In international route developments, United kicks off another transpacific route from San Francisco to China’s Silicon Valley; Turkish Airlines and Philippine Airlines boost capacity in a key west coast market; an African carrier begins service to Newark; New York JFK welcomes a new European airline; and a Mexican carrier drops a San Diego route, but adds a new one from SFO.
July 13 is the launch date for United Airlines’ fifth route to mainland China and its 14th transpacific route from San Francisco International. That’s the day when United begins new service from SFO to Hangzhou, the capital of China’s Zhejiang Province. The carrier will fly the route three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday) with a 787-9, departing SFO at 2:15 p.m. for the almost 13-hour flight. Hangzhou is about 102 miles southwest of Shanghai. Regarding Hangzhou, United says it is a city of nearly 9 million on China’s southeastern coast, is one of the country’s Seven Ancient Capitals and today boasts a vibrant and entrepreneurial business climate. Known as the “Silicon Valley in Paradise,” Hangzhou has a growing reputation for innovation in technology and e-commerce, and is an important manufacturing and logistics base for coastal China.
Ethiopian Airlines last week revived the Newark route that it abandoned in 2004. It is now flying between Newark and Addis Ababa via a stop in Lome, Togo, three times a week, using a 787 Dreamliner. Connections are available from both Lome and Addis Ababa to other African destinations. Ethiopian also flies to Addis Ababa from Washington D.C. and from Los Angeles via Dublin. It plans to add a fourth weekly flight on the Newark route starting August 5.
Need to get to Belgrade? Air Serbia has kicked off the first direct service between Belgrade and the U.S. in 24 years, with a new route to New York JFK. Air Serbia is a reincarnation of the former Yugoslavian carrier JAT, aided by a big capital injection from Etihad Airways, which owns 49 percent of Air Serbia. The Serbian airline is flying to JFK-Belgrade route five times a week, using a two-class A330-200 leased from India’s Jet Airways – which is also partially owned by Etihad.
A couple of airlines are adding more flights to their Los Angeles schedules. Turkish Airlines, citing “growing consumer demand,” this week boosted frequencies on its LAX-Istanbul route from seven a week to 11, adding second eastbound flights on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The carrier will use 777-300ERs, representing a total capacity increase of 64 percent. Meanwhile, Airlineroute.net reports that Philippine Airlines plans to upgrade its Los Angeles-Manila schedule from the current four flights a week to daily service starting December 6, with a 777-300ER replacing the Airbus A340-300 that the airline currently uses on the LAX route.
Mexico’s low-cost carrier Volaris is ending its service to San Diego from Mexico City after a six-year run. It’s currently down to four A320 flights a week on the route, and will drop that to two a week on August 18, before eliminating the route August 28. On July 1, Volaris launched nonstops between SFO and Guadalajara.
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