The Most Notable New Airline Routes This Week

February 09 2022

come to our 23rd routes newsletter! Routes go to the heart of airlines and airports, and we celebrate them in our weekly newsletter.

We’ve covered a selection of new routes and relaunches that took off in the last week. Why not sign up and receive our newsletter in your email inbox every week?

Discover to Puerto Plata via Jamaica

The Dominican Republic tourist destination of Puerto Plata is now connected to Frankfurt with Eurowings Discover. Operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays, the service runs triangularly, routing Frankfurt-Montego Bay-Puerto Plata-Frankfurt. It departs Germany at 12:15 on Wednesdays and arrives in Jamaica at 17:40 local time. It then travels to Puerto Plata, where it leaves at 22:55 bound for home. (Montego Bay launched in November, routing non-stop in both directions.)

Eurowings Discover competes head-to-head with Condor to Puerto Plata, although Discover uses A330-300s versus Condor’s B767-300ERs. Condor operates a ‘termination’ service, for instance going no further with a non-stop offering in both directions. Puerto Plata is Frankfurt’s sixth-largest Caribbean market in February by non-stop/one-stop seats, after Punta Cana, La Romana, Barbados, and Montego Bay.

Many dignitaries welcomed the commencement of Puerto Plata, including Roberto Henríquez, Deputy Minister of Quality of the Ministry of Tourism (fifth left) and Fabien Gourdon, CCO of Aerodom (center), which operates six of the Dominican Republic’s airports. Photo: via Mintur.

Sun Country begins Rochester service

Ultra-low-cost carrier Sun Country has introduced Rochester, Minnesota, to Fort Myers (February 3rd) and Phoenix (February 4th). It is the first time it has had flights from the airport since April 2009, when it had a series of seasonal and very low-frequency services to Bullhead City, Arizona.

Rochester is located about 94 miles (151km) southeast of Minneapolis, overwhelmingly Sun Country’s most-served airport. Fort Myers runs on Thursdays and Sundays until April 17th, and Phoenix on Mondays and Fridays until March 18th. The two routes are obviously driven by snowbird demand, with Phoenix Rochester’s largest unserved market.

Until now, Rochester’s passenger airline service was about hub service to Minneapolis (with Delta) and Chicago (American). The airport hasn’t had fun-in-the-sun routes for eight years, following the loss of Allegiant from Phoenix-Mesa (November 2012-May 2014), replacing Las Vegas.

What an outstanding cake! Sun Country has reconnected Rochester with warm-weather destinations. Photo: Rochester International Airport.

Saudia takes off on two new routes

The Saudi Arabia flag carrier has inaugurated two new routes: Paris CDG to AlUla – an up-and-coming desert and archaeological tourist destination – and Riyadh to Entebbe. The former operates once-weekly until March 20th using 298-seat B787-9s, routing Jeddah-Paris-AlUla-Jeddah. Passengers traveling between AlUla and Paris must transit in Jeddah/Riyadh.

Riyadh to Entebbe, meanwhile, took off on February 2nd. It operates on Mondays and Wednesdays using 330-seat A330-300s. The market is the largest between Saudi Arabia and Uganda, and will primarily target migrant workers and those visiting friends and relatives.

Saudia’s first arrival in Entebbe was greeted with a water salute and cake. Photo: Entebbe International Airport.

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Vueling’s new Canary Island connection

Paris Orly and the Canary Island of Santa Cruz de la Palma (more commonly La Palma) now have two operators, with Vueling beginning the 1,751-mile (2,818km) link on February 6th. It operates on Sundays only using 220-seat A321s. It leaves Orly at 06:40 and arrives at 09:50 local time. It departs at 10:35 and arrives home at 15:45.

Vueling, whose second-busiest airport is Orly, will change the flight to Sundays from April. It’ll then operate head-to-head with a Saturday-only service by Transavia France, which will inaugurate the route on April 2nd.

La Palma is Vueling’s 17th destination in Spain from Paris Orly. Photo: via Vueling.

Flair’s Mexican foray

Canada and Mexico now have another airline providing non-stop service, with ultra-low-cost carrier Flair Airlines entering the market on February 5th. It began five routes: Abbotsford to Los Cabos; Edmonton to Los Cabos; Ottawa to Cancun; Vancouver to Los Cabos; and, on the 6th, Waterloo to Cancun. In the current week, all five are served once-weekly but double in March, with most ending or reducing in April.

Only Waterloo to Cancun presently has no head-to-head competition. Of the others, Ottawa-Cancun has Sunwing (two flights in the current week), while Air Transat and WestJet have one flight apiece. Edmonton and Abbotsford to Los Cabos have one flight each by SWOOP, while Vancouver has six flights by WestJet, two by Air Canada, and one by Sunwing. Note that SWOOP commenced Abbotsford-Los Cabos at the end of January.

Flair is the seventh airline providing non-stop service between Canada and Mexico. Photo: via Flair Airlines.

Armenia and Turkey flights resume

After decades of being foes, the relationship between Armenia and Turkey is starting to subside. As such, flights between Yerevan and Istanbul – home to nearly all of Turkey’s remaining Armenia – have resumed after last being operated in 2020 by AtlasGlobal. But don’t read too much into it: it is really a continuation of the previous situation, albeit with different airlines.

New entrant Fly One Armenia, the new unit of the Moldovan carrier, now operates on Mondays and Fridays between Yerevan and Istanbul Airport. They’ll be joined by a Wednesday service on March 30th. Meanwhile, ultra-low-cost-carrier Pegasus has a three-weekly service from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen. It currently leaves Istanbul at 23:35, arrives at 02:35, departs at 05:25, and arrives back at 06:50, well-timed for connections across Europe.

Fly One Armenia and Pegasus now operate non-stop between Armenia and Turkey. To celebrate, a temporary artwork exhibition was provided by world-famous Armenian photographer, Ara Guler. Photo: via Zvartnots International Airport.

Transavia France starts Lyon-Stockholm

Lyon and Stockholm Arlanda are now connected non-stop thanks to Transavia France. It is served on Saturdays only for skiing reasons, with the last flight on April 16th. The schedule varies most weeks, but on February 12th it’ll leave Lyon at 13:00 and return at 19:00.

Despite over 25,000 round-trip passengers in 2019, the 1,099-mile (1,769km) market has had relatively little service. SAS served it until October 2004, but it wasn’t until November 2016 that it was served again, then by easyJet. It lasted until March 2018, not even a year and a half. Hopefully, Transavia France will perform better.

Stockholm is Lyon’s only route to Sweden and it is Transavia France’s only service from Lyon to Scandinavia. Photo: via Transavia France.

That’s it for the 23rd edition of our routes newsletter. To get something like this in your inbox every week, please sign up for our weekly routes newsletter.

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