Routes In Brief: Rolling Daily Updates (W/C March 13, 2023)

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March 17

IndiGo has confirmed plans to launch a route from Mumbai to Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Flights will operate daily from March 26. “We are pleased to connect the commercial center of India to the commercial center of Bangladesh, to serve business as well as leisure customers,” IndiGo head of global sales Vinay Malhotra says. The LCC will also resume daily operations between Mumbai and Singapore from March 26. According to the Singapore Tourism Board, India accounted for over 686,000 of the overall 6.3 million global visitor arrivals in 2022, emerging as Singapore’s second largest source market after Indonesia.

Greater Bay Airlines is adding Osaka as its fifth destination in April. Flights from Hong Kong International to Osaka Kansai will operate 3X-weekly from April 24 on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The carrier commenced scheduled service in July 2022 and is currently operating flights to Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo.

LCC flydubai has launched flights between Dubai International and Milan Bergamo. The service will run five times per week using Boeing 737-8 aircraft in a two-class configuration. Frequencies will rise to daily from April 18. “We are pleased to see our network in Italy grow to four points since our first entry to the market in 2018 with the start of flights to Catania,” flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith says. “There is a large demand for travel from Dubai and the region and our flights to Milan-Bergamo, as well as the other points in Italy, will give passengers the opportunity to enjoy convenient direct operations to some of Italy’s most attractive regions.”

Startup Canada Jetlines has announced that it is in discussions with Qatar Airways to explore a potential collaboration between the two airlines. This could include the possibility of nonstop flights between Toronto Pearson and Doha, a statement from Canada Jetlines said. Eddy Doyle, president and CEO of Canada Jetlines, says the carrier is “pleased to discuss potential opportunities” with the oneworld alliance member.

Aer Lingus Regional operator Emerald Airlines is increasing frequencies between Belfast City and Birmingham. Service on the route, which launched in March 2022, will rise from up to 4X-daily flights to up to 5X-daily using ATR 72-600 aircraft. “We foresee these additional flight times to be particularly popular amongst those traveling for business purposes, and we look forward to offering that increased customer convenience,” Emerald Airlines head of commercial Ciarán Smith says.

March 16


Air Canada has confirmed the addition of a new nonstop seasonal route between Montreal and Amsterdam for summer 2023. Flights will operate 5X-weekly using Boeing 787 aircraft. “With up to double-daily flights between Canada and Amsterdam this summer from two of our global hubs, customers on both sides of the Atlantic have an abundance of convenient choices to visit and explore each other's countries and beyond,” says Mark Galardo, senior vice president network planning and revenue management at Air Canada.

Thai AirAsia is increasing its flight frequencies to six international destinations from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Flights to Hanoi and Da Nang in Vietnam as well as Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur will rise to daily service from March 26. “AirAsia’s Chiang Mai hub began resuming international routes late last year and since then we have seen considerable interest from international travelers, making the northern city a top destination,” says Surapun Homkajorn, AirAsia's station manager at Chiang Mai.

Fresh from announcing a new route between Clark in the Philippines and Singapore, Cebu Pacific is adding a route from Clark to Seoul Incheon. Daily flights between the cities will start on May 5. The LCC now flies to 34 domestic and 25 international points. Clark is a popular destination for inbound travelers due to its proximity to Manila and other tourism locations in northern Philippines like Baguio, Zambales, La Union, and Pangasinan.

Norwegian’s winter 2023/24 network will comprise 144 routes to 65 destinations, the airline has confirmed. In addition, some routes to popular ski destinations in the Alps will be announced at a later date. “We continue our most popular routes, and the mix of destinations gives customers the opportunity to fly with us to dream vacations with sun and beach, art and culture, or activity holidays,” says Magnus Thome Maursund, commercial director of Norwegian. During summer 2023, the LCC will fly 300 routes to 114 destinations.

Indian LCC IndiGo has commenced flights from Nashik, the 77th domestic and 103rd overall destination in its network. The airline will offer daily service to Goa Mopa, Ahmedabad and Nagpur. “By enhancing accessibility to Nashik, famous for its rich history, we aim to promote commerce and tourism and boost economic growth in the region. Inclusion of these direct flights in our summer schedule will offer more choices to tourists visiting Nashik, India's wine capital, and professionals traveling to the major industrial hub for automobile companies,” head of global sales Vinay Malhotra says.

March 15


Volaris is adding a new domestic route in Mexico between Guadalajara (GDL) and Puerto Vallarta (PVR). Flights will start on June 1 and operate daily. The move comes after the grounding of Aeromar, which served the sector up to 4X-daily prior to the suspension of flights in February. Earlier this month, Viva Aerobus confirmed it plans to increase GDL-PVR flights to 16X-weekly, up from 7X-weekly. “The announcement of this new route will strengthen the connectivity between two very important leisure destinations in the state and in Mexico, which reinforces our commitment to continue promoting economic, tourist and commercial development in the country,” says Omar Carrera, commercial director of Volaris.

Starting from August 2023, ITA Airways will add 4X-weekly frequencies to its Rome Fiumicino-Sao Paulo Guarulhos service, which currently operates daily. The additional flights will be operated using Airbus A330s on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. “The introduction of additional frequencies in the direct connection from São Paolo to Rome Fiumicino is further evidence of the company’s strong investment in the Brazilian market and will allow ITA Airways to further strengthen its expansion in South America,” the airline says in a statement.

