In international route news, American has kicked off its new Australia service from Los Angeles; Air New Zealand has linked up with Star Alliance partner United at Houston; Delta inaugurated flights on three new Latin America routes; KLM will eliminate one U.S. gateway and add another; Kuwait Airways drops a U.S. route; and United will increase flights to Brussels.
At about the same time that Qantas started its Sydney-San Francisco 747 service this past weekend, its joint venture partner American Airlines launched its own new transpacific route to Sydney from Los Angeles International (a route also flown by Qantas, along with Melbourne-LAX). American’s daily flight uses a 310-passenger, three-class 777-300ER and departs LAX at 9:50 p.m. At the end of January, Qantas will trim its own Los Angeles-Sydney schedule from 14 flights a week to 10. It’s the first time in 23 years that American has flown to Australia.
Air New Zealand last week inaugurated its promised new service from Auckland to Houston Bush Intercontinental, where it offers connections via its Star Alliance partner United Airlines. The Kiwi carrier is using a 777-200ER with economy, Premium Economy and business class seating (with lie-flat seat-beds) for the route, which it flies five times a week. The westbound flight takes about 14-1/2 hours.
Delta added a trio of new routes to South America this past weekend. The carrier started new 767 service from Orlando to Sao Paulo, Brazil, operating four days a week (increasing to daily in March), and two routes from Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson to Colombia, both using 737s. Delta’s ATL-Medellin service operates daily, and ATL-Cartagena flies three times a week.
Instead of reviving its summer seasonal service from Amsterdam to Dallas/Ft. Worth next May, KLM reportedly plans to replace it with new Salt Lake City-Amsterdam service. The change is seen as benefiting KLM’s joint venture with Delta, which has a hub at Salt Lake City. The two carriers are reportedly looking to bolster the traffic feed to their new code-share partner Jet Airways for onward travel from AMS to India.
Facing a charge of unlawful discrimination from the U.S. Transportation Department, Kuwait Airways has discontinued the London Heathrow-New York JFK segment of its one-stop New York-Kuwait route. Last fall, DOT issued a cease-and-desist order to the airline after it learned that Kuwait Airways refused to sell a ticket to an Israeli citizen between London and New York. The airline maintained such a sale is barred by Kuwaiti law.
United Airlines said it plans to add a second daily flight next summer from its Newark hub to Brussels. The second flight will operate from May 5 through October 28; departures from May 25-September 6 will use a 214-seat 767-300, while earlier and later flights will use a 169-seat 757-200.
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