Quite possibly the most exciting news I have heard all week: German carrier airberlin announced today that it will launch new nonstop services between Chicago and the Capital city of Deutscheland. No air carrier has ever served this route previously, although it was rumored that Chicago was on the high-end of AB’s expansion list given that it is a OneWorld hub for American Airlines.
Air Berlin will initiate services on 23MAR13, in time for the Easter Holidays, deploying an Airbus A330-200 series aircraft initially 3 times per week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Starting 01MAY13, the flight will go up to five times weekly, adding Wednesday and Sunday services.
Chicago will represent Air Berlin’s seventh destination in the United States, as it already serves Fort Meyers, FL, Miami, New York JFK, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Once it commences services to Chicago, AB will have four out of the five “cornerstone” American Airlines hubs covered in the US, with Dallas/Ft. Worth being the sole exception.
Although the flight has not been loaded into the schedules, according to the official press release, the flight is slated to depart Berlin at 10:00 and arrive at ORD at 12:10. On the return leg, the flight will leave ORD at 15:25 and arrive at Berlin at 7:00 the following morning.
Congratulations to Air Berlin, Chicago and OneWorld for this promising route! I do believe it will be a great success.
United has decided to give some mid-summer love to its pre-merger hubs (Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington) after announcing new expansion plans today. Most notably, the carrier has decided to re-instate two long-haul trunk routes from its San Francisco hub to Taiwan Taoyuan International airport (TPE) in Taipei and Paris Charles de Gaulle International airport (CDG) in France. Both services are scheduled to operate on a daily, year-round basis.
The Taipei flights are scheduled to launch on April 9, 2013 (subject to government approval) operated on Boeing 777 aircraft, seating eight passengers in United Global First, 40 in United BusinessFirst,104 in United EconomyPlus, and 117 in United Economy.
The SFO-Paris flights are scheduled to commence two days later on April 11, 2013 (subject to government approval) operated on a Boeing 767-300 aircraft with 30 passengers seated in BusinessFirst, 49 in EconomyPlus and 135 in Economy.
Both routes were previously operated by United in the past, but were terminated due to United’s Chapter 11 filing as well as the economic recession. SFOCDG was last flown until 28OCT05 and SFOTPE on 31AUG08. Both routes face competition: Air France operates a daily flight to Paris from SFO (which goes 2x daily during the summer season) and both EVA Air and China Airlines operate 12 weekly and 7 weekly services, respectively, on the SFO-Taipei corridor. EVA is expected to join Star Alliance in 2013, which should strengthen the success potential of the new United flight as it will connect two Star hubs.
United will be operating the San Francisco – Paris route with the newly configured Boeing 767-300 aircraft which feature a true lie-flat BusinessFirst sleeper seat and Audio-Video On Demand (AVOD) throughout the entire cabin. The San Francisco – Taipei route will also be operated on a newly configured Boeing 777 that offers a true lie-flat seat (both front and rear-facing) in both UnitedFirst and United BusinessFirst, as well as personal screens with AVOD in every seat in all cabins. To read more about the product offerings on these routes, click here.
UA990 SFO 1445 – 1045 +1CDG 763 D
UA991 CDG 1000 – 1250 SFO 763 D
*Taipei will appear in the GDS once it receives government approval.
Other network announcements from United included new services from Denver (DEN) to Williston, North Dakota (ISN), Los Angeles (LAX) to Kelowna, British Columbia (YLW), and from Washington Dulles (IAD) to San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL). All services will be phased in between 04NOV12 and 19DEC12.
United’s second-largest hub at Chicago O’Hare International airport (ORD) will receive the most attention in terms of the number of new destinations launched. United will link the Windy City with the Southeast with a new daily service to Jackson, Mississippi (JAN), as well as the northern Mexico region with Monterrey, Mexico (MTY) and western Ontario with Thunder Bay, Canada (YQT). Seasonal service to Anchorage, Alaska (ANC) will operate on a daily basis during peak high season and a weekly service to Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) is set to launch on 09FEB13.
Detailed information surrounding United’s new inventory additions, including flight times and scheduled start dates, can be found here.
It seems like multiple airlines these days are having second thoughts about their decisions to pull out of San Francisco airport (SFO), as Scandinavian Air System (SAS) announced last week that it has decided to re-venture into the SFO-Copenhagen space starting summer 2013. In addition, SAS has announced it will add three weekly late-evening departures from Newark (EWR) to Copenhagen.