Irish ULCC Ryanair has announced its largest summer schedule from Dublin (DUB), with 130 routes and 14 new connections to destinations including Asturias, Castellon, Genoa, Kos, Leipzig and Stockholm. The schedule also includes 33 based aircraft and in excess of 2,000 weekly frequencies. “Ryanair is offering the most varied selection of destinations and this additional growth will be delivered on more enviro efficient aircraft, which will reduce noise by 40% on Dublin airport’s new north runway,” CEO Eddie Wilson says.

Cebu Pacific has confirmed plans to begin flights from Clark in the Philippines to Singapore. The route will launch on April 28 and be served daily. The airline already flies to Singapore from flies from Manila, Cebu and Davao, and is working with the Singapore Tourism Board to make the routes a success. Key projects for 2023 will include joint marketing and promotions, and joint business development in the areas of fly-cruise and meetings.

SunExpress, a joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, will operate 26 new routes during the summer 2023 season. Fifteen of the new routes will be from the leisure destinations of Antalya, Izmir, Dalaman and Bodrum-Milas. CEO Max Kownatzki says: “Strong demand for Turkey continues for the summer period. As SunExpress, we are increasing our seat capacity by 13% and expanding our flight network with 26 new routes to meet this demand.” The airline carried 10.7 million passengers in 2022 and expects the total to top 12 million this year.

March 14


Egypt’s Air Cairo has launched service between Sharm el Sheikh and Astana, Kazakhstan. The route will be offered twice a week from March 14 using Airbus A320s, becoming the sole nonstop connection between the destinations. Air Cairo’s fleet includes nine A320s, 11 A320neos, four ATR 72s and three Embraer 190 aircraft.

Armenian LCC Fly Arna is adding direct flights to Baghdad. The service from Yerevan's Zvartnots International Airport will be operated twice a week from April 22. “This new route will offer a direct connectivity between both countries and contribute further to the development of Armenia’s travel and tourism sector,” Fly Arna spokesperson Gayane Antonyan said.

United Airlines is increasing frequencies between Newark and Edinburgh in Scotland during peak summer. Service will be operated 2X-daily from May 25 through Oct. 28 using Boeing 757-200s. “We know New York is a city that generates excitement for travel as well as its importance for business and trade, but this will also make inbound tourism that little bit easier by offering visitors from America another way to get here and see what Scotland has to offer,” said Kate Sherry, Edinburgh Airport's aviation director.

Air New Zealand is extending its temporary service between Tairāwhiti Gisborne and the Hawke's Bay, given roads between the two regions are still damaged due to flooding. The temporary service, due to come to an end on March 25, will now operate for a further eight weeks from April 10 to June 9. The two-week pause of the service between March 25 and April 10 will allow the airline to secure the crew and aircraft required to continue operating the route for the eight-week period. 

Spanish carrier Air Nostrum will resume domestic flights between Castellón and Seville on June 1. Service will be twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays through Oct. 15. The route was first launched in summer 2021 and operated for six weeks, before being increased to a 20-week operation period in 2022. Air Nostrum also flies from Castellón to Madrid.

March 13


Cebu Pacific is expanding inter-island connectivity between the central and southern parts of the Philippines with the resumption of two routes from its Iloilo hub. Starting June 23, the LCC will fly directly from Iloilo to Puerto Princesa four times per week. It will also operate flights between Iloilo and Cagayan De Oro three times a week starting June 24. With these two routes, Cebu Pacific will now directly fly to six domestic destinations from Iloilo. The airline currently operates direct flights to Manila, Cebu, Davao, and General Santos.

Mexican ULCC Viva Aerobus is increasing frequencies between Guadalajara (GDL) and Puerto Vallarta (PVR) following the grounding of Aeromar, which served the sector up to 4X-daily prior to the suspension of flights in February. Viva Aerobus will now operate the route 16X-weekly using Airbus A320s, up from 7X-weekly previously. TAR Aerolineas also offers four flights per week between the destinations. Viva Aerobus serves 22 routes from Guadalajara and six from Puerto Vallarta.

Tigerair Taiwan is launching a 2X-weekly Taiwan Taoyuan (TPE)-Phuket (HKT) service from May 10, becoming its second Thailand destination after Bangkok. Flights will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays through Oct. 28. Data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows the 3,074-km (1,660-nm) route is currently unserved.

Air Serbia has commenced a new route between its Belgrade (BEG) hub and Hungary’s capital Budapest (BUD). Flights will initially operate 10X-weekly using ATR 42/72 turboprops but will increase to 17X-weekly during the summer 2023 season. “With today’s flight to Budapest, we launched the first out of more than 20 destinations we will be operating flights to during the upcoming summer season, which were not a part of our network in 2022,” said Boško Rupić, Air Serbia's general manager commercial and strategy.

China’s Hainan Airlines is adding a second weekly frequency between Beijing Capital (PEK) and Belgrade. The route will rise to 2X-weekly from April 18 using Airbus A330-300 aircraft. Data provided by OAG shows the airline is the sole operator of flights between the cities.

David Casey

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