As we slide into Autumn, airlines are rushed off their feet – planning new additions and making difficult cuts, in preparation for the Summer 2019 season. Take a look at my top picks of the most recent developments in aviation…
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines bets on Las Vegas
The Dutch National carrier – KLM – has added an 18th North American destination to its portfolio. By summer 2019, the airline will offer three-weekly flights from Amsterdam to Las Vegas – utilising Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner equipment seating 294 passengers on-board (30 World Business Class seats, 45 Economy Comfort seats and 219 Economy Class seats). The new route will initially launch on a twice-weekly basis in June 2019, before expanding to three-weekly on 2nd July 2019.
As a result of slot restrictions at KLM’s home airport – Amsterdam Schipol – the airline will have to make adjustments to its current route network to accommodate this new flight. From 29th March, KLM’s flights to Monrovia and Freetown will cease to operate – launched only in 2017. The airline says that, under normal circumstances, the route would have been allowed more time to grow but believes its slots can be utilised more profitably on a different route.
Air France ventures to Dallas-Fort Worth and Quito, Ecuador
KLM’s fellow SkyTeam partner, Air France, is also developing its flying programme for Summer 2019. The airline will be launching flights to two-new long-haul destinations.
Air France’s 13th US destination – Dallas Fort-Worth – will be served from Paris CDG, beginning 31st March 2019. The new route will be operated with the airline’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft, with five-weekly flights in peak season, configured with three cabin classes.
Air France has also announced services to a new South American destination – to be operated by its subsidiary, JOON.
The new Paris CDG-Quito service will operate three-times weekly with Airbus A340-300 equipment, with 30 seats in Business Class, 21 in Premium Economy and 227 in Economy Class. This new development means that Air France will join European partner’s KLM in operating to one of the world’s highest altitude cities – the Ecuadorian capital, Quito.
Aer Lingus launches 2 NEW North American destinations
Aer Lingus has confirmed that it will launch services to both Minneapolis and Montréal next year, after a month of rumours. Both routes will operate on a daily basis, launching in July and August 2019 respectively. Whilst the airline’s new route to Minnesota will be operated by leased Boeing 757-200 aircraft, the new Dublin-Montréal flight will be operated by newly delivered Airbus A321LR aircraft.
These latest plans for transatlantic expansion come after years of steady, yet sustained growth in the North American market. The carrier has expanded even more rapidly since IAG (the parent company of British Airways, Iberia and others) bought it – with new routes being added to Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Hartford, New York Newark, Philadelphia, Seattle and Miami since 2015.
With 12 Airbus A321LR aircraft on order, the future looks bright for Aer Lingus – who are likely to take advantage of the aircraft’s qualities and launch more “long and thin” routes to destinations that simply weren’t feasible with larger aircraft such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Air Belgium goes seasonal with Charleroi-Hong Kong service
Air Belgium has confirmed that it will temporarily pause its flights from Brussels South-Charleroi to Hong Kong, effective from 1st October through to March 2019 – after operating for just one season. The airline says that the pause is due to the ‘non-respect of contractual terms’ by one of Air Belgium’s major commercial partners.
The airline, however, reiterates its commitment to continue operations after this pause and its ambitions to launch services to Mainland China destinations such as Zhengzhou.
Deliveries & Other Aviation Stories
Shanghai Airlines receives Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Shanghai Airlines – subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines – has recieved its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, registered B-1111.
The aircraft is the 100th Boeing-manufactured aeroplane in their fleet, powered by General Electric GEnx-1B engines. Shanghai Airlines is expected to operate the aircraft from Shanghai to Chengdu, Beijing, Japan and Korea.
Delta’s first Airbus A220 makes an appearance
Delta’s first Airbus A220-100 has emerged from the paint shop at the final assembly line in Mirabel, Québec.
The airline has 75 of the Airbus A220 series aircraft on order – the most of any airline – and is the first US airline to operate the variant. The aircraft will carry out its maiden flight in Autumn, before being delivered to the airline next year.
First Airbus A380 for All Nippon Airways takes flight
ANA’s first Airbus A380 “Superjumbo” has taken flight, before it is deployed on the Tokyo-Honolulu sector early next year.
The first of three Airbus A380s for the Japanese airline on the orderbook, is now awaiting painting of its livery and installation of cabin products in Hamburg, Germany.
As previously reported on LondonSpotter, ANA has planned a series of special liveries for its Airbus A380 aircraft and will install fully-enclosed First Class suites onboard.
The liveries represent the main elements of the Hawaiian islands, depicting either sky, ocean or sunset – respectively named Lani, Kai and Ka La.
Get your next round-up of all the latest news, within the aviation industry, in two weeks’ time.