Welcome to our 14th routes newsletter! It’s full of celebratory photos, including a selection from the start of the aviation winter season, with more next week. Why not sign up and receive our newsletter in your email inbox every week?
Australia reopens its borders
It has been a long time coming, but finally Australia’s international borders have reopened, with multiple long-haul flights landing in the country on that day. While it is primarily for Australian citizens and permanent residents, but crucially no quarantine is required on arrival.
The first flight to touchdown at Sydney was SQ227 from Singapore, which landed at 05:21. It was followed by QF12 from Los Angeles and JL51 from Tokyo Haneda. At Melbourne, the honor went to SQ237 from Singapore, which touched down at 10:10.
In 2019, Singapore Airlines was the largest foreign airline to serve Australia. The Star Alliance member and other carriers will benefit from the Australia-Singapore travel bubble that comes into effect on November 21st, meaning that fully vaccinated Singaporeans may travel to Australia quarantine-free.
Eurowings launches Prague base
Lufthansa Group member Eurowings opened its brand-new Prague base on October 31st. The first day kicked off with Bristol taking off at 06:03 operated by OE-LYX, an 11.58-year-old A319, and then operated from Prague to Barcelona and Copenhagen. Meanwhile, OE-IQC, a 5.67-year-old A320, was used Fuerteventura and then Milan Malpensa.
In November, Eurowings will have ten routes from the Czech airport: Athens, Barcelona, Barcelona, Bristol, Copenhagen, Düsseldorf, Fuerteventura, Malaga, Milan Malpensa, Tenerife South. In December, Tel Aviv and Zagreb will commence, followed by Cologne and Hamburg in March.
JetBlue introduces San Antonio
San Antonio finally has a non-stop link to Boston and more choice to New York JFK, following JetBlue beginning both routes on October 31st. JFK operates seven-weekly by the A320 and presently competes head-to-head with American, although American ends shortly before resuming in January (seven-weekly).
In comparison, the number of JetBlue flights from Boston varies per week but will be consistently seven-weekly from January. All flights are by 140-seat A220-300s. Boston hasn’t been connected with the Texas city despite around 100,000 round trip point-to-point passengers in 2019 and San Antonio’s second-largest unserved domestic market (after LaGuardia).
Qatar Airways is now at Sheremetyevo
Moscow Sheremetyevo is now served by Qatar Airways from Doha. The airport has replaced long-served Domodedovo, which entered the airline’s network in September 2004. Until then, Sheremetyevo was served, so it is a ‘homecoming’ of sorts.
Qatar Airways operates Doha to Sheremetyevo seven-weekly. The first flight after 17 years operated as QR337. It used A7-BEF, a 354-seat B777-300ER, delivered to the airline in November 2015. QR337 departed Doha at 02:51 and arrived at 07:37 (!) local time. After spending most of the day in Russia, QR338 took off at 18:37 and arrived home at 23:16.
Frontier takes off from New York Stewart
Ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier has inaugurated service from Stewart International, its eighth airport in New York state. Beginning on October 24th was Orlando International, with the 989-mile (1,591km) link served four-weekly. It’s the first of a trio of routes for Frontier, with Stewart to both Miami and Tampa launching on November 2nd at three-weekly apiece. 186-seat A320neos will mainly be used.
Tampa International was last served from Stewart by AirTran between 2007 and 2008. Orlando International, meanwhile, saw JetBlue between 2006 and 2020 and AirTran from 2007-2008. Miami hasn’t been served previously (at least since 2004), while JetBlue ended Fort Lauderdale in 2020. More significant from Stewart are secondary airports in Florida, with Allegiant competing indirectly to Orlando Sanford and Tampa St Pete, both twice-weekly.
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Air France commences Paris to Muscat
Muscat now has two airlines serving it from Paris CDG. This follows Air France commencing the 3,470-mile (5,585km) service on October 24th with three weekly flights using the 279-seat B787-9. This frequency is one more than Oman Air’s current offering, although both carriers will be thrice-weekly in December.
Air France is presently routing to Muscat via Dubai, but non-stop on the way back. This will revert to non-stop in both directions from December 18th. At the moment, AF694 leaves CDG at 23:35 and arrives in Dubai at 09:20 local time the following day. After 90 minutes in the UAE, it departs at 10:50 and arrives at noon. Returning, it leaves Muscat at 13:55 and arrives home at 18:45.
