Welcome to my 73rd routes newsletter! I’ve covered a selection of new routes that took off in the past week, as well as some other notable developments. Why not sign up and receive my newsletter in your email inbox every week?
Bristol gets SWISS
UK regional airport Bristol has welcomed its first Zurich flights since 2014. Then, they were operated by Helvetic’s Fokker 100s (2011-2014), which came after British Airways CityExpress ended the Embraer 145 route in 2007.
Now Zurich-Bristol is back, with Swiss’s first flight on February 4th. The 575-mile (925km) link currently operates on Saturdays, but gradually rises to three weekly – Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays – this summer. It uses SWISS’s A220-300s for the rest of the winter season, before Helvetic’s Embraer 190s take over.
Click here for Zurich-Bristol flights.
Photo: via Bristol Airport.
Jazeera inaugurates Moscow
There are now non-stop flights between Kuwait and Moscow. It’s thanks to Jazeera Airways, the first carrier to serve the Russian capital from the Middle East country – at least in the past 20 years. While its Domodedovo route is currently twice to three weekly, it’ll increase to a whopping daily from the end of March.
For context, in 2019, Kuwait to all Moscow airports had fewer than 19,000 passengers, according to booking data. Yes, point-to-point demand will be stimulated, but it’ll mainly rely on transit passengers.
Jazeera is in expansion mode: Moscow is one of many new routes since the start of last year. Among others, it has added Bhairahawa, Chittagong, Dushanbe, Gassim, Hail, Munich, Namangan, Prague, Salalah, and Turkistan.
Photo: via Jazeera Airways.
Take off: Edelweiss to Jordan
Swiss leisure airline Edelweiss has launched its next two destinations in the Middle East. On February 2nd, it took off from Zurich – the only airport in Switzerland that it serves – to Amman and Aqaba. Using A320s, it operates outbound on Thursdays and Sundays and remains overnight in the resort-serving Aqaba. A coastal location, it is also close to Petra and the Wadi Rum desert.
On Thursdays, for example, flight WK160 departs Zurich at 13:20 and arrives in Amman at 19:30 local. After a 40-minute turn, the flight continues to Aqaba, arriving at 21:05; the Amman-Aqaba leg, just 157 miles (252km) apart, takes about 35 minutes.
After the aircraft and crew remain overnight in Aqaba, WK161 leaves for Amman at 11:50, arriving at 12:40. 40 minutes later, it is on its way again, arriving home at 15:45.
Click here for Zurich-Amman flights.
Photo: via Aqaba Airports Company.
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Porter turns a new (maple) leaf
Canadian regional operator Porter has inaugurated service using its first ever jet aircraft. Taking off on February 1st, it currently has six 132-seat Embraer 195-E2s; it is the first airline in North America to operate the E2. Its jet fleet is expected to double to twelve halfway through 2023 and up to 50 (!) by the end of next year.
Due to Toronto City Airport’s very short runway, Porter now flies from Toronto Pearson, the first time it has done so. Presently, it has six routes from the airport. Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver have all started, while Edmonton, Calgary, and Halifax will launch between February 14th and 23rd. All are served between twice daily and four daily. More Pearson routes – including to the US – are coming.
Click here for Toronto-Vancouver flights.
Photo: via Toronto Pearson Airport.
IndiGo begins 777 operations
On February 1st, IndiGo – overwhelmingly India’s biggest airline – began using the 777-300ER between Delhi and Istanbul Airport. It has damp leased the aircraft, which includes the aircraft, maintenance, insurance, and pilots. It doesn’t include cabin crew. It has leased 9.4-year-old TC-LKA, which was with Kenya Airways before it was acquired by Turkish Airlines in 2016.
With 400 seats, the 777 replaces IndiGo’s 222-seat A321neos, which stopped in Ras Al Khaimah en route to Istanbul to refuel. Operating daily, 6E11 leaves Delhi at 06:45 and arrives into Turkey at 11:45 local. After spending most of the day in Istanbul, enabling any maintenance to be carried out, 6E12 departs at 20:15 and arrives in India at 04:45+1.
If you think it sounds like it is effectively based in Turkey, it is. Indeed, as bilateral restrictions mean that Turkish Airlines cannot increase its own Delhi flights (or elsewhere in India), it is effectively using codeshare partner IndiGo instead. Looking ahead, it is believed that Turkish Airlines will acquire ultra-high-density 777-300ERs – those with well over 500 seats – partly for IndiGo, which will also be used on IndiGo’s coming Mumbai-Istanbul.
Click here for Delhi-Istanbul flights.
Photo: via IndiGo.
Air India resumes Milan
After last operating Delhi-Milan in early 2020, Air India is back. It relaunched the 3,834-mile (6,170km) route on February 1st and it operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. AI137 arrives in Malpensa at 18:30, while AI138 leaves at 20:00. Air India is the only airline on the route and uses its standard equipment to Europe: the 787-8.
In the past two decades, three airlines have served Milan-Delhi: Alitalia between 2006-2008; Jet Airways 2010-2013; and Air India from 2014. Their interest isn’t hard to understand. In 2019, it had 148,000 roundtrip passengers, a significant sum and the largest India market from Italy. However, it had an average fare of just $181 one-way (excluding taxes and any fuel surcharge). Milan-Delhi was 0.6% shorter in distance than Frankfurt-Delhi, yet had a 36% lower average fare.
Click here for Delhi-Milan flights.
Photo: via Milan Malpensa Airport.
That’s it for the 73rd edition of my routes newsletter. Sign up to get something like this in your inbox each week.