As we edge into autumn, airlines are already planning their summer 2019 flying programme (United and American have both announced a deluge of service changes for next year) so the next couple of weeks promise to be filled with new route announcements helping to shape airlines’ operations for the coming year. In this Aviation Round-Up, I outline my picks of the biggest route development stories of recent weeks.
Iceland’s low-cost carrier to launch flights to Orlando
Icelandic carrier, WOW Air, has announced its next new destination to be launched this December. The airline will operate three-weekly seasonal flights from its Reykjavik hub to Orlando-International, utilising Airbus A321neo equipment. Blocked at 8hrs25mins westbound and ~3,534 miles, this route will be one of the longest to be operated by the Airbus A320 family when it launches on December 18th.
This is the latest instalment in WOW Air’s rapid expansion; since launching their first US flights to Boston in 2015, the airline now operates to 15 North American cities from Washington D.C. to San Francisco – with the primary goal of opening up transatlantic flying to a larger audience. Keen to demonstrate this, WOW Air is offering promotional fares starting from just £129.99 one-way between the UK and Orlando, connecting through the airline’s Iceland hub, to celebrate the new route.
United Airlines announces a trio of new routes to Europe
United Airlines has announced a trio of new routes to Europe from various hubs across the US – two new summer seasonal destinations and one new year-round route. The airline will be the only US carrier to offer nonstop flights to Naples, launching a new route to the Amalfi Coast from New York Newark. United’s new service to Naples will be its sixth nonstop service to Italy and is conveniently timed for connecting customers from more than 60 destinations across the United States. Elsewhere in Europe, Prague will gain a new summer seasonal connection to New York Newark. Both of these new routes will operate with Boeing 767-300 equipment and will inaugurate in summer 2019.
United will also launch a new year-round connection between San Francisco and Amsterdam, building on existing services to the Netherlands from New York, Chicago, Houston and Washington D.C. The new flight will utilise United’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner equipment, operating on a daily basis from March 2019.
British Airways Cityflyer heads to Rome; says more new routes to come
During 2019, British Airways Cityflyer is set to base an additional four Embraer E190 aircraft at London City Airport, increasing the number of aircraft in CityFlyer’s fleet to 26. The first new route as a result of this expansion will be a connection to the Italian capital, in the form of a six-weekly London City to Rome Fiumicino flight beginning this November.
In a teasing statement, British Airways promised that there were more new routes to come – saying that Rome is “the first of a number of new routes and extra flights to be announced for next year” – implying that CityFlyer’s tally of destinations from London City will increase further.
American Airlines alters its European network
AA has made a host of modifications to its European network for next summer’s flying programme, including nine new routes to meet customer demand.
The airline will begin two new seasonal routes from Dallas-Fort Worth to Dublin and Munich, both operating with American’s Dreamliner aircraft and expand its footprint in Greece with an additional seasonal Boeing 787-8 service from Athens to Chicago O’Hare. Four new routes will be launched from Philadelphia – to Edinburgh, Berlin Tegel, Bologna and Dubrovnik – all of which will operate on a seasonal basis. American Airlines will complement its joint-venture partner with a new daily seasonal frequency from Phoenix to London Heathrow, utilising Boeing 777-200ER equipment. Finally, the airline will be launching just one year-round route from Charlotte to Munich, operated by ex-US Airways Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Unfortunately, to facilitate this expansion, AA will be cancelling a number of European routes. The long-standing Chicago-Manchester flight will be cut – leaving the North of England without a link to the Windy City – 3 routes will be cancelled from Philadelphia, to Glasgow, Munich and Frankfurt and American will further diminish JFK’s importance as an East Coast connecting hub with flights to the Irish capital, Dublin, and Edinburgh both coming to an end.
Other Aviation Stories
Flybe refreshes its livery, in sync with new ‘Close To You’ branding
Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has announced a new livery to be applied to its fleet of Bombardier Q400 and Embraer E175 aircraft. The airline anticipates that 10 aircraft will be repainted every year, with the entire fleet repainted by 2025.
The new scheme, designed to appear sharp and sleek, will be applied at no extra cost to the business and is being implemented in spite of the fact that Flybe’s fleet has not yet been fully repainted in the previous livery redesign. The new look harmonises with Flybe’s new ‘Close To You’ brand message – which conveys the airline’s ambition to connect all regions of the United Kingdom and deliver a friendly, personable service.
LATAM embarks on $400m cabin upgrade programme
Latin America’s largest airline has embarked on a $400 million investment to upgrade its onboard product. The passenger experience on both long-haul and short-haul aircraft will be improved, with over 150 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft being retrofitted with Recaro seats and USB outlets and Boeing 767, 777, 787 and Airbus A350-1000 aircraft set to receive new cabins in all classes.
Business Class travellers will see the biggest upgrade, with new Thompson Aero seats offering direct aisle access in a 1-2-1 configuration, 18″ IFE screens and fully-flat seats.
“On-board experience is one of the most important differentiators in choosing an airline and the most relevant factor in customer satisfaction, and so it was essential that our passengers were involved in the development process of our new cabins.”
-Claudia sender, president of latam airlines group
Come back in two week’s time for your next aviation round-up.