Route launches and new route announcements (18 – 25 June)
Baltimore to Minneapolis
On 25 June, Sun Country joined Baltimore’s ranks with a new service from Minneapolis. It wins Route of the Week.
The 1,507-kilometre service will ordinarily operate four-weekly, although it does vary depending on the specific week. The operation ends for the winter on 14 December.
Almost 700,000 seats last year, a good CAGR of 8% since 2010
Minneapolis – Baltimore had 691,000 seats last year, OAG Schedules data indicates, with Delta, Southwest, and Spirit all competing. These 691,000 were up 8% YOY, mainly from Spirit adding over 41,000 additional seats.
Based on the week starting 13 August 2020, 34 weekly frequencies will be offered between the two, down nine from the same week last year because of coronavirus. Delta will offer 14-weekly, Southwest and Spirit daily, and Sun Country four-weekly.
Ricky Smith, Executive Director of Baltimore, said: “We’re excited to add another great airline to serve our passengers. The added flights affirm that our airport and our region remain very attractive for airline service. Sun Country is a growing airline that offers our customers more travel options, excellent service, and low fares.”
This week’s new route announcements
Now, the carrier has revealed that it will add another A320 there from 1 August and begin five additional routes. Athens will also be increased to 12-weekly.
With this development, Wizz Air will now have 36 routes from the Cypriot airport.
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency||
Direct competition* (weekly frequency)
|Indirect competition* (weekly frequency)|
|Larnaca – Eindhoven||1 August||3||None||Transavia: Amsterdam (3)|
|Larnaca – Gdansk||2 August||2||None||None|
|Larnaca – Heraklion||3 August||3||Olympic Air (4), Cyprus Airways (2)||None|
|Larnaca – Paris Beauvais||2 August||4||None||None|
|Larnaca – Prague||1 August||2||Smartwings (4)||None|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser and each airline’s website. *From Larnaca. Based on the week that Wizz Air will start operating.|
Beauvais stands out – fills missing Paris link
Paris Beauvais stands out, both because Paris is unserved from Cyprus on a scheduled basis and because Paris, and France generally, seems to have been challenging from Cyprus.
There has been no scheduled service between Cyprus and France since 2018, when Colbalt operated up to three-weekly services between Larnaca and Paris CDG using A320s.
Last year, almost 70,000 flew indirectly between Paris and Larnaca, OAG Traffic Analyser data shows, by far the leading unserved European market from Larnaca. It was obviously in need of non-stop service – even before demand stimulation is considered.
Wizz Air’s recent growth the result of redistributing aircraft
Wizz’s very strong ‘growth’ recently has been the result of cutting aircraft from existing bases and redistributing them.
This is therefore not necessarily ‘real’ growth in the sense of absolute aircraft numbers or perhaps even the number of routes or passenger volume.
But it is growth in a network breadth sense, given it now focuses more than ever on flights not touching Central and Eastern Europe.
Tayaranjet is to begin four domestic routes this summer from three Sicily airports: Catania, Comiso, and Palermo. This explains why the carrier’s summer 2020 campaign revolves around what it calls “Flights to every corner of Sicily.”
All services will be operated by 148-seat B737-300s. All but one route will be in direct competition with Ryanair.
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency||Direct competition* (weekly frequency)|
|Catania – Bologna||20 July||7||Ryanair (7)|
|Catania – Rome FCO||20 July||7||Alitalia (35), Ryanair (7)|
|Comiso – Bologna||21 July||2||None|
|Palermo – Bologna||2 August||5||Ryanair (10)|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser and each airline’s website. *Based on the same week that Tayaranjet begins. Note: frequencies down versus normal times.|
Last year, Catania – Bologna had almost 490,000 seats, Catania – Rome FCO 2.3 million, and Palermo – Bologna 265,000.
In the last week of July 2019, OAG Schedules data shows that these routes – the three that were served – had a combined 174 weekly frequencies:
- Catania – Bologna: 28 weekly across Alitalia and Ryanair
- Catania – Rome FCO: 132 weekly across Alitalia, Ryanair, and Vueling
- Palermo – Bologna: 14 weekly with Ryanair
In the same week this year, only 73 will be operated because of coronavirus. Frequencies do, of course, begin to pick up from August and September.
It’s this (temporary) gap – down 14 daily flights – that Tayaranjet seems to be trying to fill.
Widerøe, the Norwegian regional airline, is to begin a brand-new route – Bergen to London Southend – from 31 August.
The 1,011-kilometre service, which will have no direct competition, will operate on Mondays and Fridays using the carrier’s 114-seat E190s.
A turbulent few years, but clear market gap
As a city-pair, Bergen – London has had a turbulent few years.
It had almost 293,000 seats last year, up 16% YOY. This growth was the result of Wizz Air entering with a twice-weekly Luton service in July, complementing Norwegian’s long-standing Gatwick operation.
Yet, Wizz Air has now ended Luton – Bergen, so the opening that Widerøe saw for a new London service.
Bergen – London weekly frequencies almost halved
It’s notable that Bergen – London’s 293,000 seats last year were down by over 179,000 seats from a high of 472,000 in 2013. In 2013, British Airways served Bergen from Heathrow and easyJet from Gatwick, together with Norwegian from Gatwick.
