The Most Notable New Airline Routes This Week

I’ve covered a selection of new routes that took off in the last week. Why not sign up and receive my newsletter in your email inbox every week?

Thai VietJet begins Bangkok-Fukuoka

While Fukuoka has been connected with Bangkok for decades, it hasn’t had service since March 2020. Thai VietJet has now initiated the 2,314 miles (3,723km) from Suvarnabhumi, with up to 5x weekly flights. It is the Group’s latest route to Fukuoka, joining Hanoi that started earlier this month.

Thai VietJet will operate Bangkok-Fukuoka until October 29th, with one-way fares (including one 7kg carry-on bag) from just $ 44 one-way, including taxes. It uses the A321ceo, with the inaugural service by HS-VKM, a five-year-old aircraft. There’s no prize for guessing that it was previously operated by Iceland’s defunct WOW when it was TF-NOW.


A day after Thai VietJet stops the route, Thai Airways will begin it, suggesting the ULCC is serving it as a stop-gap summer opportunity. Thai Airways will have a 1x daily service by the A330-300.

Thai VietJet has up to 5x weekly flights, but they won’t exist for long. Photo: via Fukuoka Airport.

Nice-ly does it!

Despite being Paris-centric, Air France has inaugurated four routes from Nice, although they run for only a short time to capture peak demand. On July 8th, it began Heraklion (3x weekly, ending September 3rd), followed the next day by London Heathrow (up to 1x daily, ending August 28th).

On July 11th, Tunis took off (2x weekly until August 26th), while Algiers started two days later (up to 2x weekly, ending August 24th).

These four Nice routes follow many other inaugurations by other carriers – many new to the airport – between April and August. They include United (Newark), Etihad (Abu Dhabi), Icelandair (Keflavik), Gulf Air (Bahrain), Kuwait Airways (previously served in 2019), Flyr (Bergen, Oslo), Widerøe (Bergen, Oslo Torp), and FLYONE (Chișinău).

Etihad is one of many new airlines to launch Nice this summer. It began Abu Dhabi-Rome-Nice-Abu Dhabi on June 15th. Photo: via Nice Côte d’Azur Airport.

Lynx Air starts Edmonton-Toronto

There’s more competition from Edmonton to Toronto. That’s because new entrant Lynx Air, which only took off in April this year, has inaugurated the 1,675-mile (2,696km) airport pair. It uses B737 MAX 8s, its sole type.

The carrier, whose call sign is appropriately ‘dauntless,’ has a 1x daily service. It is the fifth airline in the market. It’s against Air Canada (up to 8x daily), WestJet (up to 7x daily), Swoop (up to 3x daily), and Flair (up to 2x daily). While Edmonton-Toronto has had more flights before, it has never had so many airlines.

The aircraft operating Lynx Air’s new route runs Edmonton-Toronto-St John’s-Toronto-Edmonton, just four daily sectors, albeit quite long. It leaves Alberta at 07:00 and is scheduled to return at 01:50 the next day. It departs Toronto bound for Edmonton at 23:30, not surprisingly the route’s latest departure.

Never has Edmonton-Toronto had so many airlines. Photo: via Edmonton International Airport.

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Zurich-Azores now linked

There are now nonstop flights between Zurich and the Azores. It’s thanks to leisure airline Edelweiss inaugurating Ponta Delgada, the Azores ‘busiest airport and the islands’ main population and economic center.

Edelweiss has a Monday-only A320-operated service that runs until November 28th. The airport pair saw around 8,000 passengers in 2019, almost all via Lisbon. Edelweiss currently leaves Switzerland at 11:40 and arrives at 14:15 local, a block time of 4h 35m. Returning, it departs at 14:55 and returns at 21:30.

Ponta Delgada has 1.9 million roundtrip seats for sale this summer. That’s up by a healthy 13% over summer 2019 (S19), the previous peak.

The airport pair is brand-new. Photo: via Visit Azores.

Brest and Avignon get UK flights

France is now part of the new Flybe’s network. It has commenced Birmingham to Brest and Avignon, both operating on Saturdays using its 78-seat Dash-8-Q400s. It’ll also begin Southampton to Avignon on July 23rd (Saturdays only) and Southampton to Toulon on the 24th (Sundays only).

Brest and Avignon were long served by the first Flybe. The new iteration’s launch of them is noteworthy because it is the only carrier to link them to the UK this year. It wasn’t always like this. Over the last 18 years, Brest also had Ryanair, VLM, CityJet, easyJet, and short-lived Fly KISS. Avignon: Jet2 and CityJet.

It would also have been the only airline serving Toulon from the UK, but it was pipped to the post by easyJet, which began London Gatwick on June 29th. Over the years, Toulon has had UK flights by Ryanair, BA (by GB Airways), CityJet, and easyJet.

Flybe is the only airline serving Brest and Avignon from the UK. Photo: via Flybe.

That’s it for the 46th edition of my routes newsletter. Sign up to get something like this in your inbox each week.

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