Latest route launches (14 – 20 January)

Abu Dhabi to Athens

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi launches ops with Athens service (2)

Abu Dhabi to Athens took off on 15 January, marking the start of operations for Wizz Air Abu Dhabi.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi launched operations on 15 January after its first route – to Athens – took off.

Athens is one of 13 initial destinations from the UAE capital, although not all routes will use Wizz Air Abu Dhabi aircraft.  All routes that do, including Athens, will be served by 239-seat A321neos.

Initially served twice-weekly, the 3,266-kilometre service to Athens will rise to three-weekly from mid-February.  The sector to the Greek capital has a block time of five hours and 45 minutes, while it’s four hours and forty minutes back. 

There were almost 184,000 two-way seats between Abu Dhabi and Athens in 2019, OAG data shows, the highest ever.  Over 589,000 were offered from all of UAE to Athens in that year.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi will compete directly with Etihad from February, at first on a twice-weekly basis before ramping up to once-daily from the start of summer.

Kees Van Schaick, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, said: “Our network from Abu Dhabi will expand rapidly as destinations on our planned network are added to the ‘green countries’ list.  Thanks to the support of the government and our local business partners in Abu Dhabi, we are fully prepared.  We have the aircraft, we have the crew, we have the partners, and we are ready to fly.”

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi launches ops with Athens service (3)

Athens was Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s first route, with its second, Thessaloniki, starting on 4 February.

Hyderabad to Chicago

Air India begins first non-stop between Hyderabad and Chicago

In an auspicious lamp lighting ceremony at the gate for Air India’s first non-stop service from Hyderabad to Chicago were, from left to right, Mr. SGK Kishore, Executive Director, GMR Airports; Mr. Pradeep Panicker, CEO, Hyderabad International Airport; Ms. Divya Mohan, Executive Director, Customer Services, Air India; Ms. Bhuvana Rao, General Manager,  Commercial, Air India; and Mr. Ashish Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer, Hyderabad International Airport.

Air India began the first-ever non-stop service between Hyderabad and Chicago on 15 January.  It took off from Chicago two days earlier.

The 13,299-kilometre service is operated once-weekly using 238-seat B777-200LRs.  It is bookable until the end of the summer season.

AI108 leaves Chicago on Wednesdays at 2130 and arrives into Hyderabad two days later at 0040.  AI107 then departs Hyderabad on Fridays at 1250, touching down in the US at 1805.

Air India’s Hyderabad service routes Delhi – Chicago – Hyderabad – Chicago – Delhi.   

Round-trip P2P demand amounted to 101,000 between Hyderabad and Chicago in 2019, booking data obtained via OAG Traffic Analyser shows. 

On an airport-pair basis, Chicago was almost neck-and-neck with San Francisco as Hyderabad’s top US market.  On a city basis, New York is, of course, largest.

Air India begins first non-stop between Hyderabad and Chicago

Air India’s new route means that the carrier has eight non-stop services to the US this winter, up from five last winter.


Latest route launches 

Pacific Coastal begins Vancouver to Penticton, British Colombia

Jonathan Richardson, left, Pacific Coastal’s Vice President of Commercial Services, joins Penticton’s Mayor, John Vassilaki, in welcoming the carrier’s new route from Vancouver.  It initially operates four-weekly and will rise to six-weekly from 1 March.

Canada’s Pacific Coastal began Vancouver to Penticton on 11 January, with Penticton around 63 kilometres due south of Kelowna.

Pacific Coastal operates the 262-kilometre route four-weekly using 19-seat Beech 1900s.  It’ll rise to six-weekly – no Saturday service – from 1 March.  Interestingly, the block time is 50 minutes, with the flight time thus far varying between 44 and 57 minutes to Penticton.

The regional carrier presently has no direct competition, probably hence the appeal of the route.  However, it’ll face Air Canada from 12 April when it resumes service; it has operated it for years and had 135,000 seats on it in 2019, OAG data shows.  Air Canada will operate 19-weekly using Jazz Dash-8-400s.

Penticton is one of 16 destinations within British Colombia that Pacific Coastal will serve on a scheduled basis from Vancouver this year, its website shows.

“The arrival of Pacific Coastal Airlines marks a great start for the year, both for our airport and our community,” said Penticton Mayor, John Vassilaki.

“Whether it’s for essential service passage during the pandemic, the transport of needed cargo, or access to medical appointments in the lower mainland, air travel to and from Penticton remains a key link to other parts of the province so I’m pleased to see Pacific Coastal Airlines here today supporting our community in maintaining that linkage.”

Air Canada takes off from Montreal to Bogota

Air Canada now has two routes to Bogota. This water arch, while failing on one side, is still welcome.

Air Canada inaugurated Montreal to Bogota on 16 January, the only carrier in the market.

The 4,517-kilometre service currently operates once-weekly using B787-9s, but it’ll increase to three-weekly from 30 March.

Montreal to Bogota had around 37,000 P2P round-trip passengers in 2019, of which Air Canada itself had around 60% over Toronto.

Montreal to all of Colombia had around 67,000 passengers, while all of Colombia to Canada had approximately one-quarter of a million.

Air Canada’s new Montreal route joins its long-standing Toronto service.  This currently operates three-weekly and will rise to five-weekly from the beginning of summer.

The network airline’s new route means that Bogota will now have 12 routes to North America, OAG shows, with 27 from the whole of the South American country.



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