In international route developments, Air France adds a new West Coast gateway; China Airlines will fly to an unlikely California airport; Aer Lingus adds a new transatlantic route in 2018; Singapore’s Scoot plans its first U.S. route; Finnair returns to Miami; and Seattle-Vancouver travelers could get downtown-to-downtown service.
Air France has scheduled a March 25 start for new U.S. service between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Seattle – a route where its joint venture partner Delta already offers daily year-round service. Air France said it will initially fly the route three days a week, increasing to five days a week from June 19 through September 2, using a 777-200ER with business class, premium economy and regular economy seating. The new flight will depart SEA at 4:30 p.m.
Taiwan-based China Airlines already flies from Taipei to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and now it plans to add a third California gateway starting in the spring of next year. Could it be San Diego? San Jose? Nope. It’s Ontario International Airport, 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles – an airport that currently has just 62 flights a day to 15 cities. China Airlines reportedly expects to carry more than 80,000 passengers a year in each direction on the new route, which it will initially serve four days a week with a two-class, 358-seat 777-300ER.
Aer Lingus, now a sister company of British Airways as part of International Airlines Group, has announced plans to add new U.S. service on March 25 when it will start flying between Dublin and Philadelphia. The Irish carrier will use a 757 to fly the new route four days a week – a route already operated by BA’s joint venture partner American. Aer Lingus’ summer U.S. schedule for 2018 also includes two flights a day from New York JFK, Boston and Chicago; daily service from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Hartford; four flights a week from Orlando; and three a week from Miami.
Scoot, the low-cost affiliate of Singapore Airlines, has opened the books for reservations on its first U.S. route. The carrier plans a December 19 launch of flights from Singapore to Honolulu via a stop in Osaka, Japan. Scoot will use a 787-8 on the route, which it will fly four days a week. The Scoot 787-8 has 335 seats in a two-class configuration, although some economy seats are offered with extra legroom for an additional fee.
Finnair this week resumed seasonal service to Miami International, operating three flights a week to Helsinki with an Airbus A330. The flights will continue through March.
Business commuters who travel between Seattle and Vancouver could soon have a new flight option that avoids the two cities’ big airports. The Seattle Times reports that a pair of small regional carriers – Kenmore Air and British Columbia’s Harbour Air – are planning to introduce new seaplane service, possibly by the end of this year. The Seattle departures would be from Lake Union, convenient to Amazon headquarters. Harbour Air operates out of downtown Vancouver’s Harbour Flight Center.