Route launches and new route announcements (26 June – 6 July)
Budapest to Abu Dhabi
Wizz Air on 1 July began Abu Dhabi from Budapest and Bucharest, both using A320s.
These will be joined by routes to Cluj-Napoca, Katowice, and Sofia in September.
All five routes are also served from Dubai Al Maktoum, with both Abu Dhabi and Al Maktoum available for booking.
Wizz Air’s first steps at the UAE capital
This is the start of Wizz Air’s big plans for Abu Dhabi and the wider region.
While Wizz Air itself will, at least for now, operate routes from the UAE capital, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi was designated a national airline of the country late last month.
József Váradi, Wizz Air’s CEO, said recently: “If you look at what we’ve been able to achieve in the EU, we managed to grow our fleet to 100 aircraft over the last 15 years and we should be able to do the same thing in Abu Dhabi.”
Khalil Lamrabet, SVP of Aviation Development at Abu Dhabi, said: “The arrival of Wizz Air is a testament to the strength of the Abu Dhabi market and a reflection of the success of our investments in transforming Abu Dhabi International Airport into a strategically positioned global hub for airlines from across the world.”
Volotea opens Naples base with two A319s
Volotea on 3 July opened its Naples base, becoming the airline’s sixth base in Italy.
The carrier has served the Southern Italy city since 2013, ending last year with 460,000 seats.
Volotea served 20 Italian airports last year, of which Naples was its second-largest by seats, OAG Schedules Analyser shows. But it was not a base.
With two based 156-seat A319s, Volotea will operate 17 routes from Naples this summer, all domestically and to Greece. Palermo is most-served, with a twice-daily service, while Catania has 11-weekly.
For summer 2021, new Volotea routes will operate from Naples to Alicante, Bilbao, Bordeaux, Marseille, and Nantes.
Transavia France takes off from Montpellier with new base and routes
Both destinations are served twice-weekly.
Transavia France’s fourth base in France
Montpellier is Transavia France’s fourth base in the country, and it was due to open in April – but its launch was understandably pushed back given coronavirus.
This summer, Transavia France will base two B737-800s at Montpellier Méditerranée. Because of coronavirus, the carrier will initially operate 15 routes this summer – down from the planned 20.
Route launches and new route announcements (A – Z by airline name)
Air Albania will begin London Stansted on 26 July, becoming the carrier’s eighth destination from Tirana.
According to Air Albania’s website, the 1,882-kilometre service will operate once-weekly, although it appears that a second-weekly service may well exist – but just not yet available for sale.
Air Albania’s entrance will mean five airlines operate non-stop between the Albanian and UK capitals, with four London airports served.
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency||Direct competition (weekly frequency)*||Indirect competition (weekly frequency)*|
|Tirana – London Stansted||26 July||1 or 2||Albawings (4)**||British Airways: Heathrow (3)***; easyJet: Gatwick (3); Wizz Air: Luton (7)|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser and each airline’s website. * Based on the same week as Air Albania begins. ** See below. *** Given coronavirus. It is unclear whether it will return to Gatwick.|
Albawings not currently operating
Albawings has operated a summer-seasonal Tirana – Stansted service since 2018. It was due to operate between June and October this year, OAG Schedules data shows, but it is temporarily unavailable for booking according to its website.
Is this the gap that Air Albania is exploiting?
Albawings operated four-weekly in mid-August 2018, thrice-weekly in mid-August 2019, and was scheduled to operate four-weekly in the same week this year. It is presumed that it will return next summer.
Tirana – London had 251,000 seats last year
Just over 251,000 seats were available between Tirana and London last year, up 39% YOY as a result of growth by British Airways and Wizz Air.
Tirana – London has been tumultuous. In 2010, British Airways served Gatwick and Albanian Airlines Stansted, with Belle Air joining the fray to Stansted the following year as Albanian Airlines exited.
After Belle Air’s end, British Airways was the sole operator for about four years, with Wizz Air starting in April 2018 and Albawings the following year.
Significantly, easyJet’s first flight from Gatwick to Tirana takes off later this month, on 29 July.
Strong SLFs, even for BA
UK CAA data shows that British Airways had a 91% seat load factor between Gatwick and Tirana last year, while Wizz Air had 95% to/from Luton.
