In international route developments, Norwegian adds more flights from the east coast to Europe; WOW Air increases frequencies to the west coast; Emirates kicks off controversial new U.S. route; United expands code-sharing with Asiana; Air China adds a Los Angeles route; Southwest begins a new international service from Denver; and Avianca increases its U.S. schedule.
Norwegian Air hasn’t even started its new 737 MAX low-fare service from the U.S. east coast yet and already it is adding more routes. In addition to those already scheduled to Ireland and Scotland (with fares starting at $65 one way), Norwegian also plans to add twice-weekly flights to Bergen, Norway, from both Providence., R.I. and from Stewart Airport in Newburgh, N.Y. The airline has also filed its winter schedules for Paris Charles de Gaulle, where it will switch from 787-8s to 787-9s starting October 29. Norwegian’s Paris schedule calls for six flights a week from New York JFK (down from daily in the summer), four a week from Los Angeles, two from Ft. Lauderdale and one from Orlando.
Also increasing its U.S. service is low-fare rival WOW Air, which offers connecting flights to Europe through its Reykjavik hub. WOW told Air Transport World that its service to Reykjavik from San Francisco and Los Angeles will be increased to daily frequencies with its summer 2017 schedule. The carrier has been running five flights a week from San Francisco and four from LAX. WOW is installing premium seating in its A330-300s, which it uses for the west coast routes.
Emirates this week launched its promised new service from Newark to Athens, continuing to Dubai, and was greeted at Newark Airport with a protest staged by 200 United Airlines employees. United, Delta and American are adamantly opposed to U.S. route expansion by the Middle East Big Three airlines – Emirates, Etihad and Qatar – and are conducting an intensive lobbying effort with the Trump Administration to block new service for those carriers. The U.S. airlines allege that their Mideast rivals are subsidized by their governments, thus challenging Trump’s pledge to put American companies first in the face of foreign competition.
United Airlines will expand its code-sharing agreement with Star Alliance partner Asiana Airlines on March 17, when United’s code will go onto Asiana’s daily Chicago O’Hare-Seoul Incheon flights. At the same time, Asiana will put its code onto 16 domestic United routes out of ORD.
Got business in Shenzen, China? Air China has filed a schedule for new service to Shenzen from Los Angeles International, due to begin July 6. Air China – a Star Alliance member — will fly the route three days a week, using a 787-9 Dreamliner. Speaking of Shenzen, China’s Xiamen Airlines has trimmed back its Seattle-Shenzen-Xiamen 787-8 service from three flights a week to two, a seasonal reduction continuing through May 22.
Two minor players in the foundering US-Cuba market, Silver Airways and Frontier, have announced they are pulling out completely later this spring. Other carriers have cut back on flights as the market finds its legs…and waits to see what the Trump administration has in store.
Southwest Airlines has started its newest international route: The carrier has started flying from Denver International to Belize City, Belize. It’s currently operating as Saturday-only service, but Southwest will boost it to Saturday and Sunday flights for the summer, June 4 to August 14.
Avianca’s Los Angeles-Bogota route, which has been operating four times a week, will increase to daily frequency starting March 26. The carrier uses a two-class 787 on the route. Meanwhile, the Colombian carrier also plans a new U.S. route. It will begin Bogota-Boston service on June 2, operating four flights a week with an A319.
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