Routes In Brief: Rolling Daily Updates (W/C Nov. 20, 2023)
The latest airline route news, featuring network changes, schedule alterations, codeshares and interline agreements.
Vietnamese LCC Vietjet has inaugurated service from Ho Chi Minh City to Adelaide and Perth in Australia. The airline will operate a Ho Chi Minh City-Perth-Adelaide-Perth-Ho Chi Minh City service five times per week using Airbus A321 aircraft. “Vietnam has been a focus of ours for some time and we’re delighted that Vietjet has recognised the opportunity to add Adelaide to its network,” Adelaide Airport Managing Director Brenton Cox says. “We are confident the strong economic and tourism links between Vietnam and South Australia will translate into significant interest in these flights.”
FlyNamibia has announced plans to open a new route from Windhoek, Namibia, to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Flights will begin on April 4, 2024, operating three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. “This new route is a key element in FlyNamibia’s network expansion strategy, which aims to enhance regional connectivity and promote tourism within Namibia and position Windhoek as an alternative gateway to the region,” FlyNamibia Managing Director Andre Compion says.
Effective Dec. 11, TAAG Angola Airlines is increasing frequencies from its Luanda, Angola, hub to Windhoek; Pointe Noire, Republic of the Congo; Sao Tome; and Maputo, Mozambique. Service to Windhoek (WDH) rises to daily; Pointe-Noire (PNR) and Sao Tome (TMS) increase to 2X-weekly; and Maputo (MPM) grows to 5X-weekly.
Spain’s Volotea is expanding its services with the launch of a route between Strasbourg, France, and Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER). The airline operates twice a week between the destinations using Airbus A320s. Strasbourg is Volotea’s third new destination at BER this year following Verona in northern Italy and Lyon.
Canadian carrier Porter Airlines has opened two new routes to Orlando International Airport (MCO), with flights departing from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Ottawa International Airport (YOW). The start of service to Orlando marks the third new Florida destination that Porter has launched since the start of November, following Tampa and Fort Myers. Frequencies from both YYZ and YOW will be daily aboard Embraer E195-E2 aircraft.
JetSmart Peru will begin flying between Lima and Guayaquil, Ecuador, from next March. The route, which will operate three times per week, will be the airline’s first between the two countries. The only other operator of nonstop Peru-Ecuador service is LATAM Airlines Group, which offers a double-daily route Lima-Quito route and a 10X-weekly Lima-Guayaquil service at the present time.
Virgin Australia has announced a return to Uluru, expanding the airline’s domestic network with two new direct services from Melbourne and Brisbane, starting June 6, 2024, and June 7, respectively. Flights from Brisbane will operate three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while service from Melbourne will operate up to four times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. “Uluru is a special place in Australia and a cultural landmark that identifies this wonderful country to the world,” Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka says.
Hainan Airlines is increasing capacity to Manchester, England, during the northern summer 2024 season. Frequencies from Beijing Capital International Airport will rise from 4X-weekly to daily from June 3, 2024, through the end of September. The carrier will use Airbus A330-300 aircraft on the route. Manchester Airport MD Chris Woodroofe says: “Hainan Airlines’ decision to operate a daily Beijing flight from Manchester is testament to the success of the current service. More than 350,000 passengers have used it since it was first launched seven years ago.”
Widerøe has been offered the remaining subsidized air routes from the Norwegian government’s tender package. Norway’s Transport Ministry in October awarded Widerøe and DAT contracts for several subsidized regional air routes in the country, but discussions were continuing about several more. Widerøe says it will publish the schedules for the additional routes following consultation with relevant stakeholders. In October, Norway’s government also revealed plans to double the financial support offered for the country’s public service obligation routes, enabling fares for passengers to be halved.
United Airlines is the latest U.S. carrier to announce plans to serve Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport (TQO)—the new airport in Tulum, Mexico, set to open in December 2023. The Star Alliance member will offer a combined 22X-weekly services from Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport from March 31, 2024. On May 23, the airline will add daily seasonal service from Los Angeles International Airport. TQO will begin accepting international flights on March 28, 2024, when Spirit Airlines will launch service from Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Orlando International Airport, and Delta Air Lines will open flights from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. American Airlines will also serve TQO from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Miami International Airport.
Spain’s Volotea is launching a new route connecting Menorca Airport and Montpellier Airport, France. Flights will start on May 31, 2024, operating twice a week. The move increases the LCC’s network to 11 destinations from the Balearic island.
China Southern Airlines has returned to Australia’s Brisbane Airport (BNE) for the first time in almost four years, reconnecting the Queensland city with Guangzhou. The airline will initially operate four flights per week, rising to daily from Dec. 8. China Southern’s return is one of 26 deals negotiated as part of the Attracting Aviation Investment Fund in partnership with Queensland’s four international airports. Guangzhou is the 28th international destination now serviced directly from BNE.
Alaska Airlines has inaugurated new nonstop flights between Seattle/Everett and Honolulu, as well as between Portland, Oregon, and Miami. Service on each will be year-round and offered daily. Kirsten Amrine, vice president of revenue management and network planning for Alaska Airlines, says: “Our new nonstop between Seattle/Everett and Honolulu is our first regularly scheduled service connecting Paine Field to Hawaii. And our new coast-to-coast route between Portland and Miami links two destinations that were the largest underserved cities for each airport.”
Delta Air Lines has requested a blanket statement of authorization to engage in reciprocal codeshare services with El Al Israel Airlines. The application to the U.S. Transportation Department covers between any points in the U.S. and Israel; between any points in the U.S.; beyond the U.S. to any point; and beyond Israel to any point. Delta’s flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Boston International Airport and New York John F. Kennedy International Airport remain suspended because of the Israel-Hamas war.
Denver-based ULCC Frontier Airlines has restarted nonstop service from Buffalo Niagara International Airport, in New York, to Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. “Those in the Buffalo area now have an affordable and convenient option to escape the lake-effect snow and enjoy the sandy beaches of Southwest Florida,” says Frontier Airlines Vice President for Network and Operations Design Josh Flyr. Frequencies will be 4X-weekly.