Routes In Brief: Rolling Daily Updates (W/C Dec. 4, 2023)
The latest airline route news, featuring network changes, schedule alterations, codeshares and interline agreements.
Japan Airlines has confirmed the launch date for its inaugural flights to Doha, Qatar. Service between Tokyo Haneda International Airport and Doha’s Hamad International Airport (DOH) will operate daily from March 31, 2024. Codeshare connections beyond DOH will be offered by Qatar Airways.
Jetstar has announced an increase to its New Zealand schedule, with nearly 150,000 more seats to be added across domestic and trans-Tasman routes in 2024. The LCC plans to begin ramping up services from March 31, with its New Zealand domestic network scheduled to reach up to 100% of pre-COVID levels from mid-year, and its trans-Tasman network operating almost 40% up on 2019. The changes include increasing Auckland-Christchurch to 39X-weekly; Auckland-Wellington to 30X-weekly; and Auckland-Queenstown to 3X-daily. “This significant capacity boost comes off the back of increased demand across our domestic and international networks this year, as Kiwis seek out more choice and affordable travel options,” Jetstar Head of New Zealand Shelley Musk says.
Ryanair plans to commence four routes from Teesside Airport, England, during the summer 2024 season. The ULCC will offer flights to Faro, Portugal, and Palma de Mallorca, Spain, twice a week from March 31. It will also serve Corfu, Greece, once a week from June 1.
Dominican Republic-based startup Arajet is boosting frequencies on two Ecuadorian routes from Santo Domingo. From June 21, 2024, service to Quito and Guayaquil will each double to 4X-weekly. “Arajet’s mission is to consolidate itself as the low-price airline preferred by Ecuadorians and all Latin Americans,” Arajet CCO Manuel Luna says.
Irish ULCC Ryanair is launching operations from Norwich Airport (NWI), England, for the first time. The airline will connect the city with three vacation destinations during the summer 2024 season, offering a combined 12 weekly arrivals and departures to Alicante in Spain, Faro in Portugal, and Malta. NWI will become the 22nd airport in the UK to be served by Ryanair. “We have worked productively with our new partners at Norwich Airport to agree terms which enable Ryanair to deliver this growth and investment for the region, and we look forward to further developing our partnership,” says Ryanair's Jade Kirwan, the airline's head of communications. NWI is served on a scheduled basis by three carriers at present, with KLM flying from Amsterdam, Loganair from Aberdeen, Scotland, and TUI Airways from Tenerife, Spain.
Etihad Airways is starting flights to Bali during the northern summer 2024 season. Operations from Abu Dhabi International Airport to the island’s Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS) will commence on April 23. Frequencies will be 4X-weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays aboard Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
JetBlue Airways has launched service between New York John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize. Service will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Michelle Kwan, U.S. ambassador to Belize, says the new flights will contribute to inbound tourism growth. “This year alone, already over 250,000 Americans and counting have passed through this airport, representing two-thirds of all overnight visitors to Belize,” she adds. JetBlue becomes the sole carrier to offer nonstop JFK-BZE flights.
Air Canada has announced new air-to-rail booking options for passengers to connect at European airports with four major passenger rail systems throughout Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland. Through the airline's partnership with Lufthansa Express Rail Product and new collaborations with AccesRail and WorldTicket, passengers can use a booking process to create a travel itinerary that connects their flight with trips on trains operated by France's TGV-SNCF Voyageurs, Germany's Deutsche Bahn, Swiss Federal Railways or ÖBB, the national railway of Austria.
Latvia’s airBaltic has added four new routes from its base at Tampere, Finland. The airline has launched 6X-weekly flights to Tallinn, Estonia; a 2X-weekly service to Tenerife, Spain; and a weekly route to Gran Canaria, Spain. Additionally, the airline’s first domestic route in Finland will start on Dec. 22, linking Tampere with Kittilä twice a week using Airbus A220-300s. Mari Nurminen, vice president for central and eastern airports and director of Tampere Airport, says: “These additions not only offer passengers enhanced travel options but also contribute significantly to improving Tampere's global connectivity. In particular, we take pride in being a part of airBaltic's first-ever connection within Finland, establishing a direct and convenient route from Tampere to Kittilä—just in time for the peak winter holiday season.”
Taiwanese carrier Starlux Airlines has confirmed that its first scheduled flights between Taipei and San Francisco will begin on Dec. 16. The airline will operate the 6,454-mi. (5,608-nm) route between Taipei Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and San Francisco International Airport three times per week using Airbus A350-900 aircraft. OAG Schedules Analyser data shows that Starlux will compete with EVA Airways’ 3X-daily service, United Airlines’ 2X-daily flights and China Airlines’ 9X-weekly operations.
