The first month of 2023 will see a string of eye-catching new routes being launched, including further expansion by Wizz Air in Saudi Arabia.
The Hungarian ULCC plans to launch five new services to the Middle Eastern country in January, opening flights to Jeddah (JED) and Riyadh (RUH) from both Budapest (BUD) and Bucharest (OTP), as well as between Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Jeddah.
The growth increased the number of Saudi routes offered by Wizz to 11, following on from services launched from Milan Malpensa (MXP), Rome and Vienna (VIE) during the second half of 2022. OAG data shows that the carrier intends provide more than 10,500 weekly seats to and from Saudi Arabia by the end of the month.
Elsewhere, Taiwan’s China Airlines is adding flights to points in the Vietnam and Thailand beyond each country’s capital city. Service from Taipei (TPE) to Da Nang (DAD) started on Jan. 2, with flights to Routes Asia 2023 host Chiang Mai (CNX) beginning on Jan. 20. Each route will operate four times per week using a 180-seat Airbus A321neo aircraft in a two-class configuration.
The 2,396-km (1,294-nm) route to Chiang Mai will become China Airlines’ second to Thailand alongside its existing service to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (BKK), which is served up to three times per day.
In the US, Frontier Airlines intends to launch five new routes from Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) where it is the third largest airline. Starting in January, the ULCC’s network will see the addition of flights to Indianapolis (IND), Kansas City (MCI), Minneapolis (MSP), Nashville (BNA) and Seattle (SEA).
The latest expansion comes after Frontier opened a new crew base at PHX in November. It expects to employ more than 450 staff within its first year, including around 180 pilots.