New Airline Routes Unveiled
There is certainly a buzz in the air - and it's all down to travellers getting excited as airlines prove that the skies aren't the limit when it comes to new flight routes.
While airports are getting 21st century makeovers, airlines are investing in opening their wings to new cities and continents at a cracking rate in their bid to whisk passengers to new and better hotspots, or help bridge potential business frontiers.
So as a Wise Traveller, why not settle in and enjoy the ride as we take you on a flight path through a schedule of routes that you could find yourself taking very soon.
Malaysia's king of the airways has been busy consolidating its business, while sniffing out new growth prospects beyond its traditional route runs. AirAsia has agreed to increase frequency to a daily service from Kuala Lumpur to Boracay Island from October 23. Taking off ahead of the tourism season, it enables tourists to plug into AirAsia's extensive flight network.
Its affiliate, AirAsia X, is expanding into China with a new direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Chongqing, its 6th destination. With flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Xi’An, the low-fare carrier will be the only airline offering direct flights between the two cities when its commences four-weekly flights from February 13, 2015.
The AirAsia India brand, a three-way tie up with Tata Group and investment vehicle Telestra Tradeplace, has been ruffling feathers in the highly competitive Indian market with its new routes and promotional offers.
It began with flights on the Kochi-Bangalore-Chennai-Goa run, and has announced two new routes from Bangalore to Chandigarth and Jaipur from September 2014. The company will be operational with five airplanes by November 2014, allowing more capacity out of Chennai.
The budget end of Thai Airways International plans to provide services to Chiang Mai, Phuket and Khon Kaen from Don Mueang airport. Eight flights will depart Don Mueang on Aug 8 with the rest following by Oct 26.
Cathay continues to go from strength and strength and has just announced three additional nonstop flights a week to its current daily nonstop service between Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Hong Kong, effective from August 2014.
The three new nonstops will depart O'Hare Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, and return from Hong Kong on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Cathay says the additional service will allow passengers to make same day connections to other Asian destinations.
Low budget alternatives in Asia are also getting in on the act for new flight routes. Singapore Airlinels budget, Scoot, is tying up with Tiger Airways to offer connections to Chennai in India, and Sydney. Scoot, launched two years ago, flies from Singapore to 12 cities.
One that normally stays below the radar for most passengers, Vietnam Airlines is slowly making a noise in the airlines sector. Having signed a reciprocal agreement with India's Jet Airways, it will now allow passengers to connect to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi through Singapore and Bangkok.
Passengers travelling from Vietnam can get to India on Vietnam Airlines flights to Bangkok and Singapore. They can take Jet Airways flights to Chennai (only from Singapore), Mumbai and Delhi. The code-share begins August, 2014.
The national carrier of Laos has unveiled plans to connect southern city Paske with Vietnam's central coast province of Da Nang with three flights a week. The aim is to shorten travel time overland from Laos to Vietnam and open a new front for tourists travelling from Thailand through Laos to Vietnam.
Cathy Pacific's subsidiary has announced a new route to Vietnam's Da Nang, three times a week. It will be operating an Airbus A320, with a 180 passenger capacity. The airline currently operates ten flights a week between Hong Kong and Hanoi.
Qatar continues to spread across the world at an alarming rate due to its popularity in delivering what the customer wants: affordability with a dash of luxury.
So it's no surprise that it has announced plans to ramp up operations to Madrid from November 16, 2014, with three extra flights a week, meaning ten a week to the city.
United Arab Emirates-based Etihad will be launching six new routes in 2015: daily flights to Edinburgh, in Scotland; Madrid in Spain; India's Kolkata; Entebbe in Uganda, and four flights a week to Hong Kong and thrice weekly to Algeria’s capital, Algiers.
Daily flights to Brisbane, in Australia, currently flying via Singapore, will become a direct from June 2015 - the first non-stop connection between the city and Abu Dhabi.
Etihad is also entering into an agreement with Alitalia in Italy. This comes with increased frequency from Rome's Fiumicino and Abu Dhabi from five times a week to a daily service. There will also be a new daily service between Milan Malpensa and Abu Dhabi.
From summer 2015, Alitalia also plans new connections between Abu Dhabi and Venice, Catania and Bologna.
Etihad's global reach will go further from November with an expanded US network to six destinations with the launch of a daily service to San Francisco from November 2014. It currently flies double-daily to New York and daily to Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington. It will launch a three-times weekly service to Dallas in December 2014.
Etihad is also cashing in on the Indian sub-continent, with a codeshare with Jet Airways. Flights from Abu Dhabi to Goa, Pune, Lucknow and Ahmedabad will be launched by 2015.
Emirates is adding a fourth daily flight between Dubai and Johannesburg from October 26. The new flight path is a codeshare between Emirates and South African Airways.
Emerging from the country's crisis of recent times, the national flag carrier is beginning thrice-weekly flights from Cairo to New Delhi. This will supplement the existing four-times-a-week service to Mumbai.
The new flight path is linked to Egypt's push to bolster its badly hit tourism sector. In 2010, 170,000 Indian tourists visited Egypt but that spiralled down to 90,000 in 2013. Egypt hopes to bring in 100,000 Indian visitors in 2014, and, if the politically stability continues, a 25 per cent uptick in 2015.
Bahrain's national carrier is on a bounce back with plans to open up a new flight path to Moscow, in Russia, from October 28, 2014. Operating four flights per week to Domodedovo International Airport, it follows Gulf Air’s new flight plans to Pakistan; Tehran, in Iran, and Athens, in Greece.
While Middle East airlines have revealed new flights into the US, United Airlines has announced plans to ramp up services to Asian markets, including China.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand has had a government nod for its alliance with Singapore Airlines. The alliance means ANZ can fly the Auckland-Singapore route and SIA to operate an A380 to New Zealand for the first time. ANZ will launch daily services between Auckland and Singapore.
Delta Air Lines
Delta will launch a daily Amsterdam to Salt Lake City flight from May 2015. The airline’s existing daily service from Paris is the only trans-Atlantic service offered by any airline from Salt Lake City. Services from Amsterdam will begin with five flights a week on May 1, 2015 rising to a daily operation from May 14, 2015.
The Dutch carrier will launch a circular service to Colombian cities Bogota and Cali from 2015. Starting March 31, KLM will fly three-times a week from Amsterdam stopping in Bogota and Cali, and return directly to the Dutch capital.
Norwegian is now flying between Copenhagen and Bangkok as part of its expanded long-haul operation. The airline flies a B787 Dreamliner twice weekly to the Thai capital on Thursdays and Sundays, with the return on Fridays and Mondays.
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