Route rundown: STN-IAD, PEK-MEX, RUH-DXB

This week: Primera Air adds Washington Dulles from London Stansted, while Hainan Airlines will become the first Chinese airline to operate non-stop flights between China and Mexico.

Nigel MayesNigel Mayes is the senior vice president, consulting & product development at ASM. Nigel has more than 15 years’ experience in route development and is responsible for product development at ASM.

The sister company to Routes, ASM is the world‘s leading route development consultancy and has supported the creation of new air services since 1993.

Route 1: London Stansted – Washington Dulles

Primera Air rundown



 Primera Air logo


Airbus A321neo


Five weekly

Start date

22 August 2018


5,956 km

O&D traffic demand (2017)


Growth % YOY


Average one-way fare $ (2017)



Primera's planned Stansted – Washington Dulles service comes more than a decade after the last direct flights between the two airports when the route was operated by MAXjet Airways, which ceased operations in late 2007. The airline will serve Washington Dulles five times a week from 22 August with its new Airbus A321neo fleet, which will start operations in April. In addition, Primera is also increasing its planned flight frequency to Toronto from Stansted from three to five flights per week. The move comes a week after it cancelled its planned flights from Birmingham to Boston. Washington is currently served from London Heathrow by British Airways (14 weekly), United Airlines (21) and Virgin Atlantic (six) so Primera will be hoping to capture a share of the market with its low-cost fares. 

Route 2: Beijing – Tijuana – Mexico City 

Hainan A330


Carrier  Hainan Airlines
Aircraft Boeing 787-8 
Frequency Three weekly
Start date 21 March 2018 
Distance 12,455 km
O&D traffic demand (2017) 14,155
Growth % YOY 2.45%
Average one-way fare $ (2017) $723.44


Hainan Airlines will become the first Chinese airline to operate non-stop flights between China and Mexico when it launches Beijing – Tijuana – Mexico City in March. Although O&D demand between China and Mexico is relatively small, it has grown in recent years, rising from 55,000 in 2012 to 129,000 in 2017. Aeromexico is the only carrier to operate direct services between the two countries on a Mexico City – Tijuana – Shanghai Pu Dong – Mexico City routing. However, Hainan Airlines said it has been following the Mexican market since 2011, and the relaxation of Mexican visas to Chinese citizens has helped in the launch of the new flight. The Tijuana routing will help it to tap into the San Diego – China market given the close proximity of the two cities. After the election of US president Donald Trump, China and Mexico have also pledged to deepen their diplomatic ties, with two-way trade between both nations amounted to $74.9bn in 2016.

Route 3: Riyadh – Dubai

saudigulf_ rundown


Carrier  saudi_Gulf_loader.png
Aircraft Airbus A320 
Frequency Twice daily
Start date 1 March 2018
Distance 872 km
O&D traffic demand (2017) 1,329,640
Growth % YOY -2%
Average one-way fare $ (2017) $231.08


SaudiGulf will launch its international operations in March, connecting the Saudi capital Riyadh to Dubai. This will be followed by four four cities in Pakistan to Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Sailikot from its hub in Dammam. The airline will face strong competition on the route as Emirates (30.7 percent capacity share in 2018), Flydubai (8.2 percent share), Flynas (18.3 percent share), Saudi Arabian Airlines (37.2 percent share) and Sky Pearl (0.7 percent share) all operate services. 

Source: Sabre Market Intelligence