I’ve covered a selection of new routes that took off or resumed in the past week. Why not sign up and receive my newsletter in your email inbox every week?

Air New Zealand commences JFK

The award for the most notable launch in the past week must surely go to Air New Zealand’s brand-new nonstop Auckland and New York JFK.

The world’s fourth-longest nonstop route, it covers 8,828 miles (14,207km) 3x weekly using three-class, 275-seat B787-9s. This month, it leaves New Zealand at 19:40 and arrives in the US the same day at 19:55.

But the first flight didn’t have this schedule. On September 17th, NZ2 departed Auckland at 16:23 and arrived in JFK at 16:09 local time. It flew for 15h 46m. Returning, NZ1 left nearly two hours late at 23:51 and came home two days later at 08:27, some 16h 36m. Note that flight numbers NZ2 and NZ1 were previously used to/from London, a market Air New Zealand no longer serves with its own metal.

It won’t have Auckland-JFK all to itself. Next June, Qantas will inaugurate a 3x weekly Sydney-Auckland-JFK service, using lower-capacity and more premium-heavy 236-seat B787-9s.

Air New Zealand Auckland to New York JFK

There was little by way of ‘normal’ new route celebration. Image: via Air New Zealand.

Take off: Qantas to Bengaluru

With much expectation, Qantas has introduced Sydney to Bengaluru. Located 5,810 miles (9,350km) apart, 251-seat A330-200s are deployed on the 4x weekly airport pair. It is Qantas’ second India route, joining Melbourne-Delhi, also 4x weekly.

Booking data shows that, in 2019, Sydney-Bengaluru had 54,000 roundtrip point-to-point (P2P) passengers, or passengers daily each way of 74. While a smaller market than Sydney to Delhi and Mumbai, Bengaluru achieved a notably higher average fare.

In addition to P2P passengers, Qantas will carry passengers between Bengaluru and other Australian cities over Sydney. And, fundamentally, its codeshare with IndiGo – presently encompassing 11 routes from Bengaluru – will drive more passenger traffic.

Qantas-Bengaluru-2

Qantas has two India routes: Sydney-Bengaluru and Melbourne-Delhi. Photo: via Qantas.

Brussels-South Africa are now linked

After a 20-year absence, Belgium-South Africa again has passenger flights. Routing Brussels-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Johannesburg-Brussels 2x weekly using 286-seat A330neos, they were Brussels’ two largest unserved African markets.

In 2019, 98,000 passengers traveled indirectly between Belgium and South Africa. While Air Belgium’s new service is good for passengers, speeding up access, especially to/from Johannesburg, it’ll also attract freight. It will supplement Ethiopian Airlines’ 2x weekly Brussels-Johannesburg B777-200F operation.

Air-Belgium-Brussels-to-South-Africa-1

It has been 20 years since Belgium has had passenger flights to South Africa. Photo: via Wesgro.

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The world has a new airline

On September 15th, Dominican Republic’s Arajet inaugurated its first two routes: from Santo Domingo to Colombia’s Barranquilla and Cali. Between then and now, five more have started: Aruba, Cartagena, Lima, San Salvador, and St Maarten.

Like many ULCCs, Arajet focuses on low frequencies. Using 189-seat B737 MAX 8s, the new entrant’s only type, those routes are all 2x to 3x weekly. And like most ULCCs, it is about route creation: almost all are without direct competition.

By the end of the year, it’d have introduced Cancún, Curaçao, Guatemala City, Guayaquil, Mexico City Felipe Ángeles, Monterrey, Quito, and San Jose.

Arajet launch

By the year-end, Arajet will have 15 routes from Santo Domingo. Photo: via Arajet.

ITA introduces Stuttgart

Only 224 miles (361km) separate Linate – the closest commercial airport to Milan’s city center – and Stuttgart. However, owing to mountains, it’s often a six-hour-plus overland journey, meaning air travel is important.

On September 12th, ITA inaugurated the route, following in the footsteps of defunct airberlin (May-October 2015) and ITA’s predecessor, Alitalia (from November 2019).

While ITA currently has 9x weekly flights, it’ll rise to 12x weekly in October. When it does, there will be 2x daily flights Monday-Friday (well-timed for Stuttgart-bound day trips) and 1x on Saturday/Sunday. 100-seat E190s, wet-leased from German Airways, will be deployed. It competes indirectly with up to 2x daily Eurowings flights to Milan Malpensa.

ITA Airways Stuttgart

ITA has up to 2x daily Milan Linate-Stuttgart flights, alongside up to 2x daily by Eurowings to Milan Malpensa. Photo: via Stuttgart Airport.

Fly Baghdad to Hyderabad

Iraq’s Fly Baghdad has commenced Hyderabad in an unusual but exciting route development. Running 2x weekly using B737-800s, the schedule varies per day. According to its website, IF461 will arrive in India on Tuesdays at 09:55 and leave at 10:55. On Thursdays, it’ll arrive at 11:55 and depart at 12:55.

Based on 2019 data, Baghdad-Hyderabad was a small market of around 5,000 roundtrip passengers. It was smaller than Delhi (32,000) and Mumbai (9,000).

Of course, Fly Baghdad will have to grow the market strongly. It’ll be helped by Hyderabad being a major Indian city for Muslims, speeding up access to Iraq’s holy sites. In addition, there are Iraqi students and the importance of India to Iraqis for medical treatment.

Fly Baghdad to Hyderabad

Fly Baghdad has 2x weekly Hyderabad flights. Photo: via Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad).

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BRA props to Helsinki

About five and a half miles (9km) from central Stockholm, Bromma Airport has long had flights to Finland’s capital, Helsinki. On a typical weekday pre-pandemic, there were anywhere from 2x to 6x daily flights on the short route across the Baltic Sea. Flights were mainly by Finnair, with various regional airlines used for the job.

Being business-orientated, it isn’t surprising that Bromma-Helsinki was last served in March 2020. Two and a half years later, it’s back. It’s by Braathens (BRA) – an airline with history on the route – with a 6x weekly (no Saturday) operation utilizing 72-seat ATR-72-600s.

Braathens to Helsinki

Bromma-Helsinki is linked 6x weekly. Photo: via Braathens Regional Airlines.

LOT’s Warsaw-Katowice special

It is, of course, very rare for LOT Polish’s widebodies to be deployed domestically, with just a handful of exceptions in the last two decades. September 10th was one such occasion when B787-9 SP-LSB flew between Warsaw and Katowice.

The 294-seater wasn’t deployed for the route itself – which mainly sees LOT’s Q400s, E170s, and E175s – but to operate a pilgrimage flight between Katowice and Lourdes for the sick.

Four-and-a-half-year-old SP-LSB routed Warsaw-Katowice-Lourdes-Warsaw. According to Katowice Airport, some 237 passengers flew the 143 miles (230km) between Warsaw and Katowice, which lasted 28 minutes. The following day, the aircraft returned to more normal activity: a charter flight to Zanzibar, Tanzania.

LOT Polish B787-9 Katowic

Although only a one-off and therefore would not normally be covered by my newsletter, this aircraft operated Warsaw-Katowice-Lourdes-Warsaw. Photo: via Katowice Airport.

That’s it for the 55th edition of my routes newsletter. Sign up to get something like this in your inbox each week.

Source: simpleflying.com

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