The Most Notable New Airline Routes This Week

Welcome to our sixth routes newsletter, jam-packed with the latest celebratory photos of new routes, route relaunches, and more. Like what you see? Sign up and receive it in your email inbox every week. Have any commemorative photos from the past week you’d like us to include in the next edition? Please send them to James Pearson (james@simpleflying.com).

Air Senegal
Air Senegal has started serving the US. Photo: BWI Marshall Airport.

Air Senegal touches down at JFK & Baltimore

West Africa’s Air Senegal introduced its first transatlantic route on September 2nd, with Dakar to New York JFK and Baltimore taking off. It was originally to serve Washington Dulles but switched to Baltimore a few days before starting.

Operating twice-weekly, the service uses a 290-seat A330-900 leased from Hi Fly Malta. It leaves Dakar at 01:30, arrives at JFK at 06:00, departs at 08:30, and touches down in Baltimore at 10:00.

Returning, it leaves Baltimore at 20:25, arrives at JFK at 21:55, leaves at 23:55, and arrives back in Africa at 12:25. These timings not only target point-to-point demand but importantly also demand to a handful of other destinations, including Abidjan, Banjul, and Bamako.

Air Senegal competes head-to-head with Delta on the 3,830-mile link to JFK, with around four flights a week mainly using B767-300ERs. Delta began Dakar in 2008 when it operated alongside South African’s Johannesburg-Dakar-JFK service, which ended in 2015. Between 2006 and 2019, SAA also operated Johannesburg-Dakar-Dulles, so another reason Air Senegal launched US service.

Air Senegal
Air Senegal now serves New York and Baltimore. Photo: via Air Senegal.

Ryanair introduces two routes to Ireland West

Ultra-low-cost carrier Ryanair launched Edinburgh to Ireland West, also known as Knock, on September 1st, with a twice-weekly offering on the 259-mile route. It’ll be joined by an identically frequent service from Manchester on September 3rd. I’ll have no head-to-head competition on either route.

The year-round service from Edinburgh currently leaves Scotland at 13:40 on Wednesdays and 07:55 on Fridays. Knock is one of three Irish routes for the ULCC from the Scottish capital, joining Dublin and Shannon. From Manchester,

Most recently, Flybe served Edinburgh-Knock from 2011 until March 2020, the same as Manchester. In 2019, Flybe transported 27,227 passengers to/from Edinburgh, the UK CAA shows, for a seat load factor of 74.3%. The closest Ryanair has previously got to Knock from Scotland was from Prestwick in 2014.

Ireland West Ryanair
Ryanair has filled holes left by the demise of Flybe. Photo: Ireland West Airport Knock.

IndiGo launches Gwalior to Delhi & Indore

India’s largest airline started flights to Gwalior, located in the state of Madhya Pradesh, on September 1st, with once-daily routes to Delhi and Indore. Using the 74-seat ATR-72-600, IndiGo’s schedule sees aircraft flying Delhi-Gwalior-Indore-Gwalior-Delhi. At just 171 miles, the Delhi-Gwalior leg is shorter than to Indore (289 miles).

On both routes, the low-cost carrier replaces Alliance Air, which began them in 2017 and which lasted until May 2020. And, more recently, it replaces SpiceJet to Delhi, which operated between January and March 2021. IndiGo’s entry means both cities are once again connected with Gwalior.

IndiGo Gwalior
IndiGo operates from Delhi to Indore via Gwalior. Photo: via IndiGo.

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Eurowings inaugurates Düsseldorf to Kyiv

Germany’s Eurowings took to the skies on September 1st, introducing a new route from Düsseldorf to Ukraine’s largest airport, Kyiv Boryspil. Mainly focusing on visiting friends and relatives demand, Eurowings’ current three-weekly offering primarily uses 144-seat A319s.

It competes head-to-head with SkyUp’s (three-weekly), and it has a range of indirect competition: Ryanair to Boryspil from both Cologne and Weeze (each twice-weekly) and Wizz Air to Kyiv Zhulyany from both Dortmund (three-weekly) and Cologne (twice-weekly).

At city level, Dusseldorf-Kyiv had 70,000 round-trip point-to-point passengers in 2019. Various airlines have operated it over the years, including Ukraine International (restarted in 2014 and continued until the pandemic struck in 2020), Lufthansa (2005-2014), and Aerosvit (2009-2012).

Eurowings DUS-KBP
Düsseldorf itself to Kyiv had 70,000 point-to-point passengers in 2019. Photo: Düsseldorf Airport.

airBaltic begins 2,803-mile service to Tenerife

Latvia has a new connection with Spain following the inauguration of airBaltic from Riga to Tenerife South. Beginning on September 2nd, the 2,803-mile service operates three-weekly using the 145-seat A220-300, the only aircraft the carrier now has.

The first flight to Spain had a flight time of six hours and eight minutes, with the return around 30 minutes shorter. It’s a long way and one of the longest routes within Europe. Tenerife hasn’t been served non-stop from Riga since early 2020 when SmartLynx operated it using the A320 on behalf of Novaturas.

airBaltic RIX-TFS
Outbound, Riga-Tenerife takes around six hours. Photo: via airBaltic.

Zagreb welcomes second Ryanair aircraft

After opening its Zagreb, Croatia, base on July 23rd with one aircraft, Ryanair has celebrated the arrival of its second aircraft, an A320 from subsidiary Lauda Europe. A third will arrive in December.

