It was a big month with over 500 new routes launched across the globe, according to Anna.Aero. Australia became connected to London for the first time via Qantas 9 from Perth to London Heathrow, and European airlines gradually returned to U.S. markets after seasonal suspensions during the off-peak winter period. Some new routes were launched on International Women’s Day with a special commemoration, others celebrated unforeseen milestones by taking advantage of softening political relations in order to receive airspace access that was previously unimaginable.
These were the most salient route launches and announcements that took place last month, by region:
LATAM Brasil added 3x weekly services from Sao Paulo to Rome, operated on a 767-300. Rome is LATAM’s 7th European market after London, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, and Barcelona. From Europe, American Airlines resumed a number of its seasonal routes from it’s U.S. “cornerstone hubs,” and also announced a salvo of new Latin American routes, including Philadelphia to Mexico City, Miami to Peirera, Colombia, Georgetown, Guyana, and Cordoba, Argentina, Dallas/Ft. Worth to Oaxaca, Mexico, and from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
But that’s not all. There will be service increases on various routes, including Miami to Caracas, Venezuela, in spite of the ongoing drama with air service reductions to Maiquieta, along with frequency increases from Miami to Antigua and from Dallas/Ft. Worth to San Jose del Cabo, Cancun, and Torreon, Mexico.
There will also be some service reductions, particularly affecting Brasil. American is cutting capacity from New York JFK to Rio de Janeiro, as well as from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo. It will also not resume service from DFW to Rio de Janeiro next year, which operated seasonally in 2018 during the peak season (it was once a scheduled route on a 767-300). It will end daylight service from Miami to Sao Paulo, reducing service from 3 to 2 daily, and end service from Miami to Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Miami to La Paz, Bolivia, and from DFW to Quito, Ecuador.
American has, however, resumed services from Charlotte to Madrid, Rome, and Paris, from Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth to Rome, from Philadelphia to Barcelona, Shannon, Venice, and Frankfurt, and from New York JFK to Dublin and Edinburgh. It also moved its Zurich gateway city from New York JFK to Philadelphia. You can preview all of the American Airlines 2018 International Long-Haul schedule, routes, and aircraft here, and learn about the products offered on each aircraft here.
Shifting back to Latin America, Ethiopian Airlines launched 5-weekly service to Buenos Aires via Sao Paulo, utilizing the 787-8. The inaugural flight took place on March 8, 2018, otherwise known as International Women’s Day, and the flight was operated entirely by women. In the Americas, Ethiopian flies to Washington Dulles, Newark, Los Angeles, Toronto, Sao Paulo, and will soon launch service to Chicago O’Hare in June. To the North, WestJet launched new service from Mexico City to Calgary and Vancouver, while Interjet added service from San Francisco to Guadalajara and Cancun. Spirit also went south of the border with new Airbus A319 service from Fort Lauderdale to Guayaquil, Ecuador, offered on a daily basis.
Delta Air Lines commenced three-weekly roundtrip flights from New York JFK to Lagos, Nigeria, complementing existing service from Atlanta to Lagos. United Airlines reinstated service from Denver to London Heathrow, a route it had dropped in October 2010, operated on a 787-8.
Asia-Pacific, Africa, Middle East, and Australia
Not to be out-done by Qantas, Air New Zealand announced that it would launch nonstop flights from Chicago O’Hare to Auckland in November 2018, in tandem with its JV partner, United Airlines, who will fly year-round from San Francisco to Auckland.
Chinese and Taiwanese carriers continue to expand across the Pacific, with one of the more unique routes launching recently from Taipei, Taiwan to Ontario, CA on China Airlines, operated daily on a 777-300ER. Hainan Airlines is still on its long-haul blitzkrieg with service from Beijing to Mexico City (via Tijuana) thrice weekly on a 787-8, Changsha to London Heathrow (also 3x 787-8), and Shenzhen to Brussels and Madrid, each served twice weekly on a 787-8.
Brussels also saw the inauguration of service to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, which now serves Amsterdam, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, London Heathrow and Gatwick, Madrid, Manchester, Milan Malpensa, Rome, Paris CDG, and Zurich, with Dublin also opening in the near future. Brussels will be offered 4x weekly on the Airbus A350-900.
Air Mauritius launched nonstop service to Amsterdam utilizing an Airbus A340-300, operated in conjunction with KLM. British Airways returned to Mahe, Seychelles, with 2x weekly services on a 787-9 from London Heathrow. Air France re-inaugurated service to Nairobi, Kenya, after 18 years of dormancy, with 3 weekly flights on a 787-9. It also returned to Seattle after terminating the market in 2012, offered thrice weekly on a 777-200ER in the off-season and 5x weekly in the summer season. Lufthansa resumed 5x weekly seasonal service to San Jose, CA, operated on its CityLine Airbus A340-300, and began 5 weekly flights to San Diego, both from Frankfurt. Norwegian commenced daily service from Chicago O’Hare to London Gatwick operated on a 787-9.
Within the Middle East, AirAsia X terminated 4x weekly service from Kuala Lumpur to Tehran, but a much more optimistic piece of news came from Air India, who now operates three weekly flights from Delhi to Tel Aviv with a 787-8. What’s not unique about the flight are the markets connected, but rather the route itself, as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is permitting Air India airspace access to serve a market that the KSA does not formally recognize as a country (Israel). Congrats to the Maharaja for completing such a unique milestone.