Route launches (27 August – 3 September)
Belfast City to Edinburgh
Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air, today (27 August) inaugurated its new Belfast City base.
Following the end of flybe, Aer Lingus Regional is to begin six routes from Northern Ireland’s downtown airport: Birmingham; East Midlands; Edinburgh; Exeter; Leeds Bradford; and Manchester.
Today, its first route – to Edinburgh – took off using a 72-seat ATR-72-600.
The route, which has no direct competition but indirect competition with easyJet from Belfast International, will increase to 20-weekly later this year, enabling day trips in both directions.
Katy Best, Commercial Director at Belfast City Airport, said: “Edinburgh has always been a very popular route from Belfast City, and we are delighted Aer Lingus Regional has re-established this service since it was left vacant by Flybe.”
Bergen to London Southend
Widerøe launched Bergen – London Southend on 31 August, with Southend a new airport in its network.
The 1,011-kilometre service operates twice-weekly using 114-seat Embraer 190-E2s.
Widerøe began serving London in 2018 with a service between Kristiansand and Stansted. However, it has consolidated at Southend, with Kristiansand joining Bergen in October.
London – Bergen has seen many ups-and-downs in recent years, with the city-pair having 292,000 two-way seats last year – down from a high of 471,000 in 2013.
Now, only Widerøe and Norwegian (to Gatwick) serve Bergen, the latter twice-weekly but rising to 11 weekly next month.
Speaking of the new Bergen – Southend, Glyn Jones, CEO of Stobart Aviation, said: “At a difficult time for aviation the new route demonstrates confidence in the airport, and the interest people have to returning to fly to locations that continue to have low coronavirus incident rates.”
Route launches (A – Z by airline name)
Alaska began its new Spokane – San Jose, CA, service on 1 September.
The daily operation, using 76-seat Embraer 175s by Horizon Air, covers 1,195 kilometres.
Alaska will compete directly on this airport-pair with Southwest when the airline resumes it in November after a half-year coronavirus hiatus. Southwest began the route back in 2018.
When it returns, it will also be once-daily.
Bay Area hit high two years ago, but will be overtaken
Spokane – Bay Area had 379,000 seats last year across all three airports, OAG data indicates. This was down 9% YOY from the high of 2018, primarily from San Francisco’s decline.
Alaska launched a twice-daily Spokane – San Francisco offering on 19 March this year as a result of SFO’s decrease. However, it currently operates daily before its full schedule restarts later this year.
This coming winter, Alaska will have eight routes from Spokane and 17 from San Jose.
Australia’s FlyPelican began its first Dubbo – Ballina service on 28 August.
The 608-kilometre route is operated on a three-weekly basis by its 19-seat Jetstream 31s with a 1h 45m block time.
Its aircraft and crew operate Ballina, gateway to the Byron Bay region, on a W basis to/from Newcastle, routing Newcastle – Ballina – Dubbo – Ballina – Newcastle.
In June, FlyPelican began Canberra – Ballina.