New airline routes (12 – 26 February)

Allegiant Allentown to Sarasota

Allegiant made Allentown, PA its 18th crew base on 12 February. Allentown has been a served destination for 14 years, and the new base came as the carrier launched Sarasota flights from the airport.

  • Allegiant has opened its 18th crew base in Allentown, and launched Sarasota flights from the airport. The ULCC now serves eight routes from the airport in W19, with Sarasota its fifth in Florida. In S20, the carrier expects to have 40 weekly flights from Allentown.

Loganair’s Aberdeen to Haugesund

A spectacular Viking-themed cake from Haugesund Airport marked the launch of Loganair’s Aberdeen to Haugesund route on 24 February.

  • Loganair on 24 February launched services from Aberdeen to Haugesund. The route will be operated five times weekly with an Embraer 145, and helps feed the lucrative North Sea offshore oil & gas sector. According to OAG Traffic Analyser, 30% of Aberdeen to Norway traffic is still indirect, or over 60,000 out of the 200,000+ estimated annual passengers on a market pair basis. 

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

Air France has announced six new routes from S20, with significant expansion to Algeria – as a result of Aigle Azur’s end – and a new three-weekly, B787-operated Chennai service from Paris Charles de Gaulle. Chennai is one of Paris’ largest unserved markets, with ~88,000 indirect passengers in the past year. IIt will, of course, also cater for North America and wider European demand.

According to OAG Traffic Analyser, an estimated two million annual passengers travel between France and Algeria each year. Below are Air France’s new services, which will operate year-round except for Nice – Algiers:

Origin Destination Start date Weekly frequency Competition (weekly frequency)
Toulouse Algiers 4 April 4 Air Algerie (5)
Oran 4 April 4 Air Algerie (6)
Paris Charles de Gaulle Chennai 14 June 3 None
Paris Orly Algiers 4 April 14 Air Algerie (25), Transavia France* (14)
Marseille Algiers 4 April 7 Air Algerie (19), Vueling (7)
Nice Algiers 14 July 2 Air Algerie (5)
Source: Air France website, OAG Schedules Analyser. *Transavia France is an Air France subsidiary.


Air Senegal to launch Geneva and London; Milan, Madrid, Rome next

Air Senegal is only small but it already has a motley collection of A319s (as shown here), A330-900s, ATR-72-600s, and B737-500s (no doubt the latter will be removed as soon as other aircraft come online). It’ll be leasing two A321s for its new Geneva and London services, among other routes, and it expects to receive its first A220-300 in 2021.

Air Senegal’s growth continues.  In December, it added Dakar to Lagos via Accra; Abuja via Niamey; Casablanca; and Barcelona via Marseille.  Freetown via Banjul is coming in June. Clearly, the carrier is focusing significantly on hub-and-spoke, in contrast to the previous point-to-point Senegal Airlines. A highly coordinated hub is an obvious strategy for Air Senegal, partly given its geographic position.

Air Senegal has announced both Geneva and London, its fourth and fifth destinations in Europe.  The carrier is to lease two 165-seat A321s – 149 economy seats, 16 lie-flat business – for these routes, and also for Abidjan, Casablanca, and Conakry.

Air Senegal to launch Geneva and London; Milan, Madrid, Rome next

Shown here are its West Africa – North Africa / Europe – West Africa connections, all well coordinated for connectivity over Dakar.  Other African cities, such as Accra and Lagos, are timed to connect with other cities in West Africa (i.e., most of those that Europe connects with) rather than to Europe. Source: OAG Mapper.

Geneva has ~69,000 passengers; London ~108,000

Geneva is a market of ~69,000 (Dakar point-to-point and demand to connecting destinations) and it’ll be partly driven by demand from the United Nations. It’ll probably also attract some of Lyon’s ~65,000 passengers, at least non-stop to Dakar, given the two cities are only 93 miles apart.  London is a market of ~108,000 (excluding non-stop traffic to Banjul).  It is reported that Stansted was chosen due to no early morning slots at Gatwick, with Air Senegal’s timings (or very similar) crucial for connectivity over Dakar.

Up to eight connecting destinations so far over Dakar

Its timings are, of course, based on maximising connectivity to/from West Africa.  Although it does vary a little based on day, Abidjan, Bamako, Banjul, Bissau, Conakry, Freetown, Nouakchott, and Praia are available over Dakar on a two-way basis, with connections within about two hours in both directions.  London – Freetown, for example, is a market of ~36,000 passengers, with timings as follows:

  • Freetown – Dakar: 1945 – 2230; Dakar – London: 0015 – 0625
  • London – Dakar: 0750 – 1405; Dakar – Freetown: 1600 – 1845

Milan, Madrid, and Rome next?

