In the latest international routes news, two more Middle Eastern airlines were removed from the Department of Homeland Security’s “laptop ban” this week; an Asian carrier will start its first U.S. service to Los Angeles; LOT Polish will fly from the U.S. to Hungary; Aeromexico adds a U.S. route at San Jose; United goes year-round on a key European route; British Airways starts flying a Florida route; Denver will get new non-stops to Switzerland; and Air India adds a U.S. gateway.
More Middle Eastern airlines and airports have met the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new passenger inspection standards to guard against explosives in electronic devices, so this week DHS dropped its laptop ban for them. The latest carriers to allow passengers to carry laptops and tablets into the cabin are Royal Jordanian and Kuwait Airways. Royal Jordanian has 16 flights a week from Amman to New York JFK, Detroit and Chicago, while Kuwait Airways flies from Kuwait to JFK.
Last week, the ban was dropped for Etihad, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.
Hong Kong Airlines, a 10-year-old carrier operating out of (where else?) Hong Kong and partly owned by China’s Hainan Airlines, is due to take delivery of its first Airbus A350-900XWB late this year, and will use it to begin service to the U.S. According to Routesonline.com, the launch is set for December 15. The two-class A350 will fly the LAX-Hong Kong route once a day with a late morning departure from Los Angeles. Hong Kong Airlines currently has a fleet of A320s and A330s as well as code-share agreements with several carriers including Virgin Australia, Asiana, EVA, Hainan and China Eastern.
There has been no non-stop service between the U.S. and Budapest, Hungary for the past six years, but that is due to change next spring. Instead of a Hungarian or U.S. carrier, though, the flights will be operated by LOT Polish Airlines. LOT plans to use 787 Dreamliners to fly twice a week from Chicago O’Hare to Budapest starting May 5, and four times a week between New York JFK and Budapest beginning May 3.
At Mineta San Jose International, Aeromexico has kicked off new daily flights to Guadalajara using a 186-passenger 737-800. The southbound flight leaves SJC at 10:15 a.m. and the northbound service departs Guadalajara at 7:15 a.m. Aeromexico is the sixth foreign carrier to start flying to San Jose since 2015. Don’t miss our post about super low fares on this route!
Instead of ending its seasonal Newark-Rome flights this fall as previously planned, United Airlines now says it will make EWR-FCO a year-round operation. From early November through March, United said, it will fly the route from three to seven times a week. But instead of using the 242-seat 767-400 operating in the peak season, it will switch in November to a 214-seat 767-300 with 30 flat-bed business class seats and 184 economy seats, including 49 Economy Plus extra-legroom seats.
United’s decision might have been influenced by low-cost specialist Norwegian, which plans to begin 787 flights between Newark and Rome four times a week on November 9, increasing to daily frequencies next February. (We’ve asked United why it has not added SFO-Rome nonstops, but have not heard back…)
Speaking of competition against Norwegian, British Airways last week kicked off new service between Ft. Lauderdale and London four days a week, using a 275-passenger 777-200ER with business, premium economy and regular economy seating. But this route doesn’t go to BA’s Heathrow hub – it goes to London Gatwick. Norwegian started flying FLL-Gatwick three years ago.
We recently reported on new service from San Diego to Zurich operated by Edelweiss Air, a leisure affiliate of Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines. Next year, Edelweiss will add service from another western U.S. city: Denver. In June 2018, Edelweiss will start flying twice a week between Denver and Zurich with a 315-passneger A330-300. The carrier will offer evening departures from DEN on Mondays and Fridays
Air India’s newest U.S. gateway is Washington Dulles. Last week, the carrier started non-stop service from IAD to Delhi three times a week (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) using a 777-200LR with first, business and economy seating. The flight takes about 15-1/2 hours. Air India also serves New York JFK, Newark, Chicago and San Francisco, and plans to add Los Angeles service later this year.