Milan Bergamo starts the winter in style
Multiple routes have started from Milan Bergamo in the past few days, including easyJet from London Gatwick and Ryanair from Birmingham, Helsinki, Liverpool, Stockholm Arlanda, and Toulouse. Bergamo to Weeze has also resumed.
easyJet has three weekly flights from Gatwick, while most of Ryanair’s new offerings are twice-weekly. The exceptions are Stockholm (three-weekly) and Helsinki (four-weekly). None of these routes have head-to-head competition.
Liverpool is again connected non-stop to the Milan area of Italy. Ryanair operated Liverpool-Bergamo between February 2005 and March 2012, and Blue Air took it up from March 2017 to September 2018. While Blue Air served Bergamo, Ryanair operated to Malpensa from October 2017 to March 2020.
San Diego welcomes Swoop from Edmonton
San Diego now has another new non-stop link from Canada in the form of Swoop from Edmonton. Starting on October 31st, the 1,432 mile (2,304km) route has not been operated previously. This is despite over 30,000 round-trip point-to-point passengers in 2019, which meant it was San Diego’s second-largest unserved market to Canada, behind only Montreal.
Edmonton-San Diego currently operates on Sundays but will rise to three-weekly (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays) from January. It is Swoop’s only route to California and one of four US routes from Edmonton.
Ryanair adds a trio of routes from Riga
Ryanair has introduced three new routes from Riga, with Aarhus taking off on October 28th (three-weekly; see the separate entry below), Memmingen on October 29th (twice-weekly), and Palermo the following day (twice-weekly). And on October 31st, it resumed Paris Beauvais (twice-weekly).
These additions bring to 33 the ultra-low-cost carrier’s routes from the Latvian capital in November, over double the 15 it had in November 2019. London Stansted, Berlin, Dublin, Milan Bergamo, and Warsaw Modlin now have the most seats.
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Transavia France begins Paris Orly to Kraków
Shortly after inaugurating Paris Orly to Berlin, Rome Fiumicino, and Stockholm Arlanda, Transavia France has now started Kraków. Unlike other Polish cities, Kraków is very good for inbound tourism demand.
Transavia France will have no head-to-head competition on the 789-mile (1,269km) link with flights on Thursdays and Sundays. However, in the current week, it has indirect competition from Air France (twice-weekly) and easyJet (12-weekly) from CDG and Ryanair from Beauvais (five-weekly). This winter, six Polish cities are connected to Paris-area airports across six airlines.
Wizz Air adds Abu Dhabi to Muscat
The Omani capital of Muscat hasn’t only welcomed Air France in the past week. On October 31st, it also received the first flight of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi from, you guessed it, the UAE capital. Now operating three-weekly using 239-seat A321neos, the short 237-mile (381km) route leaves the UAE at 06:35 and returns at 09:30.
In the current week, Wizz Air competes directly with Etihad (four-weekly) and Etihad’s lower-cost subsidiary, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi (three-weekly). Looking ahead to the first week in January, Wizz Air and Air Arabia will still have three flights apiece, but Etihad will have14-weekly.
Aarhus welcomes three Ryanair routes
Denmark has a new connection with Latvia. On October 28th, Ryanair introduced Riga to Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city. The ultra-low-cost carrier has three weekly flights on the 510 mile (821km) airport-pair, which hasn’t been served previously. It is the first place in the Baltics to be served from Aarhus.
This new route has been joined by other Ryanair services from Aarhus: Malaga took off on October 31st and Milan Malpensa on November 1st. They’ll be joined by Warsaw Modlin on December 3rd. Additionally, BRA Braathens will begin Scandinavian Mountains Airport in Sweden from December 19th.
B737 cargo charters from China to Cologne
We don’t usually cover cargo launches or time-limited charters, but we’re making an exception and covering both this week. On October 27th, Russia’s Atran Airlines began a series of China cargo charters for Phoenix Logistics of Shenzhen.
On the first day, B737-800F (VQ-BFX) routed Xian-Novosibirsk-Moscow Vnukovo-Cologne. After arriving in Germany at 17:56, it departed at 20:23 bound for Krasnoyarsk and onto Zhengzhou before returning through Russia to Germany.
That’s it for the 14th edition of our routes newsletter. To get something like this in your inbox every week, please sign up for our weekly routes newsletter.