In international route news, Emirates will introduce a new option between the U.S. and Europe; Japan Airlines adds a Haneda flight from New York; Southwest will serve an international market from San Diego; Delta drops a Taiwan route but adds new code-shares to Southeast Asia; Iberia starts selling a new premium economy class; and Qatar Airways sets a date for new Las Vegas flights.
Dubai-based Emirates is moving into a new U.S.-Europe market on March 12, when it plans to begin year-round daily service between Newark Liberty International and Athens; the flight continues to Dubai. The airline already flies between New York JFK and Dubai four times a day. Plus it flies nonstop between JFK and Milan. Emirates noted that there has been no year-round, non-stop service between the U.S. and Greece since 2012 (US carriers offer summer seasonal service only). Emirates fares for March-April flights start at $600 roundtrip. The carrier will serve the route with a 777-300ER that offers first class, business class and economy seating. Predictably, Delta, United and American said the announcement shows that Emirates is “flagrantly violating” the Open Skies agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the U.S., and said they will call on President Trump to block Emirates from the route. Will he? This should be interesting…
Japan Airlines, which already flies twice a day between Tokyo Narita and New York JFK, said it will add a new daily non-stop between JFK and Tokyo’s close-in Haneda Airport beginning April 1. The company said the new service will give customers more connecting options to domestic flights in Japan via Haneda. The new route will use a coveted daytime international departure slot at Haneda. JAL also said it will change aircraft on its evening departure from Narita to JFK, switching from a 787-8 to a larger, four-class 777-300ER.
Southwest Airlines said it will begin its first international service from San Diego on April 25, when it launches new service to San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos. Through January 26, Southwest is offering introductory fares on the new route starting at $104 one-way. Flights from Oakland to Cabo and Puerto Vallarta begin in February.
Delta’s route from Seattle to Tokyo Narita to Taiwan will be shortened after May 24 when the carrier reportedly plans to drop the Narita-Taiwan segment. Meanwhile, Routesonline.com reports that Delta will soon – perhaps as soon as this week – start to put its DL code onto partner KLM’s fights from Amsterdam to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Iberia, a subsidiary of British Airways’ International Airlines Group and a member of the BA-American Airlines joint venture, announced the opening of reservations for its new long-haul Premium Economy seating class. The company said the new section is going into 21 of its aircraft, including eight A330-300s and 13 A340-600s; it will also be in A350-900s to be delivered after 2018. Premium Economy will be available for travel starting in May 2017 on Iberia’s routes to Madrid from New York and Chicago, starting in August for Miami-Madrid flights, and beginning in September for Boston-Madrid service. For bookings made before January 31, roundtrip fares start at $1,299. The new seating has increased recline, 37-inch pitch, greater seat width (19 inches) than regular economy, adjustable head and foot rests, 12-inch HD video screens (vs. 9 inches in economy), international Wi-Fi, a free drink, upgraded meal service, amenities kit, and allowance for two checked bags.
Qatar Airways has set January 8, 2018 as the launch date for its planned new service between Las Vegas and Doha, Qatar. Earlier, the airline has said it would start flying to Las Vegas in 2017, although it didn’t give a specific date. Qatar Airways plans to fly the Las Vegas route four times a week, using a 777-200LR. Las Vegas will the airline’s 11th U.S. gateway.
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