Welcome to my 61st weekly routes newsletter, which coincides with airlines in the Northern Hemisphere switching to winter schedules and those in the Southern Hemisphere changing to summer.

I’ve covered a small selection of the hundreds that have taken off, with more from the change of seasons next week. Why not sign up and receive my newsletter in your email inbox every week?

United jets off to Brisbane

A standout new route this week is United Airlines between San Francisco and Brisbane, whose first flight to Down Under was on October 28th. The 7,063-mile (11,367km) airport pair is served 3x weekly by 257-seat 787-9s.

On Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, UA96 departs San Francisco at 23:20 and arrives in Brisbane (Australia’s third-largest city) two days later at 07:30. Returning, UA97 leaves Queensland (Australia’s tourist state) at 11:30 on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, arriving back at 06:30 the same day.

Aside from a handful of nonstop Qantas flights in early 2020, it is a brand-new market. United will benefit from its partnership with Virgin Australia, enabling San Francisco (and wider US) passengers to travel across Australia and vice-versa.

United will also actively target the 35,000-plus point-to-point passengers and the 460,000-plus traveling to/from other US airports over its San Francisco hub.

United San Francisco Brisbane launch

Photo: via United Airlines.

Air Canada starts Heathrow-Mumbai

Those traveling between London Heathrow and Mumbai now have another choice of airline: Air Canada. The Star Alliance member has inaugurated Toronto-Heathrow-Mumbai, with the market having fifth freedom traffic rights. The first flight left Canada on October 29th and runs 1x daily using 298-seat 787-9s.

Of course, it is partly how Air Canada targets Toronto-Mumbai traffic, Canada’s largest unserved Indian market in 2019, with 134,000 roundtrip passengers. It also taps into the 529,000 who flew Heathrow-Mumbai.

Later this year, Heathrow-Mumbai will have up to 7x daily flights: 3x daily by BA, up to 2x daily by Air India, and 1x daily with Virgin Atlantic and Air Canada. However, it doesn’t quite beat the previous record of 8x daily.

Air Canada Heathrow-Mumbai inaugural

Photo: via Air Canada.

American’s in Auckland

American is no stranger to Auckland. It flew from Los Angeles between 2016 and 2020 before ending due to the pandemic. Now it’s back in New Zealand’s largest city – this time from Dallas Fort Worth.

On October 29th, American took off on the long 7,440-mile (11,974km) route to Auckland. With 1x daily 787-9 flights (notice the equipment theme with United and Air Canada above?), the local Dallas-Auckland market is tiny: barely 10,000 point-to-point passengers. It is, of course, all about transit passengers over DFW.

It isn’t the first time Texas has had Auckland service – Air New Zealand has operated to Houston Intercontinental since December 2015. The ‘Star Alliance route’ is for connections over Houston and Auckland, including to Australia.

American Airlines Dallas to Auckland launch

Photo: via Auckland Airport.

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Finnair to Tokyo Haneda

Historically, Finnair revolved around connecting wider Europe to Asia – especially the Far East – via its geographically well-positioned Helsinki hub.

Now is the turn of Helsinki to Tokyo Haneda, which launched on October 30th despite the ongoing inability to overfly Russia. While it coincided with Japan’s reopening, the rerouting meant it covered around 48% more distance than it otherwise would.

Tokyo Haneda is served 1x daily using A350-900s, with different configurations deployed. Finnair competes head-to-head, of sorts, with fellow oneworld carrier Japan Airlines’ currently 5x weekly offering, rising to 1x daily next summer. It supplements Finnair’s existing 2x weekly Tokyo Narita service.

Abu Dhabi-Kuwait: 2 new airlines

Like buses, two routes sometimes come simultaneously. Abu Dhabi to Kuwait has welcomed two new airlines in two days. On October 30th, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi inaugurated the route (1x daily, A321neo), followed the day after by Air Arabia Abu Dhabi (typically 1x daily, A320).

The 528-mile (849km) airport pair now has three airlines. The pair join Etihad Airways’ typically 4x daily offering. It mainly deploys the A320, but there’s frequently also the A321ceo, A321neo, and, on three dozen occasions this winter, the 787-9.

Abu Dhabi is, of course, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi’s first Kuwait route. It’s a bit different for the Air Arabia Group. Using its various units, it serves Kuwait from the UAE capital and Alexandria, Assiut, and Sohag in Egypt, and Sharjah in the UAE.

Ethiopian’s new routes

By far Africa’s largest carrier, Ethiopian Airlines has commenced new routes, notably Zürich and Bulawayo. On October 31st, it began a 3x weekly Addis Ababa-Milan Malpensa-Zürich-Milan-Addis service, targeting Zürich’s ~169,000 sub-Saharan African passengers.

The day before, it started flying to its next African city: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city. It is its third destination in Zimbabwe, joining Harare and Victoria Falls.

Depending on the date, multiple aircraft will be deployed to Bulawayo: the 737-800, 737 MAX 8, 767-300ER, 787-8, 787-9. Each will route Addis Ababa-Victoria Falls-Bulawayo-Addis, leaving Ethiopia at 08:30 and arriving back at 20:45. It enables full two-way connectivity across Europe, Asia, and North America.

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Turkish Airlines: now 6 Iraqi cities

Iraq has long been an important market for Turkish Airlines, and its Iraq network now comprises six cities. There’s Baghdad, Basra, Erbil, Najaf, Sulaimaniyah – and now Kirkuk.

The airport has just opened to commercial flights, with Turkish Airlines’ arrival from Istanbul Airport as the first international service. It was greeted with much celebration.

Come December, it’ll have 4x weekly Istanbul-Kirkuk flights, located 935 miles (1,505km) apart, all by the A321. (It’ll compete directly with a 2x weekly Iraqi Airways CRJ900 service.) When added to Turkish Airlines’ other routes, there will be up to 9x daily flights from its hub to Iraq.


Photo: via Turkish Airlines.

KLM introduces Aarhus

Hub-feeding carriers often play a critical role at regional airports, and Denmark’s Aarhus is no exception. It welcomed KLM – or rather its Cityhopper regional subsidiary – from Amsterdam on October 30th.

It is the first time the 364-mile (585km) market has been served, providing enormous choice for those traveling globally to/from Aarhus.

There is currently a 6x weekly service (no flight on Tuesdays) utilizing 132-seat E195 E2s, rising to 1x daily in January. KL1465 departs Schiphol at 10:10 and arrives back in Amsterdam as KL1466 at 13:15.

China Airlines is back in Austria

The change of aviation season hasn’t just resulted in many new routes. It has also seen the return of many others, including China Airlines between Taipei and Vienna.

While last operated in – you guessed it – March 2020, it departed Taiwan on October 30th. It presently has 3x weekly flights, later rising to 4x and then 5x weekly, all by the A350-900. It competes head-to-head with fellow Taiwanese carrier EVA Air’s 3x weekly services.

China Airlines flight CI62 leaves Taipei at 22:35 and arrives at 06:05. CI63 then departs at 11:00 and arrives back at 05:40. Booking data shows that it was primarily a point-to-point market in 2019.

China Airlines Vienna return

Photo: Vienna Airport.

That’s it for the 61st edition of my routes newsletter. Sign up to get something like this in your inbox each week.

Source: simpleflying.com

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