Albawings’ Stansted achieved a very low SLF of 56%, although this was its first season. It was the result of 15,547 passengers and 27,540 seats.
Despite a range of non-stop airlines, an estimated 25,000 flew indirectly between the two cities last year, OAG Traffic Analyser indicates.
American Airlines is to begin Seattle – Shanghai Pudong, subject to government approval.
Shanghai is the largest Chinese market from the Washington state airport.
Over 261,000 seats were available between the two airports last year, OAG Schedules Analyser shows, up a strong 16% YOY.
Comes from American Airlines ending or not starting 19 long-haul routes
Seattle – Shanghai comes as American Airlines reveals that 19 long-haul routes will cease or not begin from its Charlotte, Chicago ORD, Dallas DFW, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia hubs. These include Los Angeles – Shanghai Pudong.
The plan is to serve Shanghai Pudong from Seattle instead, with Alaska Airlines providing strong feed over Seattle.
Shanghai will join American’s two other new routes from the Washington airport, Bangalore and London Heathrow, with the launch of both happening next year.
Seattle – Shanghai had 43% of Seattle – China capacity
Seattle – China seat capacity totalled 608,000 last year, down 1.6% YOY. This volume was across routes to Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, with the decline mainly from Xiamen Airlines ending its Shenzhen service last September.
Shanghai had a 43% share of this 608,000.
Delta had a 51% share of Seattle – China seats last year, up from 47% YOY.
American would be the third airline on airport-pair
American Airlines would compete directly with both Delta and Hainan Airlines. Delta began Seattle – Shanghai Pudong in 2013, while Hainan started it in 2015.
Later this year, depending on coronavirus, Delta will offer a daily service alongside Hainan’s three-weekly operation.
Danish Air Transport (DAT) on 2 July began its new route from Aarhus to the Danish island of Bornholm.
Operating three-weekly, the 295-kilometre service is operated by both ATR-42s and ATR-72s.
The service will operate until 9 August; not a long season, but for the real summer peak.
Bornholm is DAT’s second-largest airport by seats this year, OAG Schedules data indicates.
Eastern Airways on 6 July began its Teesside – London City service using a 50-seat Saab 2000.
This new route joins the carrier’s first Teesside – Newquay flight later the same day.
Based on the week starting 13 July, Eastern Airways will serve London City eight-weekly: once-daily on Mondays and Fridays, and twice-daily Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
London day trips will be available Tuesdays to Thursdays, arriving in the capital at 0840 and leaving at 1805.
It is the first time in more than a decade that Teesside has been connected by air to London.
Richard Hill, Chief Commercial Officer at London City Airport, said: “This route to Teesside is further evidence that London City is best positioned to connect the capital to UK regions. The team at Teesside have been brilliant partners and we look forward to working with them to promote this service as the best way to do business in London and quickest, and most cost-effective, way to discover the tourism gems of Yorkshire and the North-East.”
These are the carrier’s 12th and 13th routes from the Hungarian capital, and are unconnected to the carrier’s 85 new routes for this summer.
Balázs Bogáts, Head of Airline Development, Budapest Airport, said: “LOT’s partnership with Budapest Airport continues to drive forward and our dedicated work with the airline has come to fruition.”
“Both new destinations and schedules are perfect for week-long holidays to the idyllic coastal resorts and welcome returns to our route map,” added Bogáts.
Luxair on 27 June began its new Luxembourg – Montpellier Méditerranée service, celebrated in fantastic style. It is great to see a new route celebration at any time – and particularly so during coronavirus.
Operating twice-weekly, the service was originally to begin in April.
Using 76-seat Dash-8-400s, the carrier is the only operator on the 698-kilometre route – which will run until 7 November.
Montpellier Méditerranée is one of six new routes Luxair is starting this summer, the others being Bordeaux, Innsbruck, Manchester, Marseille, Salzburg, and Valencia.
Corendon Airlines has begun two new routes to Turkey from Münster/Osnabrück:
- a 2,189-kilometre, once-weekly service to Zongdulak (on 28 June)
- a 2,608-kilometre, once-weekly service to Kayseri (30 June)
Both are for Turkish VFR reasons, with North Rhine-Westphalia, the state in which Münster/Osnabrück is located, having over 500,000 Turks.
