I’m not sure if this is “announcement season” or if it’s because the heads of the Star Alliance airlines have all been meeting up in Warsaw but the number of new route announcements seems to have gone through the roof in the past few days.
A couple of weeks ago the big news (at least for some of us) was the announcement that American Airlines would be commencing flights to Australia at the end of this year. In case you missed it, from 17 December, American will fly a daily non-stop service between Los Angeles and Sydney (presumably using one of their shiny 777-300ER planes).
In the last few days LOT, Turkish Airlines, ANA and Delta have all made announcements of their own which involve some interesting routes.
Image courtesy of lord of the wings via flickr
LOT (the Polish Star Alliance Airline) has been the most prolific with its new route announcements – 3 in total.
The airline is putting its new Boeing 787s to use by launching the following routes:
- Warsaw – Tokyo
- Warsaw – Bangkok
- Warsaw – Seoul
The new Tokyo route is the one most prized by the airline and the first flights will commence on 13 January 2016. The Bangkok and Seoul routes are expected to commence in October 2016, initially just 2-3 times per week, with additional frequencies being added to the Bangkok route during peak travel periods.
The airline also announced that it plans to increase frequencies to Beijing, New York, Chicago and Toronto in an effort to claim a larger share of the business travel market.
A press release from Delta indicates that the airline has filed for regulatory approval to shift its Atlanta-Brasilia service to an Orlando-Brasilia route commencing 1 December 2015.
Image courtesy of masakatsu ukon via Flickr
Florida, and Orlando in particular, is a major tourist destination for visitors from Brazil and Delta sees this move as means to capitalising on the destination’s popularity while offering:
“Convenient connections to major U.S. destinations, including Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA) and New York (LGA and JFK), and will complement Delta’s new Sao Paulo-Orlando flight, giving Delta’s Brazil passengers daily access to Orlando.”
Delta proposes to use a 757-200ER aircraft on the route with four weekly flights.
Should the route get regulatory approval, the flights would be:
DL 587: MCO 20:25 – BSB 07:25 +1 (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday)
DL 586: BSB 23:59 – MCO 05:00 +1 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
In an interview with Australian Business Traveller (a great source of information by the way!), the ANA Chairman & CEO Osamu Shinobe is quoted as saying:
“We want to start flying during the (northern) winter season, which is from the second half of October to the second half of March”
He went on to add: “If it cannot be winter, it will be summer 2016”
ANA hasn’t flown between Sydney and Tokyo since July 1999 but, with the recent resurgence in the Australia Japan routes, ANA clearly doesn’t want to be left out.
The airline would fly the route out of Tokyo’s Haneda airport (the more central of Tokyo’s two main airports) but would probably not use one of their new 787 Dreamliners on the route – at least not at first. Shinobe said that they would likely commence the route with a 767and then perhaps move over to a 787 Dreamliner once they had taken delivery of more.
“We are looking at the Boeing 787 but in the past we flew the Boeing 767 as well, so it all depends upon the fleet.”
“This year we are flying into new destinations – Houston, Kuala Lumpur – and increasing frequency to existing routes such as Hawaii and Singapore, so if we are to wait for a Boeing 787 delivery we would have to start flying later.”
“But Sydney is high on our agenda, so we want to start earlier, so something other than the Boeing 787 could be considered as well.”
It will be interesting to see how Qantas reacts to this announcement of intent – they currently fly Sydney to Tokyo Narita but will be moving over to a Sydney-Haneda route from 31 July.
It loos like American and ANA aren’t the only airlines looking to add service to Sydney in the near future – Turkish Airlines want’s a piece of the pie too.
In yet more news that Australian Business Traveller picked up at the Star Alliance conference in Warsaw, Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil announced that his airline planned to begin flights between Istanbul and Sydney in June 2016 with an eye on adding a Melbourne flight as well.
Image courtesy of calflier001 via flickr
A 17-hour non-stop flight has been ruled out and the rumoured cities to have been shortlisted as a stop-over point are: Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta and the Maldives (I’d be surprised in that last one comes to fruition!).
A current aviation agreement places a cap on the number of flights between Turkey and Australia so any service to Sydney wouldn’t be a daily one.
Kotli is quoted as saying:
“Under the current arrangement we can (fly to) Sydney three times a week only, and Melbourne could be twice a week only”
“We are asking the authorities to make them daily, because less than daily doesn’t make sense. Hopefully by next summer, the civil evaluation (authorities) will have solved the problem and we can be daily to Sydney, and Melbourne will follow.”
The Turkish Airlines CEO made no comment as to which aircraft the airline would fly down to Australia but you’d have to suspect they’d place a 777-300ER on a route as high profile as this one.