Route Development Briefs

Singapore Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines in Codeshare Deal

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has expanded its network in Africa, although it will not be adding its own flights to the continent.  The carrier has entered into a codeshare arrangement with future Star Alliance partner Ethiopian Airlines enabling it to offer a new link to Addis Ababa from November 1.  Under the agreement, SIA will add its ‘SQ’ code to Ethiopian’s daily flights between Dubai and Addis Ababa.  On a reciprocal basis, Ethiopian Airlines will add its ‘ET’ code to seven SIA-operated flights per week between Singapore and Dubai.  SIA currently serves this route eleven times every week.

Air China Switches Tianjin – Taipei Link

Air China is to move its twice weekly service from Tianjin to the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, from Taoyuan to the downtown Sung Shan Airport.  The airline struggled to compete with EVA Air on its flights but will now go head-to-head with TransAsia Airways on the revised routing.  An estimated 96,000 O&D passengers travelled between the two cities in the past year with Air China holding a 29 per cent share of this market.

Aeroflot Set to Fly to Bologna

Aeroflot Russian Airlines is set to introduce the first scheduled link between Moscow and the Italian city of Bologna.  The carrier is looking to launch a daily service between the two cities from June 1, 2012, subject to final approval from authorities.  The Russian flag carrier already serves three destinations in Italy with twice daily links to Milan Malpensa, Rome Fiumicino and Venice Marco Polo.  An estimated 978,000 O&D passengers travelled between Moscow and Italy in the past year.  Aeroflot dominates this market with a 31.0 per cent share of the traffic, followed by Alitalia (24.6 per cent) and Lufthansa (11.4 per cent); the latter’s figure due to the operations of its Lufthansa Italia venture which closes this month.

Singapore Airlines Cargo Adds Freighter Service to Frankfurt

Singapore Airlines Cargo is to start serving Frankfurt with dedicated freighter services from the first week of November.  The airline will operate to the German city twice every week from November 2 with flights arriving from and departing to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  The new flights are sectors on a wider link to Europe from Asia and India.  The aircraft originate in Singapore before flying to Bangalore on Wednesdays and Chennai on Thursdays and on to Sharjah and Frankfurt prior to returning to the UAE city and Singapore.

Velvet Sky Adds New Domestic Routes

South African budget carrier Velvet Sky is to expand its network this winter with new links between Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.  The new routes will be introduced from the first week of November and will see two or three weekly flights between Cape Town and Durban and three weekly flights from Cape Town and Durban to Port Elizabeth, increasing to four times weekly from December 2.  In addition to opening up this new coastal route, Velvet Sky will also the frequency of its flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town to up to seven flights per day as well as introducing additional evening flights between Johannesburg and Durban.  With existing flights from Johannesburg to both Cape Town and Durban, the airline says launching the Cape Town – Durban route was a logical addition, to complete its network triangle.  The growth will be facilitated by the arrival of another two Boeing 737s into the Velvet Sky fleet.

Liege and Chongqing Airports Agree Cargo Partnership

Liege Airport in Belgium has signed an agreement with China's Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport, in a bid to expand cargo operations.  The two gateways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to encourage cooperation and “strengthen exchanges” between them.  The airports are already linked by the air services of TNT Express Worldwide, whose European hub is at Liege.  Both airports have been expanding their presence in the cargo market over recent years.  Liege Airport is an international airport “with a full focus on cargo operations” which it hopes to expand across Europe, Africa and the Americas.  Meanwhile, Chongqing Airport has been growing rapidly in line with the economic growth of the region, and the gateway has also been developing its route network to strengthen its position as an air hub.  “The partnership between Liege Airport and Chongqing Airport Group can offer much more than just another link between Europe and China,” said Luc Partoune, Chief Executive Officer, Liege Airport.  “Via the existing customers in Liege, every remote corner of Europe can be reached. Daily cargo flights into Africa, as well as scheduled connections with the Americas, link all Liege Airport operators to the rest of the world.”

easyJet Adds Link to Crete

UK carrier easyJet has confirmed it will launch a link to Heraklion in Crete from London Luton Airport from April 21, 2012, adding to its existing UK links to the Mediterranean island from Bristol, London Gatwick and Manchester.  An estimated 268,000 O&D passengers travelled on scheduled flights between the UK and Heraklion last year and easyJet held a 48.8 per cent share of this market with passenger traffic up 3.1 per cent on the previous 12 month period.  The airline will initially offer just a weekly rotation on the route but could boost its schedules subject to customer demand. It presently offers ten flights per week from London Gatwick, three from Manchester and two from Bristol.  It also flies to Crete from its Berlin Schoenefeld base on a twice weekly basis.

Air Canada and SriLankan Airlines Launch Codeshare

Air Canada and SriLankan Airlines have signed a codeshare agreement that will make flying between Canada and Sri Lanka more convenient.  The new partnership will allow travellers to make connections between the two airlines’ services on a single ticket itinerary, with checked-through baggage and other benefits that will create a seamless travel experience.  The travel market between Canada and Sri Lanka has been growing at a double-digit rate and this agreement will allow efficient connections between North America and the Indian sub-continent at European gateways such as Frankfurt, London and Paris.  Canada is home to Sri Lanka's largest expatriate community.

Amsterdam Schiphol Welcomes One Billionth Passenger

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, the largest gateway to the Netherlands and one of Europe’s leading aviation hubs, celebrated handling its one billionth passenger this week.  The milestone customer arrived in the Dutch capital on the morning of October 19 on a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight from New York, where she was greeted by a welcoming party including Jos Nijhuis, President and CEO, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Peter Hartman, President and CEO, KLM.  “Since the foundation of the airport in 1916, we have built up a network of connections that links the Netherlands to the rest of the world via 303 destinations in more than 100 countries. Schiphol has grown into an airport that is vital to the Dutch economy and an important driving force for job creation in the region. Today we have reached the milestone of one billion passengers and we are celebrating this with passengers, airlines, ground handlers and staff," said Jos Nijhuis.  “This is a special day for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.”

Starbow Airlines Expands Domestic Network

Start-up carrier Starbow Airlines is to add flights to another two destinations in Ghana later this month following its launch last month.  The carrier inaugurated flights with its BAe 146-300s on September 26 with a 12 times weekly link between its base at Kotoka International Airport in Accra and the city of Kumasi.  It will now add a six times weekly Accra – Tamale service from October 26 and a five times weekly Accra – Takoradi link from October 31.  Both routes are already served by Africa World Airlines and Antrak Air with an estimated 29,000 and 24,000 O&D passengers travelling during the past 12 months.  Looking ahead Starbow Airlines plans to take advantage of the limited capacity in the West African market by establishing regional international links on routes up to three hours in duration.  The airline confirms that destinations currently on its radar include Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Monrovia, Liberia; Bamako, Mali; Niamey,  Niger; Lagos, Nigeria and Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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