Asian aviation tidbits
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Spring Airlines to launch cross-Strait flights
Spring Airlines has announced plans to launch direct flights to Kaohsiung. Commencing on 27 October 2013, the new service will mark the first time a low-cost carrier has operated a cross-Strait service from Shanghai. Spring will operate the service three times a week (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) using an Airbus A320 aircraft to fly the two-hour journey between Shanghai’s Pudong airport and Kaohsiung International Airport, in southern Taiwan.
China Southern resumes Fukuoka flights
China Southern Airlines will resume its flights to Fukuoka this month. From 28 October 2013, the Guangzhou-based airline will commence three weekly flights to the southern Japanese city, operating every Monday, Wednesday and Friday using an Airbus A319 aircraft.
China Southern suspended its services to Fukuoka, from both Guangzhou and Shenyang, last year due to a downturn in demand for flights caused by the territorial dispute between China and Japan. The resumption of the Fukuoka service follows the recent relaunch of China Southern’s Beijing-Dalian-Toyama service. Flights from Dalian to Sapporo and Hiroshima however, remain suspended.
Air NZ offers more beach flights
Air New Zealand will increase the number of flights it offers to beach destinations next year, with extra flights to Hawaii, Bali and the Pacific islands. From 16 June to 25 October 2014, the airline will increase its Auckland-Honolulu flights to four flights per week, rising to five during the 30 June-27 July peak period. Air New Zealand will also resume its seasonal Auckland-Bali flight for a third season, with twice weekly flights from 31 May to 19 October 2014, and a third weekly service added between 1 July and 12 October. Overall capacity on Pacific Island routes will also increase by 7.1% over the Northern Summer period between April and October 2014.
Bangkok Airways flies to Myanmar capital
Bangkok Airways has launched its first ever flight to Myanmar’s capital city, Naypyidaw. The airline’s new service took off for the first time recently, with flights operating three times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) using a 70-seat ATR72 turboprop aircraft. Flights depart Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport at 1700 and arrives in Naypyidaw at 1900. The return flight leaves the Myanmar capital at 1930 and gets back into Bangkok at 2230. With this launch, Bangkok Airways becomes the first international carrier to offer scheduled services to three Myanmar cities – Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw.
Air China to fly to Chiang Mai
Air China will introduce services on the Beijing-Chiang Mai route next month. Commencing on 7 November, the airline will operate three weekly flights to the northern Thai city, operating ever Monday, Thursday and Sunday using a Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Flights will depart Beijing’s Capital International Airport at 1830, arriving in Chiang Mai at 2240. The return service will leave Chiang Mai at 2345, getting back into Beijing at 0500 the following morning. The new service is expected to tap into the interest in Chiang Mai generated by the popular Chinese movie, ‘Lost in Thailand’.
AirAsia adds Thai domestic route
AirAsia will launch another domestic route in Thailand next month, connecting Bangkok with the northern city of Phitsanulok. Commencing on 30 November 2013, the service will operate twice a day, departing the Thai capital’s Don Mueang airport at 0655 and 1740. The return services will leave Phitsanulok at 0820 and 1905. The route is one of two new domestic services being launched by Thai AirAsia between now and the end of the year, the other being twice daily service between Bangkok and Khon Kaen, in northeast Thailand. Both routes will be operated by 180-seat Airbus A320 aircraft.
Citilink welcomes new A320
Indonesian low-cost carrier Citilink has expanded its fleet with the addition of its 23rd Airbus A320 aircraft. The new single-aisle jet touched down in Indonesia late last month and will now be deployed on Citilink’s domestic routes from Jakarta. The new aircraft comes fitted with 180 economy class seats, and also features the fuel-saving wing-tips known as ‘Sharklets’. Citilink recently sealed a deal to lease six more A320s, as it moves towards a fleet of 50 aircraft by 2015.
MAI to add Cambodia flights
Myanmar Airways International (MAI) is planning to launch more flights to Cambodia this month. Commencing on 27 October 2013, the national carrier will add one extra weekly flight to its Yangon-Phnom Penh service, taking the total frequency to three flights per week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays).
THAI opens new Bangkok ticket office
Thai Airways International (THAI) has opened a new ticket office at the Thai Government Complex in Bangkok. The new facility was launched last week by Thailand’s prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra (fourth from left), in the company of senior THAI officials including president Dr. Sorajak Kasemsuvan (fifth from left) and executive vice president, Chokchai Panyayong (fifth from right). The facility is located in the Rajaburi Direkriddhi Building, on north Bangkok’s Chaeng Wattana Road.
Lao Airlines to resume Phnom Penh flights
Lao Airlines will resume flights to Phnom Penh next month. Commencing on 7 November 2013, the new service will run three weekly times a week between Vientiane and Phnom Penh using an Airbus A320 aircraft. Flights will depart the Lao capital’s Wattay International Airport every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 0930, getting into Phnom Penh at 1100. The return service will leave the Cambodian capital at 1445 the same day, arriving back into Vientiane at 1610. Lao Airlines also codeshares with Vietnam Airlines on the route.
Vietnam Airlines adds holiday flights
Vietnam Airlines has announced plans to add a series of new flights to cater for the expected rise in demand during next year’s Lunar New Year, or Tet, holidays. From 19 January to 16 February 2014, the national carrier will operate 385 flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (23% more than the usual flight schedule) and 218 between HCMC and Danang (+26%). Other routes, including HCMC to Thanh Hoa, Haiphong, Vinh, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc, Quy Nhon and Buon Ma Thuot, will see 7-8% more flights during this period. Tickets for the Tet flights have already gone on sale.
Virgin Australia adds domestic flights
Virgin Australia has announced the launch of more domestic flights from Perth and Brisbane. From 22 October 2013, two weekly flights (Tuesdays and Fridays) will be added between Perth and Karratha, Western Australia, using a 100-seat Fokker-100 aircraft. Then from 27 November, the airline will commence a brand new service between Brisbane and Cloncurry, in the west of Queensland. Flights will operate twice a week (Wednesdays and Fridays) using a 98-seat Embraer E190 aircraft.
Hainan Airlines to boost Bangkok
Hainan Airlines will increase the number of flights it operates to Bangkok this month. From the onset of the winter schedules on 28 October 2013, the Chinese carrier will add one extra weekly flight to its currently Beijing-Bangkok schedule of six flights per week, taking the total frequency to daily. In addition, Hainan Airlines will increase the size of aircraft it flies to Bangkok, from a single-aisle Boeing 737-800 aircraft to the twin-aisle Airbus A330-300.
Lucky Air boosts Lijiang
Lucky Air, domestic Chinese airline owned by the HNA group, is expanding its capacity at Lijiang, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town in Yunnan province. From 27 October 2013, the airline will commence direct flights from Lijiang to four key provincial cities – Taiyuan, Ningbo, Wuxi and Zhengzhou. It will also offer flights to Nanjing, via Guiyang, and to Xuzhou, via Changsha.
Tigerair adds new Indo route
Tigerair’s Indonesian subsidiary, Tigerair Mandala, has commenced flights on a new domestic route connecting Yogyakarta and Palembang. The new service, which took off for the first time on Tuesday, will now be operated daily using Tigerair’s 180-seat, single-class Airbus A320 aircraft. It becomes the first direct connection between Central Java’s Yogyakarta and Palembang, in South Sumatra.
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