Routes In Brief: Rolling Daily Updates (W/C July 25, 2022)

Credit: Joe Pries

July 29

Chinese airline Sichuan Airlines is resuming flights to Finland’s capital Helsinki (HEL) from July 29. Originally launched in summer 2019, the route from Chengdu Shuangliu (CTU) has been suspended during the pandemic but will restart with a 1X-weekly service on Fridays. The Civil Aviation Administration of China has decided to allow flights from China to Finland not only from Shanghai, but also from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Sichuan Airlines will serve the sector using Airbus A330s. “The reopening of the route is an important step towards the recovery of Chinese air travel from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Petri Vuori, Finavia’s SVP responsible for route development. Previously, the route ran from Chengdu to Copenhagen (CPH) via Helsinki. Now it will operate directly between Helsinki and Chengdu.

A little over a month since inaugurating its first flight to Israel, Emirates has announced plans to boost connectivity between Dubai (DXB) and Tel Aviv (TLV) with a second daily service, starting Oct. 30. The additional morning frequency is in response to high demand for travel to/from Israel, the carrier said. The second daily flight will be served by Boeing 777-300ER in a three-class configuration, departing DXB at 8.15 a.m. and arriving in TLV at 9.50 a.m. The return flight leaves TLV at 11.50 a.m. and arrives in DXB at 4.50 p.m.

Oman Air will launch service between Muscat (MCT) and Trabzon (TZX) in Turkey on Aug. 2. Flights will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The airline will face competition on the route from SalamAir, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus. According to OAG data, SalamAir currently provides daily service, while Turkish Airlines flies 4X-weekly and Pegasus 2X-weekly.

Korean Air will resume its routes to Rome and Barcelona from September after being suspended in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The airline has been gradually restoring its European network and restarted flights to Milan Malpensa (MXP0 and Vienna (VIE) earlier this month. Service from Seoul Incheon (ICN) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) will resume on Sept. 1, operating three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Barcelona (BCN) will also receive three flights per week from Seoul, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “The European market is recovering faster than expected, and we are seeing a strong comeback in travel demand,” said Jumin Kim, general manager and director of Korean Air’s Western Europe regional office.

LCC easyJet is adding two routes from Marseille (MRS) during the winter 2022/23 season. The airline plans to launch a 2X-weekly service to Basel (BSL) on Oct. 31, followed by a 3X-weekly flight to Lisbon (LIS) on Nov. 1.

July 28

Indian startup Akasa Air has added a third route to its launch network. As reported by Routes, the carrier’s inaugural flight will connect Mumbai (BOM) and Ahmedabad (AMD) on Aug. 7, followed by operations between Bengaluru (BLR) and Kochi (COK) five days later. The airline has now announced that from Aug. 19 it will operate a nonstop Bengaluru-Mumbai service, flying twice a day. Departure from BLR is scheduled for 11.40 a.m. and 4.20 p.m., and from BOM at 1.55 p.m. and 6.40 p.m.

Japan Airlines (JAL) is to increase its Tokyo Haneda (HND)-Helsinki (HEL) service to 5X-weekly in October, the carrier has announced. The airline currently operates the nonstop route four times per week. JAL intends to fly to HEL from HND on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between Oct. 1 and Oct. 29.

United Airlines is adding 120 new flights to its schedule this fall for college football fans. Michael Weeks, MD of domestic schedule development and publication at United, said: “We're flying nonstop to some of the most historic football towns in the country, including South Bend, Columbus and Baton Rouge, and also significantly expanding our service on the west coast to help more PAC 12 fans travel to cheer on their teams.” Key games on this season's schedule include University of Alabama at University of Texas Austin and Washington State University at University of Wisconsin-Madison, both taking place on Sept. 10. Between Sept. 9 and 11, United will offer two direct, round-trip flights between Birmingham, AL and Austin, TX, as well as one round-trip flight between Spokane, WA and Madison, WI.

Colombia’s Ultra Air is opening four new domestic routes from Medellin (MDE). On Oct. 7, daily service will start to San Andres (ADZ) followed by 5X-weekly flights to both Barranquilla (BAQ) and Monteria (MTR) the next day. Service to Cucuta (CUC) will begin on Dec. 8 and be offered three times per week.