Ryanair is the second-largest airline at the Croatian capital this September. It has 15 routes this month, the vast bulk focused on visiting friends and relatives demand, especially to Germany and Scandinavia. Only one route – London Stansted – has a seven-weekly service.

Speaking of this development, Yavuz Aytis, Zagreb Airport’s Route Development Manager, said: “We are more than happy to welcome Ryanair’s second based aircraft at Zagreb Airport and proud to announce the launch of nine new routes starting from this week. Citizens of Zagreb and the surrounding region will have greater and more affordable options to fly directly, while Zagreb’s increased accessibility will lead to the fast recovery of its tourism and economy.”

Ryanair Zagreb second airport
Ryanair opened its Zagreb base in July and will have three aircraft from December. Photo: Zagreb Airport.

Widerøe launches new Faroe Islands service

Regional carrier Widerøe has started a new link from the coastal Norwegian city of Bergen to the Faroe Islands using the 78-seat Dash-8-400. Launched on September 3rd, twice-weekly service – on Mondays and Fridays – will operate year-round.

Widerøe replaces Atlantic Airways on the route, which has served between June 2011 until June 2021. In 2019, the 435-mile market had approximately 15,000 round-trip passengers, booking data indicates – more than from the Faroe Islands to Oslo.

Widerøe
Widerøe has replaced Atlantic Airways from Bergen to the Faroe Islands. Photo: Bergen Airport.

Kish Air connects Iran with Turkey’s Gazipaşa

Iran now has a non-stop link to the Turkish resort airport of Gazipaşa following the start of Kish Air from Tehran Imam Khomeini on September 3rd. This is the first time the carrier has served the airport. While Gazipaşa is most renowned for Russians and Scandinavians, which made up 88% of international non-stop seats in 2019, this is the only link to Iran.

The first service used EP-LCT, a 14.8-year-old A321, delivered to Kish Air in 2018, after being used by Khors Aircompany, DART Ukrainian Airlines, and Aeroflot. It has just 170 seats, including 28 in business. Flight Y96083 took off from Tehran at 17:44, arrived at 18:59 local time, departed at 20:33, and landed back at 00:23. It then repositioned to Tehran’s domestic airport, Mehrabad.

Kish Air
Iran’s Kish Air operates the 1,058-mile route from Imam Khomeini to Gazipaşa. Photo: Gazipaşa Alana Airport.

Eurowings inaugurates Hamburg to Valencia

Hamburg to Valencia started on September 2nd, operated by Eurowings. The carrier competes directly with Ryanair on the 1,094-mile link to Spain’s third-largest city. While Ryanair has a twice-weekly service until October 30th, the last day of the northern hemisphere summer season, Eurowings is twice-weekly until the end of March, rising to three-weekly in summer 2022. The A319 will mainly be used.

The airport-pair has attracted various airlines over the years, including Lufthansa (2007-2008), easyJet (2017), Ryanair (2017 until now), and now Eurowings. In 2019, Valencia had 38,178 round-trip seats, making it only Hamburg’s 12th-largest Spanish market.

Eurowings Hamburg
Eurowings competes head-to-head with Ryanair to Valencia. Photo: Hamburg Airport.

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Air India reconnects Indore with Dubai

The only non-stop service from Indore, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, to Dubai commenced in July 2019 by Air India. Having been postponed because of the pandemic, the carrier relaunched the 1,303-mile route on 1st September. It is operating once-weekly by 162-seat A320neos, with 12 business seats, and it continues to Bangalore.

The UAE to India has suffered enormously this year. Nonetheless, Air India itself has 14 routes scheduled between now and the end of the year. In order of expected capacity, they are Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Lucknow, Jaipur, Amritsar, Kozhikode, Kannur, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, and Indore.

Air India Dubai to Indore
Indore is one of 14 Air India routes from Dubai. Photo: via Air India.

Avianca resumes Bogota to Rio de Janeiro

Colombia’s flag carrier Avianca reinstated the only link between the country and Rio de Janeiro on September 1st when Bogota to Rio Galeão resumed. Launched in 2011, the 2,817-mile route is served three-weekly, but it rises to once-daily from November. A combination of 153-seat A320neo and, more interestingly, the 120-seat A319 is used on the nearly six-hour flight.

Looking at 2019, booking data shows around 75,000 round-trip passengers transited over Bogota from Rio with Avianca. The most passengers were to/from Orlando, Cancun, Cartagena, Medellín, JFK, Miami, Mexico City, San Andrés, Punta Cana, and Washington Dulles.

Avianca Rio
Bogota-Rio will be once-daily later this year. Photo: Rio Galeão.

Eurowings restarts Düsseldorf to Zagreb

After an absence of over 17 months, Eurowings has reintroduced Düsseldorf to Zagreb, the Croatian capital, on August 31st. With an outbound flight time of one hour and 19 minutes, the 573-mile service was operated by D-ABGP, a 13-year-old 144-seat A319. While the A319 is mainly used on the year-round, twice-a-week route, it will sometimes be replaced by the A320.

Eurowings is the sole operator between Düsseldorf and Zagreb, a route it began in October 2017, nine years after Croatia Airlines ended it. However, it competes indirectly with Ryanair from Dortmund (twice-weekly), while Eurowings operates Cologne to Zagreb (six-weekly).

Eurowings Dusseldorf to Zagreb
No other airline competes directly with Eurowings to Zagreb. Photo: Zagreb Franjo Tuđman Airport.
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