Cyprus Airways is launching a new route to Brussels. Flights from Larnaca International Airport to Brussels Airport will be offered twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from Feb. 5, 2024, using Airbus A220s. Frequencies to the Belgian capital will rise to 3X-weekly during the northern summer 2024 season. “This marks a significant stride in enhancing connectivity between Cyprus and Europe, fostering not only business and governmental ties, but also catering to the travel desires of those seeking the sun-kissed beauty of Cyprus,” Cyprus Airways CEO Paul Sies says.
AirAsia is adding a new daily route to Seoul Incheon International Airport from Kota Kinabalu, the LCC’s second-largest hub in Malaysia. Flights will begin on March 4, 2024, increasing the airline’s network from Kota Kinabalu to 18 destinations and 282 weekly arrivals and departures. “The route launch is also poised to contribute significantly to the growth of tourism and trade in Kota Kinabalu, and AirAsia is dedicated to expanding our network and making air travel more accessible to everyone,” AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat says.
Canada’s Lynx Air has announced the addition of Ottawa International Airport (YOW) to its network. Flights will start on May 17, 2024, becoming the 19th destination served by the ULCC across North America. The airline intends to offer a 4X-weekly service to Calgary International Airport, which will then continue to Vancouver International Airport. "YOW is pleased to extend a warm welcome to Lynx Air, recognizing the crucial role affordable air travel plays in connecting the Ottawa-Gatineau community and catering to the diverse needs of both residents and visitors,” says Mark Laroche, president and CEO of Ottawa International Airport Authority.
Eurowings has confirmed that it will operate direct flights from Stuttgart, Germany, to Manchester Airport, England, from next spring. The new service will operate four days per week every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday using Airbus A319s. The inaugural flight will be on May 6, 2024. Ryanair previously operated a flight from Manchester to Stuttgart between 2015 and 2019, and more than 78,000 passengers flew on the service in the last 12 months it operated.
Saudia has commenced a 4X-weekly Jeddah-Johannesburg service in partnership with the Saudi Arabia Air Connectivity Program (ACP). The airline will operate the service using Boeing 787-9 aircraft. “The Johannesburg-Jeddah route with Saudia represents a significant step forward in our efforts to enhance air connectivity between South Africa and the Kingdom,” ACP CEO Ali Rajab says.
India’s Vistara will introduce a 4X-weekly service between Mumbai and Doha from Dec. 15. Qatar’s capital becomes the 50th destination in the airline’s network and will be served using Airbus A321neo equipment. Additionally, the carrier inaugurated daily, non-stop flights between New Delhi and Bali on Dec. 1. The route operates using A321LRs in a three-class configuration.
LATAM Airlines Group has opened a new route connecting Peru’s capital Lima and London Heathrow Airport. Flights will be offered five times per week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. “Our hub in Lima connects 19 destinations within Peru and more than 30 international destinations. If we add to this incredible network within South America the 7 weekly frequencies between London and São Paulo, and the 5 frequencies of this route to Lima, LATAM Airlines is positioned as the best option for anyone who wants to travel to South America, whether they are business or leisure travellers,” says Davide Ioppolo, regional commercial director for central and southeast Europe, United Kingdom, Nordic countries and South Africa of LATAM Airlines.
Ryanair has opened a two aircraft base at Copenhagen Airport (CPH), Denmark. The Irish ULCC plans to operate 24 routes from the airport, including two new destinations: Paris Beauvais and Poland's Warsaw Modlin. "When an airline chooses to establish a base at Copenhagen Airport, it helps to create growth and jobs in and around the airport. We also see that with Ryanair, and we look forward to expanding the good cooperation we already have," says CPH Commercial Director Peter Krogsgaard. Ryaniar previously closed a CPH base in 2015, but continued to fly to and from the airport.
LCC Flynas has inaugurated a route between Jeddah and Brussels, becoming the first Saudi carrier to connect Saudi Arabia and Belgium. The new route, established in collaboration with the Saudi Air Connectivity Program, will operate three times per week. The first flight took off on Dec. 2.
Pegasus Airlines is launching a new route between Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) and Dortmund Airport (DTM), Germany. The first flight will operate on Dec. 19, and service will be offered three times a week. “Beyond experiencing the captivating metropolis of Istanbul, travelers now have access to a variety of thrilling destinations via the Pegasus route network from SAW,” DTM CEO Ludger van Bebber says.
Hong Kong Airlines has operated its first flight to Kumamoto, further extending its network coverage in the Kyushu region of Japan with three weekly flights. Kumamoto is the carrier’s seventh Japanese destination, following the launch of services to Fukuoka and Nagoya earlier this year.
Vietjet has commenced daily service between Ho Chi Minh City and Shanghai. The LCC has operated services between Vietnam and China since 2014. “It is a milestone for Vietjet and I am thrilled to welcome the first passengers on our inaugural flights between Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City,” Vietjet Vice President To Viet Thang says.
Norse Atlantic Airways has started service from London Gatwick to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Barbados. Flights to Montego Bay will be offered up to 4X-weekly, while Barbados will be up to 5X-weekly.