Nur-Sultan and Moscow in the past year.
    Destination Airline Weekly flights Equipment
    Moscow Sheremetyevo Aeroflot 12 A32S/B738
    Moscow Domodedovo Air Astana 11 A32S
    Moscow Vnukovo SCAT 7 B735
    Moscow Zhukovsky FlyArystan 7 A320
    Source: OAG Schedules Analyser

Gold Coast Airport wins our last Cake of the Week in 2019

Presenting this incredible cake was Gareth Evans, Jetstar Group CEO; Marion Charlton, COO Gold Coast Airport and Chris Mills, CEO Queensland Airports Limited. Be sure to vote for your Cake of the Year 2019 now!

  • Jetstar commenced three times-weekly services to Seoul on 08 December from Gold Coast. The route is operated by 335-seat 787-8s on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. According to OAG Traffic Analyser, 109,000 passengers travelled between Queensland and Seoul in the year to November 2019, of which 73,100 were non-stop from Brisbane on Korean Air. It will be interesting to see the extent a low-cost offering from Queensland will have on total demand to Seoul, particularly with the strong inbound tourism to the Gold Coast. 

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

 Mathew Lee, Senior Manager Network Planning at Air Canada points out the launch of four-weekly flights between Vancouver and Auckland. The airline hopes to eventually go year-round and gain approval for a joint venture with Air New Zealand. 

Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, celebrates the arrival of Air Senegal’s first A330-900neo earlier in the year. The type is now used on the airline’s new Marseille and Barcelona routes, which aim to tap into the 152,000+ annual passengers between the two cities and Dakar.

  • Air Senegal launched three-weekly flights to Marseille Provence from Dakar on 12 December, with an onwards flight to Barcelona El Prat. Marseille services will operate on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with A330-900s, with the extra Barcelona leg operating twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays. No other carrier serves this routing, which in the past year saw 152,000 passengers travel between Marseille/Barcelona and Dakar. The route will be fed by several cities under two hours from Dakar, with two-way connectivity including Abidjan and Bamako. Such regional connectivity will be strengthened if Air Senegal firms its MoU for eight Airbus A220-300s.

The team celebrate the launch of Air Serbia’s new route to Vienna from Morava. The Serbia – Austria market has grown 17% in the past year.

  • Air Serbia on 17 December launched twice-weekly flights from Morava to Vienna. According to OAG Schedules Analyser, the route will operate on Tuesdays and Fridays with an ATR72. No other carrier operates between the two cities, however Belgrade to Vienna is well served by Air Serbia and Austrian Airlines. Over 158,000 passengers travelled between Serbia and Austria in the year to November 2019, up 17% on the previous year.

The team celebrate American Airlines’ return to Acapulco after eight years. The new route from Dallas/Fort Worth will operate twice-weekly.

  • American Airlines launched twice-weekly flights between Dallas/Fort Worth and Acapulco on 17 December. The service, operated by Envoy Air, will run on Tuesdays and Saturdays with a 76-seat Embraer 175. Acapulco – US is a market of around 167,000 passengers.  Acapulco now has connectivity to seven domestic destinations, and four international. It has posted traffic growth of 18.7% in the year to November 2019. Ricardo Dueñas, OMA Airport Group CEO, said of the launch: “The new American Airlines flight together with the recent opening of an impressive resort in the bay as well as the new airport terminal confirms the return of Acapulco as a major destination in Mexico.”

American Airlines launches daily Phoenix to Chihuahua flights on 18 December. Chihuahua to US demand is over 107,000 passengers per year. As for Chihuahua dog demand, we’re less sure…

  • American Airlines on 18 December launched daily flights between its Phoenix hub and Chihuahua. The route is operated by Skywest, on a CRJ700. According to OAG Schedules Analyser, American also serves Chihuahua from Dallas/Fort Worth. In the past year, 107,000 passengers flew between Chihuahua and the US. Ricardo Dueñas, CEO of OMA Airport Group said of the launch: “We’re very proud of our partnership with American Airlines, this flight marks the third new route this year by AA following Durango in the summer and Acapulco yesterday”.

Representatives from Washington Dulles, Lagos and Porto Alegre welcome Cabo Verde Airlines’ new services this week. 

