New airline routes launched (30 January – 12 February)

Qantas Brisbane to San Francisco

Qantas commenced direct Brisbane to San Francisco flights on 09 February. The previously unserved route had an estimated 30,000 passengers in 2019, with over 190,000 travelling annually between Queensland and California according to OAG Traffic Analyser.

Qantas on 09 February commenced three-weekly operations between Brisbane and San Francisco, unlocking an underserved market from the Queensland capital. An estimated 500,000 passengers travelled between Queensland and the USA in 2019, with one-quarter of this between Brisbane and California alone. In total, US visitors to Queensland are up 10.5% year-on-year. 

Gert-Jan de Graaff, CEO Brisbane Airport Corporation, said: “The US visitor market is currently the fourth largest for Brisbane Airport in terms of passenger numbers. Relative to the size of the market and overall demand, Queensland has been underserved from the USA, so these non-stop Qantas flights will go some way to addressing pent-up demand.”

Lufthansa Munich to Newcastle

Newcastle International welcomed the launch of Munich flights on 03 February. At the launch with the crew were Leon McQuaid, Head of Aviation Development at Newcastle Airport; Andreas Koster, Senior Director of Sales, Lufthansa Group; Richard Knight OBE, COO Newcastle Airport and Kim Di Rollo, Key Account Manager, Lufthansa. The service will be operated by A319s six-weekly, and compliments sister Lufthansa Group carrier Eurowings’ Dusseldorf flights.

Lufthansa added Newcastle International to its growing Munich network on Monday 03 February with a six-weekly service. This is the second Lufthansa Group carrier to serve Newcastle, complementing Eurowings’ six weekly Dusseldorf connection. In total, over 100,000 passengers flew between Newcastle and Germany in 2019. Nick Jones, CEO Newcastle International, said: “We are delighted that Lufthansa has chosen to operate from Newcastle International Airport. As well as opening up Munich as a direct destination, this new route will provide over 130 onward connections throughout Europe and beyond.”

Speaking to at last week’s Routes Americas conference, Ulrich Theis, joint Director of Traffic Development at Munich Airport, said: “It’s great to see Lufthansa placing confidence in the UK market post-Brexit…we look forward to welcoming Newcastle’s passengers to our five-star facilities, and those connecting onwards”.

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

Contour Airlines announced Indianapolis as its second focus city, after Santa Barbara, at last week’s Routes Americas event. Mario Rodriguez, Executive Director at Indianapolis International Airport and Matt Chaifetz, CEO Contour Airlines welcomed the launch with the Indy team, highlighting the city’s strong economic growth, and business traffic demand, with the likes of Rolls-Royce and FedEx boasting large operations in Indianapolis being key factors in the launch.

Indianapolis Airport has announced Contour as its latest airline at Routes Americas 2020. The carrier will operate three routes from launch: St Louis, Pittsburgh & Nashville. Indianapolis becomes the airline’s second base, after it started scheduled operations from Santa Barbara three years ago. The airline currently operates 18 routes, with all three route being served daily with 30-seat ERJ135/145s, according to Matt Chaifetz, CEO Contour Airlines.

At the launch, Mario Rodriguez, Indianapolis Airport Authority executive director said: “Travelers have been demanding drive-market destinations, and we’ve been working for years to bring these to Indy and expand both business and leisure nonstop connectivity regionally”.

Laser Airlines now operates a total of 13 routes, mainly across Venezuela and selected international destinations including Panama City, Guayaquil and Santo Domingo.

  • Laser Airlines on 10 February began direct services between Caracas and Bogota. The Venezuelan carrier will operate the route daily using 165-seat MD-82s, according to OAG Schedules Analyser. 110,000 passengers flew between the two airports in 2019, of which 16,000 were indirect – enough to sustain this additional daily flight post-market stimulation.

Qantas chooses A350 for Project Sunrise flights

Source: OAG Mapper. We reveal the top unserved ultra long haul routes from Australia. Qantas is set to use the A350-1000 for Project Sunrise, and potentially create a new pilot contract to bypass union issues. The existing Perth – London route could sustain a larger aircraft (than the current 787-9) or a second daily flight according to our recent analysis.

Qantas will be going ahead with Project Sunrise, according to Australian media reports following a memo to Qantas International staff. This comes as the hard deadline for an A350-1000 order approaches at the end of March, and Qantas considers creating a new pilot contract if current union negotiations fail.

Aside from the expected Sydney/Melbourne to London, New York, Paris and Frankfurt routes, the direct route opportunities are vast by pure connecting traffic volumes. 

Qantas chooses A350 for Project Sunrise flights

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser

Brisbane is a large Australia – Europe/US market, with trade links and tourism to the Gold Coast attracting strong connecting passenger flows. This week, Qantas added San Francisco from the airport, and it is certainly possible A350-1000s may also come to Brisbane Airport to up-gauge thicker ultra-long haul 787-9 routes. Ultimately, any ultra long haul route must command a sufficient fare premium, in order for yields to be high enough to make a profit.

See our full recent analysis on Project Sunrise here.

Viva Aerobus this week announced two new routes from Monterrey, after recently celebrating its 200,000th connecting passenger. The ULCC launched this guaranteed connection offering at its Monterrey hub in October 2018.

Viva Aerobus, Mexico’s ultra-low-cost carrier, continues expanding its service in the US with the announcement of its new nonstop flights Monterrey – Orlando and Monterrey – San Antonio. Orlando will commence on June 20 with 2 weekly flights (Wednesdays and Saturdays), whilst Monterrey – San Antonio will start on June 26, also with 2 weekly flights (Monday and Friday) .

Juan Carlos Zuazua, General Director of Viva Aerobus said of the launch: “This [announcement] is part of our commitment to all travelers: make available to everyone the opportunity to fly. Backed by the youngest fleet in Mexico…we already offer a total of 123 routes, 22 of them international”.


  1. David says:

    it must be remember that for most of January Qantas flew BNE/LAX 13 times a week, which is now going back to daily, so BNE/USA nonstop stays at approx 13/week when BNE/ORD nonstop comes online.

    BNE did lose BNE/HNL with Jetstar.

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