In international route news, Airberlin is pushing back the start date of its new West Coast service to Berlin; Virgin Australia adds a Los Angeles route; Austrian Airline starts LAX flights; American plans an aircraft switch for some west coast service; United shifts Dreamliners to Washington Dulles and begins seasonal flights to Europe from San Francisco and Houston; Xiamen expands service; and JetBlue adds a Caribbean route.
Airberlin is delaying the start-up dates for its new service from Berlin to San Francisco and Los Angeles. The service from Berlin Tegel to San Francisco, originally set to begin May 1, has been pushed back to May 29; and the Berlin-Los Angeles flights, due to launch May 2, have been postponed to May 16. Passengers scheduled to travel on the earlier flights are being rebooked onto other flights via Dusseldorf, the company said. Airberlin blamed the delays on problems with its new ground handling company at Tegel Airport. The carrier plans to operate four flights a week from SFO; the LAX schedule calls for two flights a week from mid-May, with a third frequency starting in June.
Virgin Australia this week kicked off new non-stop service from Los Angeles to Melbourne. The Australian carrier will fly the route five days a week with a 777-300ER, as part of its joint venture operation with Delta. On the other coast, Delta partner Virgin Atlantic plans to convert its New York JFK-Manchester service from a seasonal to a year-round operation, with plans to continue flying the route four times a week after October 29 with an A330, then dropping down to three a week from January 14 through March 22, 2018. Delta will no longer fly the route, according to Routesonline.com.
Austrian Airlines this week kicked off new service from Los Angeles International to Vienna. The airline’s 777-200 service starts off with five flights a week through June 12, then increases to daily frequencies. The route marks Austrian’s first non-stop service to the West Coast. The 308-seat 777 includes 48 business class seats with lie-flat seat-beds.
American Airlines is planning to change equipment on a couple of international routes out of Los Angeles later this year, according to Airlineroutes.com. Plans call for American to put 787-9s into service starting November 5 on the LAX-Sao Paulo route, and increasing frequencies from five to six a week; and on the LAX-Tokyo Narita route from August 4 to October 27. In both cases, the Dreamliners will replace 777-200ERs.
Speaking of 787s, FlightGlobal reports that United Airlines plans to shift Dreamliner flying from Houston Bush Intercontinental to Washington Dulles this coming winter, citing a letter to pilots from UA management. The carrier will reportedly close its 787 pilots’ base at Houston. Effective with United’s winter schedule October 29, that means in addition to its existing 787 service from IAD to London and Paris, United will also use the Dreamliner for flights from Dulles to Beijing (replacing a 777-200) and to Sao Paulo (replacing a 767-400ER), while a 777-200 will go onto Houston-Frankfurt and a 767-300ER will be used for Houston-Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, United is due to begin seasonal service April 20 from Houston to Munich and from San Francisco to Frankfurt, with both routes continuing through October 27. Have you flown a United Dreamliner yet? Let us know what you think in the comments.
China’s Xiamen Airlines is due to start 787-9 service from Los Angeles to Xiamen three times a week on June 28. That schedule will increase to four a week from July 19 through August 24 with the addition of a 787-8 flight, according to Routesonline.com.
JetBlue already flies to Port-au-Prince, Haiti from New York, Boston and Ft. Lauderdale, and now it plans to add the only non-stop service to Port-au-Prince from Orlando beginning in December, subject to government approvals. The carrier said it will use a 100-seat E190 for the new service.