July 27

Fresh from restoring flights to Mumbai, Kochi and Bangalore, Batik Air Malaysia—formerly known as Malindo Air—is now expanding its Indian network to the cities of Amritsar (ATQ) and Kolkata (CCU). Flights to ATQ from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) will be 4X-weekly, starting on Sept. 9. Service will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The route from KUL to CCU will operate five times per week from Sept. 30. The airline's CEO Mushafiz Mustafa Bakri said: “The lifting of international border restrictions presents airlines and travellers with new opportunities. With the abolishment of the mandatory quarantine, and the ability to now travel freely between India and Malaysia, Batik Air is very excited to introduce our new connectivity to more cities in India.” In addition, Batik Air said it will launch an additional flight to Perth (PER) in Australia via Denpasar (DPS) from Sept. 15.

Ethiopian Airlines has confirmed it will begin flying to Zurich (ZRH) during the upcoming northern winter season. The carrier will operate a 3X-weekly Addis Ababa (ADD-Milan Malpensa (MXP)-Zurich route from Oct. 30 using Boeing 787-9 aircraft.

Volotea plans to increase its capacity between France and Algeria by launching a new service between Marseille (MRS) and Bejaia (BJA). The route will begin on Nov. 8, operating once a week using Airbus A320 aircraft. In addition, the LCC said it plans to open another new connection between Marseille and Annaba (AAE) as soon as more frequencies between the two countries are granted.

July 26

Bangkok Airways is resuming three more international routes in response to increasing demand. Daily flights from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK) to Siem Reap (REP) in Cambodia will restart on Aug. 1, operated by an ATR 72-600 aircraft. Daily service from BKK to Yangon (RGN) in Myanmar will also resume on the same day using Airbus A320s. From Sept. 1, the carrier plans to reinstate daily flights from BKK to Da Nang (DAD) in Vietnam onboard A320s. “The soon-to-resume flights between Bangkok and Siem Reap, Yangon and Da Nang are anticipated to boost Thailand's tourism as well as tourism in our neighboring countries,” said Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president of Bangkok Airways.

UK-based Flybe has launched two summer routes to France from Southampton Airport (SOU). The routes to Avignon (AVN) and Toulon (TLN) will be operated by a 78-seater De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400. The two new services come as the airline prepares to begin flights to SOU from Belfast City (BHD) on July 28.

Malaysia Airlines is doubling its capacity between Kuala Lumpur (KUL) and Doha (DOH) with a second daily non-stop flight from Aug. 10. The additional flight will depart from KUL at 2:55 a.m. and from Doha at 8:05 a.m., operated by Airbus A330-300s. “We are delighted to increase our frequency to Doha, following the successful launch of a daily service in May,” Malaysia Airlines CEO Izham Ismail said. “We are aware of the importance of collaborating with our partners such as Qatar Airways, especially as travel demand is increasing sharply on this route, following the easing of border restrictions.”

July 25

French carrier Corsair is adding a new West African destination. The airline plans to serve Cotonou (COO) in Benin from Nov. 8. Flights from Paris Orly (ORY) will be three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays using 298-seater Airbus A330-300 aircraft. “In accordance with our strategic plan, we are continuing our development on the African continent,” said Pascal de Izaguirre, chairman and CEO of Corsair.

Oman Air is increasing service to India between Aug. 1 and Oct. 29 in response to growing demand. The carrier said it will operate 10X-weekly flights from Muscat (MCT) to Kochi (COK), Delhi (DEL) and Chennai (MAA)—all up from 7X-weekly. The additional services increase the number of two-way flights operated by the airline between Oman and India to 122 per week. Oman Air provides 10 flights per week in each direction to Delhi, Kochi, and Chennai, seven flights per week to Bangalore, Mumbai, Kozhikode, and Hyderabad, as well as three flights per week to Goa.

Azerbaijan Airlines has started ticket sales for flights to Delhi (DEL) from Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International (GYD). The service launches on Aug. 9 and will operate twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The route is in partnership with cargo specialist Zeal Global Group.

Kenya Airways has signed an interline agreement with Virgin Atlantic. The deal will allow Kenya Airways passengers flying via London to connect with Virgin Atlantic-operated flights to the likes of Boston (BOS), Miami (MIA) and Seattle (SEA). Virgin Atlantic passengers will also be able to book a through ticket to Nairobi (NBO) and connect to destinations in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia among others. “This agreement will advance our strategy to strengthen our African hubs with connecting traffic and offer new growth opportunities for both carriers,” Kenya Airways chief commercial and customer officer Julius Thairu said.

Asiana Airlines has resumed four routes from Seoul Incheon (ICN) having suspended them during the pandemic. The airline has restored service to Barcelona (BCN), Beijing Capital (PEK), Istanbul (IST) and Rome Fiumicino (FCO). BCN, FCO and IST will be served twice a week, while a Saturday-service will be offered to PEK. Asiana plans to increase ICN-FCO to 3X-weekly from Aug. 14.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.