Air Senegal’s European routes each had 60,000+ passengers before starting. Barcelona, Geneva, and Marseille also had local Dakar traffic averaging 47% of their total.  Presumably Marseille (~64,000) and Barcelona (~75,000) – each a good-sized market – will one day benefit from being de-tagged and served non-stop by A321s rather than on a triangle basis by the A330-900.

The figure, below, shows the estimated two-way demand for Dakar and Air Senegal’s eight connecting destinations in the year to November 2019.  For fairness, these numbers exclude any non-stop passengers as they’d be less likely to switch.   Excluding short-term demand impacts from the coronavirus, Milan (76,000), Madrid (63,000), and Rome (58,000) seem good contenders for Air Senegal’s future European expansion.  As is Lyon itself (65,000), but that’s now less certain given Geneva. 

Air Senegal to launch Geneva and London; Milan, Madrid, Rome next

Green = already served or announced. Blue = unserved. Geneva and London will be served non-stop. Marseille and Barcelona are currently linked in a triangle. Perhaps the A220-300 will be used to serve some thinner destinations, such as Toulouse? Source: OAG Traffic Analyser.

Milan stands out.  Its ~76,000 is based on ~41,000 indirect Dakar traffic. Air Italy currently operates Milan Malpensa – Dakar four-weekly by the A330-200.  However, the carrier is to cease operating.  Therefore, it is fair to add its ~78,000 non-stop passengers, meaning Milan is a potential market of ~154,000.

The crew celebrate the launch of Lauda’s new Düsseldorf to Seville route on 15 February.

  • Lauda on 15 February began Düsseldorf to Seville services. The route will be operated twice weekly until W20 on Tuesdays and Saturdays with an A320. According to OAG Schedules Analyser, the route was previously unserved, with 10,000 estimated indirect passengers in 2019.

Lufthansa has announced the launch of Calgary from Frankfurt. It will be operated from 1 June in partnership with Eurowings and within the ‘A++’ North Atlantic joint venture which includes Lufthansa Group, Air Canada, and United Airlines. This is the fifth Canadian city served by Lufthansa, with the carrier currently offering Ottawa, Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver flights from Frankfurt, and Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver from Munich. It is estimated that more than 87,000 passengers flew between Frankfurt and Calgary last year.  

Source: OAG Traffic Analyser. One-way passengers Frankfurt to Calgary.

Following on from Air France’s S20 schedule announcementsubsidiary Transavia France has announced 12 seasonal routes. Transavia France will now offer a total of 445,000 France – Algeria seats in S20, according to the airline.

Origin Destination Start date Weekly frequency Competition (weekly frequency)
Paris Orly Algiers 04 April 14 Air Algerie (25), Air France* (14)
Bejaia 04 April 3 Air Algerie (6)
Constantine 04 April 3 Air Algerie (3)
Oran 04 April 6 Air Algerie (7)
Setif 04 April 2 Air Algerie (4)
Tlemcen 11 April 2 Air Algerie (4)
Lyon Bejaia 22 April 1 Air Algerie (2)
Constantine 26 April 1 Air Algerie (4)
Oran 21 April 2 Air Algerie (5)
Montpellier Algiers 08 July 2 Air Algerie (3)
Constantine 11 July 2  
Oran 06 July 2 Air Algerie (3)
Source: Groupe Air France; OAG Schedules Analyser *Air France is a Transavia parent.

Sharm el Sheikh airport celebrated the return of UK flights on 16 February, after the UK government flight ban was lifted. TUI Airways was the first operator to return, to be followed by Egyptair on 29 February. Both will operate from London Gatwick, with easyJet returning on 07 June from Manchester.

  • TUI Airways relaunched London Gatwick to Sharm el Sheikh flights on 16 February. The twice-weekly service will be operated on Wednesdays and Sundays. These are the first UK – Sharm el Sheikh services since travel restrictions were imposed after the bombing of a MetroJet flight in November 2015. Such restrictions triggered a 99% drop in traffic between the UK and Sharm el Sheikh, from over 1.18 million annual passengers in 2015 to just 28,500 indirect passengers in 2016, mainly connecting via Cairo and Istanbul. According to OAG Schedules Analyser, Egyptair is also set to resume services on 29 February.

Virgin Atlantic has today announced a new service from Manchester to Delhi.  Starting 26 October, it’ll operate three-weekly with an A330-200 on the following schedule:

  • Manchester – Delhi on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturday: 1640-0605+1 
  • Delhi – Manchester on Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays: 0810-1210

This airport-pair has not been served in the past decade, but it has total point-to-point demand of about 61,000. Given its outbound schedule from Manchester, no US airport connects on a two-way basis with competitive transit times. However, various regional cities should connect once Virgin Connect is operational.

Virgin has been focusing on India in recent years, with a second-daily London Heathrow – Delhi service from this April and a new London Heathrow – Mumbai operation from last October. Manchester – Mumbai remains a slightly larger unserved market than Manchester – Delhi.


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