I’ve covered a selection of new routes that took off in the past week. Why not sign up and receive my newsletter in your email inbox every week?
IndiGo’s 100th destination
Some 100 destinations now comprise IndiGo’s network, according to the airline. The 100th was Ras Al Khaimah, in the UAE, around 75 miles (120km) up the coast from Dubai. It is IndiGo’s fourth airport in the country, joining Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah, and one of 11 across the Middle East.
IndiGo has introduced Mumbai to Ras Al Khaimah. With a 1x daily service, it uses the A320. Aside from service by SpiceJet between October last year and this March, part of the air bubble, it’s the only time the airport pair has been served.
Ras Al Khaimah is IndiGo’s 11th Middle East destination. Photo: via IndiGo.
JetBlue starts Boston-Heathrow
There are now 9x daily flights between Boston and London. While not a record, it’s the joint highest number ever. It’s partly thanks to JetBlue, which has inaugurated a 1x daily Boston-London Heathrow service using – you guessed it – A321LRs.
It supplements its 1x daily Boston-Gatwick that started in August, reconnecting the airport pair after Norwegian last served it in March 2020.
JetBlue is one of six airlines between Boston and London – two more than in September 2019. It joins British Airways (3x daily), American (1x daily), Delta (1x daily), United (1x daily), and Virgin (1x daily).
JetBlue now has four Europe routes. Photo: via Boston Logan International Airport.
Take off: Dubai to Samarkand
Uzbekistan’s largest city and a key tourist site because of the Silk Road, Samarkand is finally linked to Dubai. It’s because of flydubai, the narrowbody sister of Emirates.
It has a 2x weekly service using two-class, 166-seat B737 MAX 8s. FZ769 leaves the UAE on Tuesdays and Fridays at 22:40 and arrives in Uzbekistan at 02:50 local. Returning, FZ770 departs at 04:05 on Wednesdays and Saturdays and arrives back at 06:40.
Samarkand is flydubai’s seventh Central Asian destination. It joins Almaty, Bishkek, Dushanbe, Namangan, Nur-Sultan, and Tashkent. Nonetheless, this month, Central Asia – a region barely discussed – still has only 4% of the airline’s flights.
The first flight touched down in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, at 02:39 local. Photo: via Samarkand International Airport.
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Jetlines commences operations
Canada has another carrier: Jetlines. It describes itself as a “value-driven leisure airline.” On September 22nd, its first revenue-generating flight took off from Toronto to Calgary, some 1,675 miles (2,696km) apart, using its only A320. It expects 15 aircraft by 2025.
Toronto-Calgary is its sole route, and it runs 2x weekly. It’ll increase to 3x weekly from October. Unusually for a new entrant, it is, for now, the only route bookable or mentioned on its website.
With up to 26x daily departures this week, Toronto-Calgary is Canada’s third-largest domestic market by flights. Jetlines competes head-to-head with five others: WestJet (10x daily), Air Canada (8x to 10x daily), Flair (up to 2x daily), Lynx (up to 2x daily), and Air Transat (5x weekly).
There are now six airlines on Toronto-Calgary. Photo: via Jetlines.
Fly Arna to Sochi
Fly Arna is Armenia’s new national airline. A collaboration between the Armenian government and Air Arabia, it started operations in July. It has just introduced its second Russia route: Yerevan to Sochi. It runs 3x weekly using A320s and supplements existing Moscow Domodedovo.
Despite being just 323 miles (520km) apart and with a flight time of less than an hour, Fly Arna leaves Yerevan at 02:35 and arrives at 02:50 local (one hour behind). Returning, it departs at 04:00 and arrives back at 06:15. Middle-of-the-night schedules are commonplace in the Caucasus.
It is the fifth airline on the airport pair. There’s also Aeroflot, Fly One, Red Wings, and UTAir.
Fly Arna serves Sochi from Yerevan 3x weekly. Photo: via Sochi International Airport.
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Ethiopian’s 11th Middle East route
With more flights than any continent other than Africa, the Middle East is an important part of Ethiopian Airlines’ network. Now it has another route there: Amman. It’s the first time in more than a decade that Addis Ababa-Amman has been served – although the first time by Ethiopian.
Ethiopian operates its 3x weekly Amman service overnight to maximize connectivity across Africa. It leaves Addis at 22:30 and arrives back at 06:40. It’s the same setup as for its Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North America flights.
Amman is Ethiopian’s 11th Middle East route, alongside Bahrain, Beirut, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait, Muscat, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv.
New routes have appeared as Ethiopian flies out of the crisis. Photo: via Queen Alia International Airport (Amman).
MAI launches Hanoi
Located 699 miles (1,124km) apart, Yangon to Hanoi – Myanmar to Vietnam – has nonstop service again. It last had flights in March 2020 by Vietnam Airlines and VietJet. And between August 2016 and June 2017, Emirates flew, routing Dubai-Yangon-Hanoi and back.
Things are different now. For the first time, the route’s in the hands of Myanmar Airways International (MAI), with 2x weekly flights by Embraer 190s. However, while it’s not yet bookable, Vietnam Airlines has scheduled a return in March, three years after being suspended. It’ll run 1x daily using A321s and will compete directly with MAI.
MAI now links Yangon-Hanoi. Photo: via MAI.
Air Serbia begins 4th Russia route
Benefiting from Russian sanctions that mean most European nations have no flights to/from the country, Air Serbia has inaugurated another route. It now links Belgrade to Kazan, although rerouting to avoid Ukraine and Belarus airspace adds about a quarter more miles (or km).
With 2x weekly A319 flights, JU668 leaves Serbia at 18:00 and arrives at 23:00 local. Returning, JU669 departs at 23:55 and arrives back at 03:05. These timings increase two-way connections over Belgrade.
Depending on the day, Air Serbia has 2x or 3x Russia flights. Kazan joins Sochi, which began in June, and long-standing Moscow Sheremetyevo and St Petersburg.
The first rotation used YU-APK, a 19.1-year-old A319, originally delivered to Royal Brunei in September 2003. After a brief stint with Cyprus’ Cobalt Air from September 2016, it joined Air Serbia’s fleet in May 2019. Photo: via Kazan International Airport.
That’s it for the 56th edition of my routes newsletter. Sign up to get something like this in your inbox each week.