SKY express’ A320neos to transform company from 2021
SKY express’ newly delivered A320neo – and the remaining five that’ll be coming soon – will play a crucial role in the development of the company.
Because of this aircraft type, the carrier expects over 3.4 million seats in 2021 – up by 85% over pre-coronavirus 2019. Almost 1.4 million will be by its A320s.
SKY express’ A320s will change the carrier’s development by scale while cementing and expanding its domestic network. It’ll focus more than ever on core intra-Greece routes, with new routes from Athens to Thessaloniki and Rhodes and more.
It’ll also enable international growth – with its first four routes announced and analysed later in this article.
Is the airline’s move into trunk domestic routes and international operations with A320neos an inevitable extension of its strategy? Vote at the end of the article!
SKY express begins Athens to Thessaloniki, a new route
Athens to Thessaloniki – a new route for SKY express – was the airline’s first scheduled A320 route. While it took off, as expected, on 14 December, it’ll initially operate once-daily versus the planned multi-daily, before ramping up in the coming weeks.
SKY express operated multiple ‘special’ flights before the 14 December. Athens – Heraklion was the initial route, with two return trips on both 8 and 9 December. It then had one flight to each of Heraklion, Chania, and Mytilene two days later, with Corfu and Kos following later in the week.
Come the first week of S21, OAG data shows that the carrier’s A320neo network is scheduled to comprise 33 weekly flights each way from Athens to Thessaloniki, 21 to Larnaca (starting 22 February), and 20 to Rhodes (starting 31 March).
In addition, there will be a once-daily Thessaloniki to Heraklion service – another new route for the carrier (starting 6 January).
First A320 international routes announced
SKY express has revealed its first four international routes – all to be operated by its A320neos.
Athens to Larnaca will be the first to begin and will have an initial 14-weekly service. This later increases to 21-weekly.
Although likely to change, Athens – Larnaca is currently estimated to have 926,000 seats in 2021, one of the lowest volumes in the past decade and down from a high of over 1.3 million in 2018.
This is partly driven by the end of Blue Air on it; in 2019, it had 260,000 seats. This is the gap that SKY express sees, so its reasonably high frequencies.
Come the first week of S21, there will 75 weekly frequencies to Larnaca: Aegean (42); SKY express (21); and Wizz Air (12). This is up from 66 in the same week in pre-coronavirus 2019. Cyprus Airways is currently unavailable to book.
Wizz Air began Dortmund – Heraklion on a three-weekly basis in August 2020. It was one of multiple new routes from its new base at the German airport. However, it appears that the route no longer operates, and it is not bookable for S21, so the gap that SKY express will fill.
|Routing||Start date||Weekly frequency: in week it begins||Direct competition (WF): in week SKY express begins||Indirect competition (WF): in week SKY express begins|
|Athens – Larnaca||22 February||14||Aegean (19); Cyprus Airways (7); Wizz Air (4)||None|
|Athens – Paris CDG||17 April||1||Air France (29); Aegean (21)||Transavia: Paris Orly (14)|
|Heraklion – Dortmund||4 May||2||None||Eurowings: Düsseldorf (4); Condor: Düsseldorf (4); TUI Deutschland: Cologne (4); Eurowings: Cologne (3); TUI Deutschland: Düsseldorf (1):|
|Heraklion – Hamburg||4 May||2||Condor (4); Eurowings (4); TUI Deutschland (1)||None|
|Source: airline websites and OAG Schedules Analyser. Note: SKY express’ Paris CDG schedule may not be finalised as it is currently appearing as once-weekly to CDG but none from CDG. All subject to change given coronavirus.|