Ten new routes from the UK this winter16/07/2018
New short and long-haul routes including British Airways to Durban, Jet Airways between Manchester and Mumbai, and Norwegian to Tampa.
British Airways has announced new direct flights to Durban starting this winter.
The thrice weekly service will launch on October 29, departing Heathrow at 1545 on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving into Durban’s King Shaka International airport at 0535 the following day. The return leg will leave the South African city at 0735 on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, landing back into London at 1745.
The new route will be the only direct service between Europe and Durban, and will be served by a B787-8 Dreamliner aircraft.
BA previously served Durban with a one-stop flight via Johannesburg, between 1981 and 1999.
Tickets start from £599 return in World Traveller, £1,214 in World Traveller Plus, and £3,199 in Club World.
The route will complement BA’s existing year-round flights from Heathrow to Cape Town and Johannesburg, and the carrier’s winter service between Gatwick and Cape Town.
Virgin Atlantic will launch London Heathrow to Las Vegas flights from March 31, 2019, moving the flight it currently operates from London Gatwick to its Terminal 3 Heathrow hub.
The existing Gatwick flight is with a B747. The new flights will be operated by a B787-9 aircraft which is an overall capacity drop (eg: there are fewer seats on the B787), but there are more premium seats.
Virgin says it has seen a growing demand from corporate travellers as Vegas is one of the largest conference centres in the world. The airline ran a successful trial last year where two flights from Heathrow took tech professionals to CES in Vegas.
The B787-9 has 31 Upper Class seats, 35 Premium seats and 192 economy seats, with flights departing London at 12:40pm, and Las Vegas at 19:05. The new flights are now on sale, with prices starting from £369 per person.
Etihad Airways has announced plans for the first direct, nonstop flights between Abu Dhabi and Barcelona.
A five times weekly service will launch on November 21, rising to daily from March 31, 2019.
Flight EY49 will depart Abu Dhabi at 0220 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, arriving into Barcelona at 0645, returning as EY50, departing the Spanish city at 0950 and landing back into Abu Dhabi at 2000.
The route will be served with a two-class A330-200 aircraft, and will coincide with the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which takes place from November 23-25 this year. It will also add to Etihad’s existing daily flights to Madrid.
Gulf rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways serve Barcelona from their hubs at Dubai and Doha respectively.
Norwegian has announced a new route between Gatwick airport and Tampa, starting from October 31.
The twice weekly service to Florida’s Gulf Coast destination will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays, departing Gatwick at 1455, arriving into Tampa at 1935, with the return leg leaving the US city at 2100 and landing back into London at 0955 the following day (note slight variations in timings due to slot availability).
Fares for the new route start from £175 each way in economy (£515 in Premium) and are now on sale.
Other changes for the winter season include an increase on the Gatwick-Fort Lauderdale route from three flights per week to daily, an extra weekly service on the Gatwick-Orlando route (up to four flights per week), an increase on the Gatwick-Buenos Aires route from four flights per week to daily, and two extra services on the Gatwick-Boston route (up to daily).
Las Vegas flights will return this winter with an extra weekly frequency (up to three flights per week), but note that Chicago will decrease from daily to four flights per week, Oakland will lose one weekly service (down to three flights per week), and flights to Austin and Seattle will move to seasonal from this winter.
British Airways has announced new flights to Marrakech, Morocco from London Heathrow Terminal 5 from October 28, 2018.
The four times weekly service will depart on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The new service is in addition to the eight times weekly Gatwick to Marrakech flights.
British Airways also has a number of increases in flight frequencies this winter including Prague (27 to 34 per week), Budapest (20 to 23 per week) and Barcelona (46 to 53 per week), as well as increasing the frequency to winter sun destinations such as Gibraltar (9 to 13 per week), Larnaca (7 to 10 per week) and Malaga (4 to 6 per week).
