The Most Notable New Airline Routes This Week

Welcome to our 16th routes newsletter! It comes soon after the start of the aviation winter season 2021, with the post-season change always quieter for new routes – and route celebrations – than normal weeks. Why not sign up and receive our newsletter in your email inbox every week?

American Delhi
American returns to Delhi comes after almost a decade. It last served India between November 2005 and March 2012 when Chicago to Delhi operated. Photo: Indira Gandhi International Airport.

American takes off from JFK to Delhi

New York JFK to Delhi now has service by another operator: American Airlines. With seven flights a week, AA292 leaves JFK at 18:51 and arrives in India the following evening at 20:30. Returning, AA293 departs Delhi at 00:55 and arrives back at 07:04. B777-300ERs are used with 304 seats, including eight first-class seats and 52 in business.

Between JFK and Delhi, American competes directly with a three-weekly Air India service. In 2019, the market was the largest between the US and India, with 253,000 round-trip passengers. Passengers mainly transited en route, and it had an average one-way fare (excluding taxes and fuel surcharge) of $449.

American JFK-Delhi
Those celebrating the inauguration include Joseph Colby, Manager, Asia-Pacific and Specialty Sales at American Airlines, second right. Photo: via Joseph Colby.

Ryanair opens Riga base

Ultra-low-cost carrier Ryanair has opened its new base in the Latvian capital, Riga, with two B737-800s stationed there. It is one of multiple new bases for the carrier, joining the likes of Agadir, Billund, Stockholm Arlanda, Treviso, and Venice Marco Polo.

This winter, Ryanair has 33 routes from Riga, more than double the 15 it had in winter 2019. It has 857,000 seats from Latvia’s capital, half airBaltic’s volume, for a 30% share of the airport’s total. London Stansted, Berlin, Dublin, Milan Bergamo, and Stockholm Arlanda are the ULCC’s top-five routes.

Ryanair Riga
Ryanair is Riga’s second-largest airline this winter. Photo: Riga International Airport.

Southwest introduces Syracuse

Syracuse is now part of Southwest’s route map. Service began on November 14th with one route: the 273-mile (440km) link from Baltimore. With 21 weekly flights, Syracuse-Baltimore will, of course, be especially good for transit passengers across the US. On the day of writing, Southwest leaves Syracuse at 06:30, 12:00, and 16:55; returning, it departs Baltimore at 10:00, 15:00, and 22:05.

Syracuse is Southwest’s sixth airport in New York state, joining Albany, Buffalo, Islip, LaGuardia, and Rochester. Southwest will also begin a Saturday-only Syracuse-Orlando service from November 20th. While Frontier and JetBlue also operate the route, neither do on Saturdays.

Southwest Syracuse
Southwest currently serves Baltimore from Syracuse, with Orlando starting later this week. Photo: Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

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Melbourne welcomes Allegiant

Allegiant now serves a new airport: Melbourne, situated about 70 miles (113km) from Orlando on the Space Coast, its 10th airport in Florida. The first route – from Pittsburgh – was inaugurated on November 11th, with Nashville and Concord (near Charlotte) taking off on November 18th.

In 2019, Melbourne-Pittsburgh had around 7,500 round-trip point-to-point passengers, excluding those leaked to Orlando or elsewhere. Of course, Allegiant grows the markets it serves.

“We’re thrilled to start service for the first time at Melbourne Orlando International Airport,” said Drew Wells, Allegiant’s SVP of Revenue and Planning. “We think vacationers will appreciate our unique brand of travel: low-cost, non-stop flights without the hassle of layovers or connections.”

Allegiant Melbourne
Melbourne is the 10th airport in Florida served by Allegiant. Photo: Melbourne Orlando International Airport.

Melbourne to Ballina grows by 400%

A new route has been inaugurated by Qantas, with Melbourne to Ballina (close to Byron Bay) taking to the sky. With three flights a week using 174-seat B737-800s, it’ll rise to seven-weekly in January, the peak of the Australian summer, before returning to three-weekly. In the second week of 2022, it’ll compete directly with Virgin Australia and Jetstar, each with a 14-weekly offering.

Look at how things have grown. In the second week of January 2020, Melbourne-Ballina had seven weekly flights. Now it’ll have 35. The route is the latest in Australia to have launched, as Qantas and Virgin, in particular, target unserved and underserved leisure destinations. 

Qantas Ballina
Qantas is one of three airlines on Melbourne-Ballina. Photo: Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.

HVN is now connected to Fort Myers

New entrant Avelo now connects the Connecticut airport of Tweed New Haven (IATA code HVN) to Fort Myers, 1,134 miles (1,825km) away. There are currently three weekly flights, although it’ll later rise to six-weekly, all by 147-seat B737-700s.

New Haven is renowned for its short runway of just 5,600 feet (1,707 meters). While it no longer has hub service – American cut Philadelphia in September – Avelo now connects it non-stop to Fort Myers and Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa. They’ll be joined by West Palm Beach on December 16th and Sarasota on January 13th. Expect more route announcements soon.

Fort Myers will see up to six weekly flights from HVN. Photo: Southwest Florida International Airport.

Costa Rica’s Liberia gets new Orlando route

The increasingly served Costa Rican city of Liberia, known as a gateway to natural splendors, has welcomed its next international route: Frontier from Orlando. Operating on Thursdays and Sundays, the 1,257-mile (2,023km) route mainly uses A320neos. It leaves Florida at 11:20 and arrives back at 18:56.

It is the first time Orlando-Liberia has been connected non-stop, with around 10,000 transit point-to-point round-trip passengers in 2019. It comes as part of Frontier’s heavy expansion from Orlando. Some 29 additional routes have been introduced this winter versus winter 2019.

Frontier to Liberia
Across all airlines, Liberia has 17 routes to the US this winter. Orlando is the latest. Photo: Guanacaste Airport.

That’s it for the 16th edition of our routes newsletter. To get something like this in your inbox every week, please sign up for our weekly routes newsletter.