2018 is already off to a big start from a routes perspective. Airports like Kansas City will receive its first transatlantic service this summer, and Delta is continuing to add more mid-continental and transcontinental routes from its Seattle hub. Kenya Airways plans to make its first transatlantic crossing with new service to New York, and Gol is ready to return to the U.S. on the 737-MAX.
Here are some of the most noteworthy new routes that have been announced in the first half of January around the world. You can also check out the 2017 summary of most important routes launched globally.
Delta’s joint venture with AeroMexico is paying dividends for its Salt Lake City hub, which received new daily service to Guadalajara using an Embraer-190 aircraft. Salt Lake is connected to five cities in Mexico through the AeroMexico-Delta JV: Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas on Delta metal, and now Mexico City and Guadalajara on both Delta and AeroMexico metal.
But Salt Lake’s gain is Denver’s loss, as Aeromexico is terminating service to Denver, CO, which it currently flies from Mexico City. Presumably, it will retain recently-announced service to commence Denver-Monterrey service on its regional subsidiary, Aeromexico connect. Aeromexico competes against United and Volaris in the Denver-Mexico City sector and has served the Denver market on-and-off for several years.
However, on a more positive note, Denver will receive new service on United Airlines to Appleton, WI, and Norfolk, VA, starting in June 2018. These were among the many new domestic networks adds on United to several smaller U.S. markets from its largest hubs, including Chicago O’Hare to Bismarck, ND and Salina, KS, Houston to Akron/Canton, OH, and Dayton, Los Angeles to Eureka, CA, and San Francisco to Madison, WI.
Delta will be adding new transcontinental service from its Seattle/Tacoma hub to Washington Dulles, Indianapolis, and Kansas City. But the biggest news from Kansas City was not the Seattle add, but rather Icelandair, which will launch new service to Mid-Continent International (MCI) on May 25, 2018, which will be its first intercontinental route. The route will be operated by a 757-200 on a thrice-weekly basis and is scheduled as summer-seasonal. Icelandair is also resuming service to Baltimore/Washington (BWI) International, a route that it last served in 2008. Icelandair is also resuming service to San Francisco effective June 2, 2018, on a seasonal basis through October 13, 2018, utilizing a 767. It last flew to SFO in Summer 2006.
Air Europa continues to grow its presence in Latin America, as it launched nonstop service from Madrid to Quito, Ecuador, on January 2, utilizing an Airbus A330-200, on a 5x-weekly basis. This is in addition to its service to Guayaquil, Ecuador.
Norwegian is canceling its service to Hartford, where it currently operates Edinburgh to Hartford twice per week, effective March 24, 2018. This will leave Aer Lingus as its sole transatlantic operator with year-round flights to Dublin, although purportedly, Aer Lingus is, “very satisfied” with the results of its Hartford operation, and may be increasing frequencies at Windsor Locks airport. It has served BDL since 2014.
Lufthansa is gradually replacing its Airbus A340-600 routes from its Munich hub with the Airbus A350-XWB. Routes affected include Denver, Newark, Singapore, Vancouver, and Seoul Incheon, effective March 25, 2018, and it will also add Airbus A380 service from Munich to Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Beijing.
Gol plans to resume service to the U.S. using the 737-MAX. It will fly from Miami and Orlando to Brasilia and Fortaleza. Gol will compete against LATAM on Miami-Fortaleza and American Airlines on Miami-Brasilia, but have Orlando-Brasilia and Orlando-Fortaleza all to itself. Orlando is a popular market for Brazilians, as Azul Airlines flies from Orlando to Campinas-Viracopos, Belo Horizonte, and Recife, while LATAM flies to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and Delta flies to Sao Paulo.
American Airlines and China Southern Airlines added reciprocal codeshare agreements on certain routes within mainland China, as well as domestic routes within the United States. Routes that are included in the codeshare are China Southern flights from Beijing Peking to Changchun, Changsha, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Harbin, Nanning, Shenyang, and Shenzhen, which will carry the American Airlines code.
In the U.S., routes operated by American that will carry the China Southern code include Los Angeles to Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Houston, Philadelphia, and Phoenix, as well as from San Francisco to Dallas/Ft. Worth and Phoenix.
Kenya Airways confirmed plans to launch new service to New York JFK in late October 2018. It will use the 787 from its Nairobi hub on a daily basis, featuring a late evening departure from NBO (23:25) and early next-day arrival into JFK (0625), followed by a noon departure from JFK and a mid-morning arrival into Nairobi the following day (1055).
According to Anna.Aero, Kenya Airways claimed that there were 23,800 indirect passengers between Nairobi and JFK in 2017, using OAG Traffic Analyzer. Measured across the entire year, this represents a passengers per-day, each way (PDEW) of roughly 65.