Iran, China and USA for the long haul, low cost regional air links within Europe
With low cost airlines representing now over 40% of passengers traffic in short/Medium haul traffic in Europe, budget carriers and “hybrid carriers” – the answer of legacy airlines to the low cost competition with a hybrid product continue to “do and undo” networks around Europe. Vueling for example is launching services to six destinations out of Zurich and to three European cities out of London Luton Airport. The carrier will also start connecting Algeria with two new routes, one between Barcelona and Constantine and between Valencia and Algiers.
In Germany, Airberlin is increasing frequencies from Düsseldorf to Italy and from Berlin to Central Europe while Eurowings will match Airberlin in Düsseldorf with the launching of services to 9 cities. Ryanair is also looking at strengthening its presence in Germany by launching two bases in the country, one in Hamburg and the second one in Nuremberg. Another low cost carrier is moving into Germany. This spring time, Dutch/French low cost carrier Transavia – an affiliate of Air France-KLM- is opening its first base outside its home markets in Munich. Transavia bases in Munich four aircraft to serve 20 destinations. This springtime, Easyjet opens its 27th and 28th European bases in Barcelona and Venice while expanding consequently in Lyon with seven new routes. Its competitor Volotea strengthens its presence in Bordeaux while further growing its main French base in Nantes. Finally, British Airways is denting into London low cost market at Stansted Airport. The British carrier is launching in May flights out of Stansted to leisure destinations in Portugal and Spain.
LARGE EUROPEAN SECONDARY AIRPORTS ARE RECEIVING AN INCREASING NUMBER OF HAUL FLIGHTS
Legacy carriers continue to boost their long-haul network as competition from low cost airlines still remains limited. From major European hubs, Amsterdam will benefit from a new flight to Mexico (Aeromexico) while Delta Air Lines is launching a daily flight from Paris CDG to Raleigh Durham in North Carolina. Air France is also launching from June a daily frequency between Paris-Orly and New York JFK. From the summer, Lufthansa will operate five weekly services from Frankfurt to San Jose in California. The carrier opened flights last October to Nairobi and Tampa, Florida. Lufthansa adjusts its long haul network out of Munich by cancelling its route to Dubai while opening a new service to Teheran and Denver. From its Rome Fiumicino base, Alitalia is luring Latin America: From May, the carrier launches five weekly flights to Santiago de Chile followed in June by three weekly services to Mexico. Rome is also an attractive destination for Chinese carriers, benefiting from Hainan Airlines flights to Xian.
NEW FLIGHTS TO SECONDARY LARGE AIRPORTS
Large European secondary airports are receiving an increasing number of long haul flights. Düsseldorf in Germany or Manchester in the UK are among the top airports for new intercontinental flights.
Düsseldorf: After Cathay Pacific launched in winter 2015 four weekly frequencies to Hong Kong, Singapore Airlines will start to fly to Düsseldorf from this summer with 3 frequencies in an Airbus A350 while home carrier AirBerlin is launching in May and June 5 weekly flights to San Francisco, 4 weekly flights to Boston while waiting for the approval for two weekly services to Havana. Neighbouring airport Cologne/Bonn, which turned since last November into the new base for Lufthansa budget subsidiary Eurowings, saw the launching of half a dozen intercontinental flights including Bangkok, Phuket, Dubai and . For the summer season, while Dubai will be discontinued, Eurowings will strengthen connections to the USA with flights from Cologne to Boston and Las Vegas. Asia continues to attract new services to Europe.
Iberia just announced to launch from October routes to Shanghai and Tokyo from Madrid, a first for the Spanish carrier which until now concentrated mostly on developing its network to South America.
IRAN, DESTINATION OF THE YEAR 2016
Hottest destination of 2016 is Iran, following the normalization of relations between Washington and Teheran and the consequent end of commercial sanctions.
Air France from Paris and Lufthansa from Munich will launch flights to Teheran while British Airways will follow in July with six weekly frequencies from London Heathrow. Alitalia boosted frequencies to the Iranian capital from Rome in January while Austrian Airlines will add flights from March out of Vienna. Austrian is also the only Western European carrier to have been granted traffic rights to Isfahan, Iran second largest city. In April, the carrier starts four weekly services out of Vienna and looks now to serve Shiraz in the near future.