Münster/Osnabrück: one of only three destinations from Zonguldak
Corendon’s new Münster/Osnabrück – Zongdulak is one of just three routes from Turkish city, the others being Istanbul Turkish Airlines) and Cologne (also Corendon).
Zongdulak is located near the Black Sea, some 328 kilometres from Istanbul and 269 kilometres from Ankara.
Previously, Germania served Zongdulak from Düsseldorf and Dortmund, while Atlasglobal operated Düsseldorf – Zonguldak last year.
Kayseri has 16 routes to Europe this year
Münster/Osnabrück – Kayseri has been previously operated by Germania (2017) and SunExpress (2018 and 2019), OAG Schedules data shows. Corendon’s new service will reconnect the two airports.
In addition to Münster/Osnabrück, Kayseri has eight routes to Germany this year of a total of 15 other routes across Europe.
Kayseri has the sixth-largest amount of seats of all 22 Turkish airports to Germany.
Kayseri has 16 routes to Europe this year
On 26 June, Münster/Osnabrück welcomed back Corendon-based aircraft.
Corendon bases one B737-800 at the airport – as well as using non-based aircraft – and its full summer 2020 schedule involves 12 leisure and VFR routes:
|Source: Münster/Osnabrück International Airport. *This frequency list is Corendon’s full schedule for S20. The return of Antalya and Hurghada is subject to the removal of the travel ban.|
The Tunisian carrier, Nouvelair, began Tunis – Brussels on 1 July, with this service operating twice-weekly.
This is Nouvelair’s first scheduled route to Brussels, with the airline previously serving the Belgian airport on a charter basis.
Nouvelair will begin its second new route from Brussels, to the holiday hotspot of Djerba, on 30 July; it’ll operate once-weekly.
The reason for these is clear: Wizz Air recently announced these three from its new Larnaca base.
At 2,875 kilometres, Paphos – Eindhoven will be among Ryanair’s longest routes, occupying an aircraft for almost nine hours. Return base fares are currently available from €39.98 – or €31.18 with Wizz Air.
On Prague – Kosice, Ryanair will compete directly with a four-weekly, ATR-72-operated service.
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency||Direct competition* (weekly frequency)||Indirect competition*
|Paphos – Eindhoven||3 August||2||None||Transavia: Paphos – Amsterdam (4); TUI: Paphos – Amsterdam (1); Wizz Air: Larnaca – Eindhoven (3); 1 August|
|Paphos – Gdansk||2 August||2||None||Wizz Air: Larnaca – Gdansk (2); 2 August|
|Paphos – Prague||1 August||2||None||Smartwings: Larnaca (4); Wizz Air: Larnaca (2); 1 August|
|Prague -Kosice||3 August||2||Czech Airlines (4)||None|
|Source: OAG Schedules Analyser and each airline’s website. *Based on the same week as Ryanair begins. Larnaca is included here as indirect competition to show Ryanair’s competition with Wizz Air. Amsterdam – Larnaca options excluded here.|
Volotea on 5 July began its next route from Montpellier Méditerranée: Figari, Corsica.
The carrier’s 481-kilometre service operates up to twice-weekly, on weekends, using 156-seat A319s. It’ll end for the season on 1 November.
Figari is Volotea’s third route from Montpellier Méditerranée to Corsica (Ajaccio, Bastia, Figari), and its seventh route overall from Montpellier (as above, plus Brest, Lille, Nantes, Strasbourg).
On 1 July, Wizz Air inaugurated new bases at Larnaca, Lviv, and Tirana.
Wizz Air started its new Larnaca base with two aircraft, with its third arriving soon.
Including new and existing routes, this year Wizz Air will serve 36 destinations from Larnaca.
Wizz Air on 1 July began a year-round service from Vienna to Burgas, on the Black Sea coast, using its 230-seat A321s.
Operating twice-weekly, Wizz Air’s new route will compete directly with a twice-weekly service by Ryanair/Lauda, although the airlines will each operate on different days.
Vienna is one of five Wizz Air routes from Burgas this year, the others being Budapest, Katowice, Luton, and Warsaw.
Despite only starting at Vienna in 2018, Austria’s capital is now Wizz Air’s fourth-largest airport by seats, OAG Schedules data shows, surpassing Warsaw.