New airline routes (20 – 31 March)

Brisbane to Europe

Qatar Airways launches Brisbane to repatriate passengers

Qatar Airways has begun a temporary Brisbane service, enabled by the loosening of the strict Australia-Qatar bilateral, to repatriate passengers and continue the flow of freight. The carrier’s Australia seats passed 1.8 million in 2019, up 700,000 in two years, from the launch of Adelaide (2016) and Canberra (2018, via Sydney to have a second-daily Sydney service under the ASA).

Qatar Airways began its next Australian city – Brisbane – on 29 March. The service, which operates daily by the B777-300ER, is temporary as it’s all about repatriating passengers as well as ensuring freight continues.  It will end on 17 April. 

The 7,661-mile flight leaves Doha at 2110 and arrives at Brisbane at 1720 the next day.  Returning, it departs Brisbane at 2120 and arrive Doha at 0520 the following morning. Carl Jones, Head of Aviation Development, Brisbane Airport Corporation, said: “We are working closely with Qatar Airways to support this crucial initiative.”

745,000 flew Brisbane to/from Europe last year

An estimated 943,000 flew Brisbane to/from Europe, Middle East, and Africa last year, according to MIDT data via OAG Traffic Analyser.  Of these, 745,000 flew to/from Europe. With 241,000 passengers, London was, of course, by far the most-demanded market, followed by Manchester (47,000), Paris (35,000), Rome (30,000), and Amsterdam (27,000).  Emirates was by far the leading operator, but its system-wide suspension of services – plus that of others – enabled Qatar Airways to enter.

Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, said: “We know there are many people who want to be with their families and loved ones during this difficult time.  We are thankful to the Australian Government [due to loosening the strict bilaterals at this time], airports, and staff for their support in helping us to add additional flights to get people home, and in particular, to bring flights to Brisbane.”


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

SAS to restart Lakslev after a 17-year gap

SAS is to begin a non-stop service between Oslo and Lakslev, the first time it has done so for 17 years.  The twice-weekly service, on Mondays and Fridays, takes off on 17 April.  Initially operated by Boeing 737-800s, it’ll transfer to A320neos from later this year.  The 791-mile route, to the north of Norway not far from the Finland border, is driven in part from demand from the nearby airbase.  In 2019, OAG Traffic Analyser shows that nearly 24,000 flew between with two, mainly connecting en route at Tromso.

SAS to restart Lakslev after a 17-year gap

SAS beginning this service comes as a result of Norwegian ending it.  Norwegian operated Oslo – Lakslev non-stop on a peak summer season basis, from June to August and normally around Christmastime, for many years.  It varied between once- and twice-weekly. 

UTAir announces Moscow Vnukovo to Split from June

With COVID-19 having an unpreceded – but temporary – impact on the industry, it is refreshing to hear positive stories.  UTair, the Russian carrier, has announced seasonal service from Moscow Vnukovo to Split, Croatia, using B737-800s.  The service, which will start on 2 June and run until late September, will operate on Tuesdays and Sundays. 

UTair will join Aeroflot as the only other operator from Moscow to Split, with Aeroflot operating daily from Sheremetyevo.   Commencing on UTair’s new service, the head of the Croatian Tourism Board, Kristjan Staničić, said, “This is an excellent opportunity for Dalmatia and the entire Croatian tourism sector in its positioning on an important market such as Russia.”


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