The Most Notable New Airline Routes This Week

Welcome to our fourth routes newsletter! As you’ll see, the photos we use are celebratory in nature, whether a water arch, balloons, ribbon-cutting, cake, or otherwise. As most new routes or relaunches go uncelebrated (a big shame!), we can’t cover all developments in the past week. But if you see or have any celebratory photos, please send them to James Pearson at james@simpleflying.com.

Flyer begins international routes
Norway’s new entrant, Flyr, has started its first international services. Photo: via Flyr.

Flyr’s first international routes begin

Norway’s new entrant, Flyr, inaugurated international flights on August 21st, with Oslo Gardermoen to Malaga, Alicante, and Nice taking off. They come shortly after beginning two more domestic links: Gardermoen to Bergen and Trondheim on August 16th.

The 1,766-mile link to Malaga operates year-round on Saturdays and Sundays, Nice is on both weekend days until October 30th, while Malaga is served on Saturdays year-round. All use 189-seat B737-800s. Looking at Malaga, Flyr’s new service leaves Oslo at 12:20 and arrives back at 21:30; on Sundays: 07:50 and 17:00.

In the current week to Malaga, Flyr competes with Norwegian (seven-weekly) and SAS (twice-weekly, rising to six-weekly in September/October). In addition, it competes indirectly with Ryanair from Oslo Torp (four-weekly from September/October). Malaga has long been an important destination for Norwegians. In 2019, Gardermoen-Malaga had 383,000 round-trip seats, beaten only by Alicante (430,000).

Flyer begins international routes
Malaga, Alicante, and Nice have all begun. Photo: via Flyr.

American starts Kansas City to LaGuardia

August 18th was the day that Kansas City welcomed American Eagle to New York LaGuardia. Presently operating 11 weekly, it’ll rise to 14-weekly in October, mainly by the 76-seat Embraer 175. Technically, the route is a resumption, as American operated between 2004 and 2006 and again from 2016 to 2017. In 2017, its average one-way fare was $172, DOT data indicates.

Kansas City-La Guardia is a big market. In 2019, it had 339,000 round-trip passengers, rising to over half a million to New York generally. In the past decade, Kansas City-La Guardia has been served by Delta (from 2009), Frontier (2010-2012), and Southwest (from 2015). In 2021, American competes directly with Delta (26-weekly from September) and Southwest (up to seven-weekly later this year).

American Kansas City
American will increase the number of weekly flights to 14 in October. Photo: Kansas City International Airport.

Air Peace introduces Ibadan from Abuja

On Tuesday, August 17th, Air Peace launched a new domestic service: from Ibadan (Nigeria’s third-largest city) to Abuja (the country’s capital). This followed the end of Arik Air on the route, which had served it since 2011.

Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest airline this year, is initially operating twice-weekly on the 252-mile sector, which rises to seven-weekly from mid-September. It competes directly with Overland Airways’ seven-weekly offering by the ATR-42.

So far, Air Peace’s new route has seen the Embraer 195-E2, of which it has three with an average age of just six months. They have 124 seats, including 12 in business. However, the carrier’s schedules submitted to OAG suggests the 50-seat Embraer 145 will soon operate, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Air Peace 3
Air Peace competes with Overland Airways on the route. Photo: Ibadan Airport.

Columbus welcomes the return of American

August 18th was a big day for Columbus Metropolitan Airport, Georgia, with American Eagle resuming service after an absence of eight years. This means that Columbus, situated by the Alabama border, again has a second carrier, joining Delta and its connection to Atlanta.

American Eagle started a brand-new route to Charlotte on August 17th, operating 14-weekly using 65-seat CRJ-700s from PSA Airlines. Meanwhile, Dallas Fort Worth took off on August 18th and sees a once-daily, 76-seat CRJ-900 operation, again by PSA. Dallas was last served between 2010 and 2013. In the penultimate year, it had up to 14 weekly flights using Embraer 135s and 140s.


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Columbus
American last served Columbus, Georgia, in 2013. Photo: Columbus Metropolitan Airport.

IndiGo launches Mumbai & Delhi to Jabalpur

IndiGo launched service to Jabalpur, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, this week. Mumbai and Delhi both began on August 20th, while two more routes will start on August 28th: Indore and Hyderabad. Of these four destinations, the carrier has only served Hyderabad before (2019-2020).

The 414-mile route to Delhi is served once-daily using 186-seat A320s, likewise the 542-mile link to Mumbai. However, the 74-seat ATR-72-600 is due to operate Delhi from mid-September. Meanwhile, the once-daily service to Hyderabad, 412 miles away, will be exclusively by the ATR.

To Delhi, IndiGo sees direct competition with SpiceJet’s Dash-8-400s and Alliance Air’s ATR-72-600s. Meanwhile, SpiceJet links Jabalpur to Mumbai and Hyderabad with the Dash-8. Indore is the only route without direct competition, although Kingfisher operated the route between 2007 and 2011.

IndiGo Jabalpur
Mumbai and Delhi will be joined by two more routes on August 28th. Photo: via IndiGo.

SpiceJet starts three routes to Bhavnagar

The Gujarat city of Bhavnagar welcomed SpiceJet this week, with the carrier launching three routes and becoming the airport’s second operator after Alliance Air.

SpiceJet began Delhi and Mumbai on August 20th, with Surat appearing the next day. All use 78-seat Dash-8-400s. Delhi and Mumbai are both served six-weekly, while it’s three for Surat. Mumbai has head-to-head competition with Alliance Air offering a six-weekly ATR-72-600 service.

Bhavnagar-Surat is interesting. At just 57 miles, it doesn’t seem to make sense, but that misses the point. The two cities are on the other sides of the Gulf of Khambhat, with a long, circuitous overland routing required, meaning that ground transport often takes eight+ hours.

SpiceJet
SpiceJet sees competition on only one of its three routes. Photo: via SpiceJet.

British Airways returns to Mauritius

British Airways relaunched London to Mauritius on Friday, August 20th. BA2063 departed Gatwick at 22:17 and arrived 11 hours and 43 minutes later at 13:00 the following day, local time.

Because the route is currently operating once-weekly, the aircraft and crew remained in Mauritius until Sunday, 22nd. BA2062 left at 21:37 and touched down in the UK at 06:26 on day three. It was operated by a 332-seat B777-200ER, the second-highest density 772 configuration in BA’s fleet.

Air Mauritius will again compete indirectly with BA from Heathrow, with its once-weekly service resuming on October 3rd using the 288-seat A330-900. BA used to operate Heathrow-Mauritius until 2011, after which it swapped to Gatwick.

BA MRU
In October, London-Mauritius will have six weekly flights with BA and Air Mauritius. By then, BA’s offering will have risen to five-weekly. Photo: Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport.

Icelandair resumes Manchester

Icelandair returned to Manchester on August 20th after an absence of 18 months. TF-ICA, a 160-seat B737 MAX 8, had the honor of operating the first resumed service. However, the 1,030-mile link with Keflavik, which rises to five-weekly in October, will also see the MAX 9 and B757-200ER this year. easyJet also operates with a twice-weekly offering.

In 2019, approximately 40,000 round-trip passengers transited Keflavik to/from Manchester, booking data indicates. Chicago was the top origin and destination, followed by Washington Dulles, JFK, Toronto, Boston, Orlando, Vancouver, Seattle, Denver, and Newark.

Icelandair
Icelandair’s Manchester timings are designed to allow full connectivity to/from North America. Photo: Menzies Aviation.

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

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