The effect of Cabo Verde’s new service on the Lagos – Washington, DC, market is stark. Previously, it was impossible to complete the journey in under 15 hours, yet now it is achievable in 13h 25. This is also close to being a great circle routing between the two, which is much more efficient than the current most popular routing via Dubai. Almost a third of that journey involves heading in the wrong direction away from the US.

  • Cabo Verde Airlines this week launched three new routes. The services – spanning North and South America and Africa – reinforce the airline’s aim to become Africa’s Icelandair. It is no coincidence that Icelandair Group owns a stake in Cabo Verde Airlines. In the past year, 38,100 passengers travelled between Lagos and Washington Dulles, with no non-stop offering.The new Cabo Verde route will save a huge amount of time compared with existing options. Interestingly, Emirates is the market leader with 20% share. Here is a summary of Cabo Verde’s new routes:
Destination Weekly flights Equipment
Lagos 5


Porto Alegre 3
Washington Dulles 3
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser

The inaugural crew mark the launch of easyJet’s Montpellier to Porto route. The France – Porto market accounts for a remarkable 2.4 million passengers per year.

  • easyJet on 14 December launched twice-weekly services between Montpellier and Porto. No other carriers operate on the route. In the year to November 2019, 2.4 million passengers flew between France and Porto, according to OAG Traffic Analyser.

A delegation led by Ethiopian Airlines CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, cut the cake on the launch of the airline’s Lome to Houston flight. Togo-based carrier ASKY Airlines (40% owned by Ethiopian Airlines) codeshares on the route.

  • Ethiopian Airlines this week launched three-weekly operations to Houston from Lomé. The route, codesharing with Togo’s ASKY Airlines, is operated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays with a 270-seat 787-8. This operates as an extension to the existing Addis Ababa to Lomé route, increasing that to daily from four-weekly. Although there is little existing O&D traffic, over 114,000 passengers travelled between Western/Central/Eastern Africa and Houston in the past year. Therefore, Ethiopian would likely have a strong feed for the route. See our recent analysis on the internal African market, and how Ethiopian became number #1.

Finnair has added a Sapporo route from Helsinki, the only European connection from the Japanese airport. Initially, this was set to operate seasonally, but was upgraded to a year-round service before launch.

  • Finnair became the first operator to serve Sapporo non-stop from Europe this week. The airline launched the twice-weekly service from Helsinki on 15 December. According to OAG Schedules Analyser, the route will operate on Thursdays and Sundays with a 263-seat A330-300. Fellow oneworld carrier Japan Airlines is set to codeshare on the service. In the past year, 96,000 passengers flew between Sapporo and Europe. London, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, and Rome are now the top-five unserved European markets from the Japanese city.

João Pita, Head of Airline Business at Sao Paulo Guarulhos speaks with Eduardo Bernardes Neto, CCO at GOL during the launch of GOL’s new daily service to Lima.

  • GOL on 12 December added daily flights to Lima from Sao Paulo Guarulhos. The service is operated by a 737-800, and capitalises on the 165,000-strong annual passenger traffic between Sao Paulo and Lima which will be stimulated further. The Peruvian capital is the fifth-largest South American market from Sao Paulo. LATAM and Avianca also operate on the route.
Airline Weekly flights Equipment
LATAM 17 A320
Avianca 7 A332
GOL 7 B738
Source: OAG Schedules Analyser

Dignitaries celebrate the launch of TAAG Angola Airlines’ direct service between Luanda and Lagos on 16 December.

  • TAAG Angola Airlines this week commenced a twice-weekly service between Luanda and Lagos on 16 December. The route, although inaugurated by the B777-200, will be served on Mondays and Fridays with 120-seat B737-700s. No other carrier serves the city-pair. Although the route has low existing P2P demand (around 9,000 passengers per year), the service is timed to connect to/from Johannesburg. Lagos – Johannesburg is a large intra-African market, with 139,000 passengers per year.

The inaugural crew celebrate the launch of United Airlines’ Newark to Cape Town route in style, with music from a local band. This is only the second connection between New York and South Africa, after South African Airways’ Johannesburg route.

  • United Airlines on 16 December launched its first South African route, with a three-weekly service between Newark and Cape Town. The route was previously unserved, with the only non-stop New York to South Africa connection fellow Star Alliance carrier South African Airways’ Johannesburg to New York JFK.  In all, 101,000 passengers travelled between South Africa and New York in the year to November 2019, with only 59,000 non-stop. 


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