Shenzhen Airlines is set to launch non-stop flights from its home base at Shenzhen Bao’an Airport to London Heathrow, with tickets already available to purchase for flights starting October 30, 2018.
Flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, flown by the airline’s new Airbus A330 aircraft. Shenzhen Airlines took delivery of its first A330 back in September last year.
Outbound flights departing Shenzhen will take 13 hours and 30 minutes, while the return leg out of London will take just 12 hours.
Shenzhen Airlines outfits its A330s with two classes – economy and business. At the time of writing, return economy class fares at the end of October/early November began at US$1,019, while business class fares started at US$3,390 inclusive of taxes and fees.
Jet Airways has announced plans for a new route between Manchester and Mumbai, the first nonstop service between the two cities.
The four times weekly route will launch on November 5 and will operate on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, departing Manchester Terminal 2 at 0935 and arriving into Mumbai’s Terminal 2 at 0040 the following day, with the return leg leaving the Indian city at 0230 and landing back into the UK at 0755.
Flights will be served by an A330-200 aircraft configured for 254 seats including 18 in Premiere business class, with economy fares starting from £400 return.
Last year Jet Airways increased its London Heathrow-Mumbai service to three times daily, and the carrier also offers a daily frequency between Heathrow and Delhi.
LOT Polish Airlines
LOT Polish has announced two new routes from London City airport to Warsaw and Budapest.
The twice daily Warsaw service will launch on January 7, 2019, with flights departing Warsaw at 0715 (daily except Sunday) and 1615 (daily except Saturday), landing into LCY at 0900 and 1800. The return legs will leave London City at 0930 and 1830, arriving into Warsaw at 1300 and 2200 respectively.
Meanwhile the Budapest service will launch on February 19, 2019. Flights will depart the Hungarian capital at 0700 (except Sundays) and 1715 (except Saturdays), arriving into LCY at 0845 and 1900 respectively.
The return legs will leave London at 0915 and 1930, landing back into Budapest at 1245 and 2300 respectively.
Both routes will be operated by LOT’s new Embraer 190 aircraft which are being leased from Nordic Aviation Capital and configured with 106 seats.
Flag carrier Ethiopian Airlines is to add flights between Addis Ababa and Manchester from this winter.
The airline recently increased the frequency of its flights to London Heathrow, and at the time hinted at expansion into other UK airports.
This has now been confirmed, with a four times weekly service starting on December 1.
According to a press release the route is “initially transiting via Brussels” – no details have been given as to whether Ethiopian plans to convert it to a nonstop service in the future.
Flights will be operated by a two-class B787 Dreamliner aircraft, departing Addis Ababa at 0045, arriving into Manchester at 0655, before returning from the UK at 1900, arriving back into the Ethiopian capital at 0600 the following day.
Return economy fares will start from £499, with business class starting from £1,999.
Royal Brunei Airlines
Royal Brunei Airlines has announced plans to move to a nonstop service between London and Brunei from later this year.
The carrier currently routes its daily London flights via Dubai, but will drop this stopover from October 28, reducing the flight duration between London Heathrow and Brunei International by about three and a half hours.
It will also see Royal Brunei offer a one-stop service between Melbourne and London, with the London-bound flight duration on this route reduced from the current 28.4 hours (routing via Dubai) to 23.2 hours.
Flight times on the London-Brunei-Melbourne route from October 28 will be as follows:
- London to Brunei: departs 1705, arrives 1440 the following day
- Brunei to Melbourne: departs 1900, arrives 0500 the following day
- Melbourne to Brunei: departs 1840, arrives 2240
- Brunei to London: departs 0015, arrives 0650
The airline’s country manager UK and Ireland Royal Brunei Airlines Adiel Mambara predicted that the new one-stop flight between London and Melbourne will see the carrier “become a major player in the UK-Australia market”.
Royal Brunei will continue to offer a four times weekly service between Brunei and Dubai from October 29.
By Mark Caswell