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Seven cancelled routes making a comeback

29 Nov 2017 by Craig Bright
Aircraft take-off

Everyone likes a good comeback – from David Bowie’s album The Next Day to Steve Jobs’ return to and revitalisation of Apple. Airline routes are no different and seeing a formerly axed service return to life can be a joyous thing, particularly if you were once a regular traveller on said route.

The past year has seen a number of airlines revive services to, from and throughout Asia-Pacific that they had previously scrapped, usually due to drops in profitability, and 2018 is already set to see a few more airlines return to destinations they last served years (sometimes decades) ago.

Back from the grave

Philippine Airlines: Manila-Kuala Lumpur

Philippine Airlines has something of an on-again, off-again relationship with the Malaysian capital when it comes to flying non-stop from Manila. Back in June, the carrier once again breathed life into the route, having cut the service in February 2014 for commercial reasons, less than a year after it had previously relaunched the service in May 2013.

This isn’t the only route Philippine Airlines is reviving this year, however. Back in July, the carrier dropped its service to Abu Dhabi, but about a week later reversed course on the decision and as of October this year the service has been back in operation.

Air Canada: Vancouver-Taipei

Before the launch of its non-stop Vancouver-Taipei service back in June this year, Air Canada hadn’t flown to Taiwan since 2002, when it cut its services to the island. Now, the airline is flying direct to the capital daily with its three-class Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

At the time of the service’s relaunch, president of passenger airlines, Benjamin Smith, said the carrier was “very pleased to return to Taipei, an important and significant economic centre, as part of our ongoing global expansion”.

Air China: Beijing-Zurich

Another case of a long-term absence being broken this year, Air China revived its Beijing-Zurich flights in June this year, some 17 years since it last flew to the Swiss city.

Flying four times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, the service is operated by Air China’s two-class A330-200, which has 30 business and 207 economy class seats.

Qantas: Sydney-Beijing

Qantas started out 2017 with its notable return to the Chinese capital in January, some eight years after it dropped the route due to lagging leisure traffic between Australia and China.

Now, that trend has rapidly reversed – Qantas has been targeting Chinese travellers with moves such as making tickets available to purchase on Chinese direct-sales platform Fliggy, while innumerable mainland Chinese carriers have been launching new routes to Australia over the past year.

Qantas flies the 12-hour route daily using its 235-seat Airbus A330-200.

On the horizon

China Airlines: Taipei-London Gatwick

While Taiwan’s flag carrier China Airlines is making its return to London with the launch of its new non-stop service between Taipei and London Gatwick this Friday, it won’t technically be a revival of its original route to the English capital.

China Airlines’ former route to London saw it fly to Heathrow Airport, but the carrier cut the route in 2012 after just two years of operation. Now, the airline looks set to head back to London flying into its other major airport, Gatwick, four times a week with its new Airbus A350 aircraft.

Royal Brunei Airlines: Bandar Seri Begawan-Beijing

After an absence of about two decades, Royal Brunei Airlines is set to make its return to Beijing next month when it relaunches the route as a twice-weekly service, though the airline has expressed its desire to change this to a three-times-weekly operation “at the earliest opportunity”. The airline is planning to fly its two-class Airbus A320 on the route.

This isn’t the airline’s return to China as a whole, however. Royal Brunei Airlines currently flies to Shanghai on mainland China as well as Hong Kong.

Austrian Airlines: Vienna-Tokyo Narita

Austrian Airlines’ Vienna-Tokyo Narita service is set to come back in May next year after a relatively brief absence of about 18 months. The airline previously dropped the route in September 2016, the result of increased competition and the economic downturn that made the route financially unviable. Since then, however, the outlook for the route has improved significantly, according to the carrier.

Now, Austrian Airlines is expecting to fly the route with one of its new Boeing 777s, which will also include its new premium economy seat product, also launching next year.

What previously dropped routes have you been glad to see make a comeback? Let us know in the comments section below.

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