Asian air route updates: Virgin Australia, Thai Lion, Air India and more…

TD Guest Writer

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SylhetflydubaiBangladesh gets low-cost Dubai link

Where? Dubai (UAE) to Sylhet (Bangladesh)
When? Four times a week, effective immediately (rising to six per week in May 2017)
Who? Flydubai
Why? New low-cost link to tap demand for trade between two Muslim countries, including overseas workers in the Gulf
Anything else? Located in northeast Bangladesh, Sylhet is a major tea-growing area. It also hosted matches in the 2014 ICC Twenty20 cricket world cup.

TLAExpanding ASEAN connections for Thai Lion Air

Where? Bangkok Don Mueang (Thailand) to Hanoi (Vietnam)
When? Eight times a week, effective 24 March 2017
Who? Thai Lion Air
Why? Low-cost carrier continues to expand international operations from Bangkok. This will become its second Vietnamese route, after Ho Chi Minh City
Anything else? Bangkok is the most connected international city from Hanoi, with multiple airlines operating almost 80 weekly flights between the two capitals

VASCOVASCO adds new domestic route from Hanoi

Where? Hanoi to Dong Hoi (both Vietnam)
When? Daily, effective 26 March 2017
Why? Vietnam Airlines’ domestic subsidiary continues to take over national carrier’s smaller operations. This is the fourth domestic route transferred to VASCO
Anything else? Dong Hoi is the closest city to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which houses the world’s largest cave

shutterstock_550050499Bangkok-based LCC boosts coverage in China

Where? Bangkok Don Mueang (Thailand) to Nanjing, pictured (China)
When? Daily, effective 26 March 2017
Who? Thai Lion Air
Why? Low-cost carrier continues to expand international operations in China. This will become its fifth Chinese destination, with a sixth (Nanchang) to follow shortly afterwards
Anything else? Nanjing literally means “southern capital”, as opposed to Beijing with is China’s “northern capital”

MalindoMalindo adds second service to Hainan

Where? Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) to Haikou (China)
When? Twice a week, effective 28 March 2017
Who? Malindo Air
Why? Serving the ever-expanding trade and tourism links between Malaysia and China. Flight will operate via Penang.
Anything else? This won’t be Malindo’s first connection to Hainan Island – the airline already flies to the beach resort of Sanya

CSA 737New beach flights from China’s landlocked Ningxia region

Where? Yinchuan (China) to Phuket (Thailand)
When? Three times a week, effective 10 April 2017
Who? China Southern Airlines
Why? Tapping the ever-increasing Chinese demand for tourism in Thailand. Flights will operate via Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s populous Henan province
Anything else? Yinchuan is the capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which sits on the ancient Silk Road and is predominantly Muslim

MacauSpring adds new low-cost link to Macau

Where? Hangzhou (China) to Macau, pictured
When? Daily, effective 16 April 2017
Who? Spring Airlines
Why? A new low-cost connection for residents of eastern China wanting to visit the casinos of Macau
Anything else? Gambling revenues in Macau – the world’s biggest gaming market – declined for 26 straight months before rebounding in August last year

Tel AvivAir India to start flying to Israel

Where? Delhi (India) to Tel Aviv, pictured (Israel)
When? Three times a week, effective May 2017
Who? Air India
Why? Part of national carrier’s international expansion plan, which is also expected to include new services to Washington DC and Stockholm
Anything else? Only Israel’s El Al currently operates direct flights between Israel and India

VA A330 economyVirgin Australia launches Hong Kong flights

Where? Melbourne (Australia) to Hong Kong
When? Five times a week, effective 5 July 2017
Who? Virgin Australia
Why? Part of a proposed alliance with HNA, which will see Virgin team up with Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Capital Airlines and Tianjin Airlines
Anything else? Virgin Australia and its new partners will offer connections from Hong Kong to 13 destinations in mainland China
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