In the week beginning 31 August 2013, 33 weekly frequencies were available, down to 17 in the same week last year, OAG Schedules data shows. This year, airline websites show it’ll be 13 weekly.
Where’s next from Norway to London?
Of unserved destinations, Alesund had 17,000 passengers last year, according to OAG Traffic Analyser, while Haugesund had 15,000 – both with good pre-stimulation volumes.
Ryanair operated Stansted – Haugesund until October 2015.
Air Serbia has added Belgrade to Oslo, with its first flight taking off on 16 July.
This comes a week after Wizz Air announced its new Belgrade routes, including to Oslo Torp, which will start two days after Air Serbia’s new service.
And it follows Norwegian’s lower-than-usual frequency before it is ramped up from October.
Last year, Belgrade – Oslo had around 50,000 two-way point-to-point passengers, including about 7,000 flying indirectly. Only Norwegian flew non-stop.
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency||Direct competition (weekly frequency)*||Indirect competition (weekly frequency)*|
|Belgrade – Oslo||16 July||2||Norwegian (1)**||Wizz Air: Torp (2)|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser and each airline’s website. * Based on the same week as Air Serbia begins. **Norwegian’s once-weekly offering increases to four-weekly from October.|
Air Serbia’s new Oslo service will be operated by 144-seat A319s.
Given this route’s timings, OAG Connections Analyser shows that two-way connectivity over Belgrade, with competitive connecting times, will be available to the following eight destinations, which collectively had around 95,000 passengers to/from Oslo last year.
Luxair has announced a summer-only operation between Luxembourg and Valencia, with the first flight departing on 20 July.
This follows five other new routes disclosed by the carrier in the past month for this summer: Manchester, Bordeaux, Innsbruck, Marseille, and Salzburg. (Manchester’s start has been pushed back from 29 June until this September.)
Valencia had 5,000 passengers last year; Luxair to serve it twice-weekly
OAG Traffic Analyser shows that around 5,000 flew between the Luxembourg and Valencia last year. Luxair’s new service will be operated twice-weekly, on Mondays and Fridays, until 23 October.
At 1,252 kilometres and with a block time of 2h 30m in both directions, Luxembourg – Valencia will be one of the longer sectors for the Dash-8-400.
Spain doesn’t feature in Luxair’s top-five routes, but is key
Luxair had 2.9 million seats last year, flat YOY. Its top routes, by seats, were London City, Paris CDG, Vienna, Munich, and Milan Malpensa.
Despite Spain not featuring in its top-five destinations, the country is important country for the airline, with around 17% of its total seats last year across 12 routes. Palma was Luxair’s top Spanish destination, and Mahon its least.
Where’s next for Luxair?
Other new destinations are possible for Luxair, and its Dash-8-400s, on a summer-seasonal, low-frequency basis. These include Krakow (9,000 indirect passengers last year, using OAG Traffic Analyser), Bilbao (7,000), and Bologna (6,000).
FlyPelican, a regional airline in Australia, is to begin a new service from Canberra to Ballina, in the far northeast of New South Wales.
This is driven by tourism, with Ballina the gateway airport to the famous Byron Bay.
Taking off on 3 July, 19-seat Jetstream 31s will ply the route on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
With a block time of 2h 20m to cover the 828-kilometre route, this is very long for Jetstream 31s.
FlyPelican’s 2020 network comprises eight routes, as follows, with Newcastle – Canberra by far its most significant route by seats.
Head of Aviation at Canberra Airport, Michael Thomson, said: “After months of disruption to the aviation and tourism industry, the Canberra-to-Ballina flight link will bring a much-needed boost to the local economies of both our regions. Domestic travel is slowly getting back to normal and Canberra Airport is determined to facilitate the recovery.”
“FlyPelican has been a long-time partner of Canberra Airport and we’re delighted to begin a new partnership with the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, so we can continue to bring a wider travel offering to Canberra.”
Alliance Airlines is to begin a leisure-orientated service from Cairns to the Sunshine Coast, a popular area 108 kilometres north of Brisbane Airport.
The 1,318-kilometre service will take off on 17 July and operate on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays. It’ll link two important locations within Queensland, known as the Sunshine State, with the state key for Australia’s tourism.
Until now, passengers travelling between Cairns and the Sunshine Coast had to travel to/from Brisbane, with Brisbane – Cairns having over 1.6 million seats last year with up to 103 weekly services.
Alliance’s new independent leisure operation is in direct contrast to its usual business: fly-in, fly-out services for the mining industry, together with operating on behalf of Virgin Australia.
Cairns Airport CEO, Norris Carter, said: “Research has shown there is significant demand for travellers from the Sunshine Coast region to visit Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. These new flights will make it easier for Queenslanders at both ends of the route to discover more of Queensland.”
Sunshine Coast opened new runway last week
Alliance currently operates a once-weekly mining charter, for Glencore, routing Brisbane – Sunshine Coast – Emerald and back using Fokker 100s.
The carrier’s new Cairns service was announced shortly after Sunshine Coast opened its longer and wider runway on 14 June.
Sunshine Coast had just over 1.5 million seats last year, up almost 4% YOY, mainly from Qantas growth to/from Sydney.
Jetstar is by far the largest carrier, with 56% of Sunshine Coast’s seats last year.