News

Five new air services you should know about

2 Oct 2013 by ReggieHo

Airline

Air Astana

Route

Astana – London (starting from October 29)

Details

Once a week to complement the existing twice-weekly Almaty-London service on Tuesday and Saturday. From October 29, the flight will fly every Tuesday Almaty-London-Astana-Almaty, every Thursday Almaty-Astana-London-Almaty and on Saturday directly between Almaty-London-Almaty.

Aircraft model

B757-200

Class

Number of seats

Configuration

Business

16

2-2

Economy

150

3-3

Total number of seats: 166


What it means 

Air Astana links the Kazakh capital with many domestic destinations as well as Beijing and Urumqi. It also has 13 flights a day shuttling passengers between Astana and the country's commercial hub Almaty (for a Tried and Tested review of this route, click here), from which there are more international connections to major Asian hubs such as Seoul and Hong Kong. The new flight increases the Central Asian country's appeal as a transit point between Asia and Europe. 

www.airastana.com

 

Airline

Korean Air

Route

Seoul – Atlanta

Details

From September 1, the airline began deploying the A380 on three of its 10 weekly flights on this route (Wednesday, Friday and Sunday), while the B777-300 continues to serve the other seven flights. The superjumbo will fly seven times a week on this route from October 27 onwards.

Aircraft models

B777-300

Class

Number of seats

Configuration

First

8

1-2-1

Business

56

2-3-2

Economy

227

3-3-3

Total number of seats: 291

A380

Class

Number of seats

Configuration

First

12

1-2-1

Business

94

2-2-2

Economy

301

3-4-3

Total number of seats: 407


What it means

This is one of the most important routes linking Asia with North America. Both Incheon and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta are hubs: The former has links to 197 destinations, while the latter, flying 95 million passengers annually to 160 destinations, is the busiest airport in the world. The aircraft change represents a significant increase in capacity and reflects strong demand of this service.

www.koreanair.com

 

Airline

British Airways

Route

London – Chengdu 

Details

Launched last month, the service is three times a week. The capital of Sichuan province joins Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai as one of BA's four Chinese routes. See story.

Aircraft models

B777-200

Class

Number of seats

Configuration

First

14

1-2-1

Business

48

2-4-2

Premier economy

40

2-4-2

Economy

122

3-3-3

Total number of seats: 224

B787 (from next summer)

Class

Number of seats

Configuration

Business

35

2-3-2

Premier economy

25

2-3-2

Economy

154

3-3-3

Total number of seats: 214


What it means

Chengdu, other than being a provincial capital, is a hub for Western China, and its Shuangliu airport serves 31.6 million passengers annually and 210 destinations. It has flight connections to Frankfurt and Schiphol, by Air China and KLM respectively. Having it connected with another major European hub signifies the region's rising economic prospects.

www.britishairways.com

 

Airline

Emirates

Route

Dubai – Kabul

Details

From December 4, EK 640 will depart Dubai daily at 0955 and arrive in Kabul at 1315. The return flight, EK 641 will leave the Afghan capital at 1530 and arrive back in the UAE at 1800.

Aircraft model

A340-500

Class

Number of seats

Configuration

First

12

1-2-1

Business

42

2-2-2

Economy

204

2-4-2

Total number of seats: 258


What it means

Admittedly, Kabul and Afghanistan as a whole are still too dangerous for non-essential travel, but as the country rebuilds itself, it means business opportunities. The city's Khwaja Rawash airport still has limited number of air links (26), especially international ones. Being connected to a hub like Dubai, serving 220 destinations, is vital to its connectivity. The airline has identified corporate travellers as a major clientele for this route and even plans to offer first and business class cabins. Much of the profit from this route, however, will come from cargo, supplying the country with pharmaceuticals, perishable foodstuffs and construction materials.

www.emirates.com

 

Airline

Philippine Airlines

Route

Manila – London

Details

Five times a week. The flight will depart Manila just after 0800 to offer an early afternoon arrival into London the same day. The return service is to depart the UK capital in the late afternoon or early evening, to provide a lunchtime or mid-afternoon arrival back in the Philippines.

Aircraft model

B777-300ER

Class

Number of seats

Configuration

Business

42

2-3-2

Economy

328

3-4-3

Total number of seats: 370


What it means 

After 15 years of absence, the Philippine national carrier is set to return to Europe. It is a significant development for a market that is dominated by indirect Asian and Gulf carriers due to the lack of non-stop service. For a detailed analysis, click here.

www1.philippineairlines.com

 

Reggie Ho, Valerian Ho

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