SAS has had somewhat of a tumultuous history with its West Coast US operations. The carrier discontinued its Seattle and Los Angeles services in the 2000’s, and has started and stopped its San Francisco flights four separate times over the past two decades. SFO-CPH operated from 1996 to 2001, then again briefly from 2002 to 2003, once more in summer 2004, and again during summer 2007. This last period represents the longest hiatus during the route’s dormancy; however SAS appears confident that it can be sustained at 6 weekly frequencies next summer.
Services are scheduled to commence between SFO and CPH on 08APR13, and the capacity boosts on EWRCPH will commence on 01APR13. So far, both changes are expected to remain year-round.
Copenhagen – Newark
SK909 CPH1225 – 1450EWR 333 x2
SK909 CPH1225 – 1450EWR 343 2
SK901 CPH1825 – 2050EWR 343 145
SK910 EWR1740 – 0715+1CPH 333 x2
SK910 EWR1740 – 0715+1CPH 343 2
SK902 EWR2330 – 1315+1CPH 343 145
Copenhagen – San Francisco
SK935 CPH1225 – 1445SFO 343 x26
SK935 CPH1255 – 1515SFO 343 6
German flag carrier Deutsche Lufthansa, per initial rumors, has announced that Delhi Indira Gandhi International airport (DEL) will be its next Boeing 747-8I destination, commencing on 06AUG12. Current bilateral agreements between Germany and India prevent German carriers from operating aircraft larger than a Boeing 747 into India, so this will provide a nice capacity boost to allow Lufthansa to carry more traffic into the high-volume Delhi market.
I personally have flown Lufthansa 760/761 many, many times in the past, and you can read my trip report about it here. Lufthansa’s decision to place the new aircraft on the Frankfurt-Delhi sector will be a nice, welcoming change as the interior product on that flight was due for a much-needed upgrade.
I will actually be flying out of Delhi on the 6th of August en-route to Thailand, so I will just miss the 748-I as it makes its arrival into Delhi later the following morning. However, I will be transiting back through DEL on August 11th. I am scheduled to depart on a SWISS flight that departs for Zurich at 1:15 AM, so I may just BARELY have enough time to squeeze in a view of the whale jet 🙂 Hopefully, pictures to come!
Proposed schedule is as follow.
LH760 FRA1345 – 0035+1DEL 74H D
LH761 DEL0225 – 0710FRA 74H D eff 07AUG12
Related: Spotlight on Deutsche Lufthansa, the 747-8I and India (Posted by AviationDaily on April 30, 2012).
Just for fun: Explore Lufthansa’s interactive Route Map
Drama in Houston continues; United chops services from IAH to Paris, Aruba, Mexico and smaller markets
Good news does not seem to be going around for all of the United hubs, as the market reductions have started to finally take place at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Texas, which is currently United’s largest hub operation.
Back in May, United announced that as a result of the City of Houston’s approval to allow Southwest to build international gates at competing Hobby airport across town, it would cut 10% of capacity at Intercontinental. Arguably, United was using the Hobby decision as political posturing to cut unprofitable routes at Intercontinental (that were likely under-performing independently of the City Council’s decision for the future of Hobby). Nevertheless, United wasn’t kidding around as they have announced several route terminations that Houstonians are not too happy about.
First, United made it clear that they were not going to proceed with plans to launch the highly-touted 787 route to Auckland, New Zealand, citing that the flight would “no longer be economically feasible” given the traffic there were going to “likely lose” with the expansions at Hobby airport (which wouldn’t materialize until after 2015, FYI).
Next, United announced it is chopping daily services from Houston to Paris on 08OCT12, a long-standing former Continental route that has been around since 1997. United competes with Air France daily on the Houston to Paris sector, although United averages a higher load factor by 4 percentage points (77%) than Air France (73%) according to the US Department of Transportation statistics.
United will also chop short-to-medium long haul international routes from Houston, including an entrenched caribbean route to Queen Beatrix International airport in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles (AUA), Tuxtla Gutiérrez airport in the State of Chiapas, Mexico (TGZ), General Rafael Bueina International airport in Mazatlan, Mexico (MMZ) and Licenciado Adolfo López Mateos International Airport in Toluca, Mexico (TLC) which is used as a smaller, alternative gateway airport to the capital Mexico City.
Finally, United is ending smaller service to regional markets, including Waco, TX (ACT), Victoria, TX (VCT), Beaumont, TX(BPT), Greensboro/High Point Piedmont Triad International airport, NC (GSO) and Asheville Regional Airport, NC (AVL)
Related: Drama in Houston (Reprise) (Published by AviationDaily on May 31, 2012)