December 2017: Route Review

As we edge closer to the beginning of the Summer Season, airlines are getting prepared with their route portfolio for the peak season of 2018. Here is my pick of the month’s route development highlights.

BMI Regional – Launching on the 22nd January 2018, BMI Regional will operate a twice-weekly connection between Bristol and Gothenburg, bringing the number of cities served by BMI from Bristol up to nine. Bristol is BMI’s biggest UK hub, but Gothenburg is already served from neighbouring UK airport,  Birmingham, by the airline. The route faces no direct competition and marks Bristol’s only direct connection to Sweden.

Norwegian – Expanding its transatlantic network to 61 routes, Norwegian announced new flights from the US to Amsterdam, Milan and Madrid. The airline will use its Boeing 787 Dreamliner equipment on all of the new routes. Four-weekly services will be launched between New York JFK-Amsterdam & Milan and Los Angeles-Madrid, in addition to a less frequent New York JFK-Madrid service – operating three-weekly.

Norwegian’s transatlantic network now consists of 61 routes.

Wizz Air – In a further move to bolster its position in the UK market, Wizz announced even more expansion from London Luton next summer. Flights will be launched from London Luton to Athens, Reykjavik & Bari throughout Spring. Furthermore, the newly announced Luton-Larnaca connection will be increased to a ten-weekly frequency before the flight has even launched. These new routes will give passengers the choice of 78 routes from nine UK airports with Wizz Air.

Wizz Air is the second largest carrier at London Luton Airport.

Cathay Pacific – Cathay Pacific has announced it will be the first airline to connect the US Capital and its Hong Kong base, from autumn 2018. Being the longest flight across Cathay’s network, the new flight will take over 17 hours to complete and will complement existing services to the East Coast of the USA, which operate to New York Newark, JFK and Boston. The airline has announced that the service will be operated by the new A350-1000 aircraft, the first of which is due to be delivered in Spring.

Meridiana – This Italian leisure airline – has long been known for its unique VFR and leisure-orientated routes across the atlantic from Naples and Palermo, with outdated 767 equipment. However, this may all be about to change, following the recent acquisition of the Italian carrier by Qatar Airways. In a move which sees the airline join five more established airlines on Italy’s prime long haul business route, Meridiana will launch regular services between Milan Malpensa and New York JFK – using Qatar Airways’ Airbus A330-200 equipment. It will also launch services from Milan to  Miami, again competing against American Airlines. Unlike other airlines on the route, Meridiana will add feeder flights from five domestic destinations in Italy including Rome, Naples, Palermo, Catania and Lamezia Terme. More details of the onboard product that will be offered on these new routes, will be revealed in the unveiling of the airline’s new business plan.

Meridiana uses Boeing 737 aircraft to operate its extensive network of internal Italian flights.

Scoot – The Singapore Airlines subsidiary recently launched services to Athens, and in December, they set their eyes on yet another European destination: Berlin. The four-weekly service will be operated with Boeing 787 Dreamliner equipment, and will take up to thirteen hours. Singapore Airlines currently flies to Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Munich in Germany – so it is likely business travellers to the German capital may still choose to travel with mainline Star Alliance carriers.

Scoot already serves Athens in Europe, Jeddah in the Middle East and Honolulu in North America – all with Boeing 787 equipment.

Fly Dubai – The Dubai based low-cost airline, whom recently increased their ties with Emirates – are expanding their flights across the European continent.  From April, they will launch flights with their Boeing 737 MAX from Dubai to Krakow – then, in June, to Catania. The new services will feed onto Emirates’ vast network of onward destinations from Dubai. The new flights to Krakow in Southern Poland will give Polish travellers the ease of flying to Asia without travelling to Poland and give overseas visitors easier access to one of the most visited destinations in the country. Fly Dubai is using its narrowbody aircraft to serve smaller, more niche, European destinations to account for Emirates’ lack of suitable equipment – essentially giving the Middle Eastern giant more leverage over its competitors.

That’s all for this month! If you want to receive our monthly newsletter and know when new articles are published then sign up below! In the meantime, if you’d like any specific routes to be covered here, don’t hesitate to contact me.