As I have reported before, low-cost carriers are continuing to add long distance routes to their networks, bringing more competition to international air travel and (hopefully) bringing prices down for the average traveler! This week, you can find new routes by low-cost carriers Air Asia. There are also new routes announced by China Airlines (not a low-cost carrier, but very price competitive) and two decidedly not low-cost carriers, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways!
Air Asia, the world’s best low-cost carrier – according to SkyTrax, is returning to Europe. They tried this before, but shut down their unprofitable routes to London and Paris in 2012. They now use more efficient Airbus A330 for a route from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul and on to Barcelona with one daily flight starting October 30th. This routes sounds surprising at first, but makes sense on closer inspection: Malaysian Airline is continuing to cut back their routes and stopped flying to Istanbul from Kuala Lumpur and their should be some interest in a non-stop connection between these two moderate Muslim countries for business and leisure travelers. The continuation to Barcelona is a bit more of a puzzle. The biggest competitors on these routes will be the Middle Eastern carriers and it will be an interesting competition! Check out my review of the AirAsia Airbus A330 business class – it’ll be a good option on these long-haul flights!
China Airlines (based in Taiwan and not to be confused with mainline China’s flagship carrier Air China) is a full-service carrier, but often has some very competitive fares, undercutting their larger, better known rivals. They are starting to fly non-stop from Taipei to Amsterdam in September 2016 with four weekly departures on brand-new Airbus A350! They’ll also switch to non-stop flights to Rome! It’s great to see the impact of these new planes and how they make international travel more convenient with more non-stop routes! See the press release here!
Decidedly less low-cost, but more convenient is Thai Airways, one of my favorite airlines for travel to Asia with great service! They are considering to fly non-stop from Bangkok to San Francisco or Seattle (read more here). The non-stop flight to San Francisco, my old home town, would be awesome, as it would offer plenty of connections to StarAlliance partner United! At this point, it’s more “hope” than “plan” as Thailand still needs to regain its Category 1 classification from the FAA after loosing it last year (read here). I will be watching their efforts to make this happen and will keep you posted!
And last but not least, Singapore Airlines (SQ), my favorite carrier, is changing their flight from Singapore to Houston from a stop-over in Moscow to Manchester! A stop-over in Manchester is much more appealing to me and you’ll also be able to connect to their partner Flybe to other destinations in the UK and Europe. I’m planning to try Flybe later this year and will keep you posted! SQ will make the change on October 30th and fly five times a week! Check out the press release for more details!
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