A number of new interline agreements lead this week’s air travel news.
Airline alliance oneworld has announced a new program, called oneworld connect, aimed at expanding the alliance’s benefits to areas served by airlines that cannot meet the organization’s requirements. Fiji Airways will be the first member of the new program; while there’s still no date on when Fiji will begin offering oneworld connect benefits, when it does it will be able to offer oneworld members priority access to check-in desks for all Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby frequent fliers, as well as priority boarding for Emerald and Sapphire passengers.
Cyprus-based Cobalt Air signed an interline agreement with Etihad Airways this week that will open Cyprus to over 100 routes from Abu Dhabi, strengthening Cobalt’s presence in the Middle East.
In flight news, this week Hawaiian Airlines inaugurated service on its new route between Long Beach, California, and Honolulu. The new route, which is operated by new Airbus A321neo aircraft, will run daily, with more A321neo routes from the West Coast to Hawaii planned for the future.
Kazakhstan-based Air Astana launched new flights from Astana to two destinations in Russia this week: Tyumen and Kazan. The Astana – Tyumen route operates Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, while the Astana – Kazan route operates on Sundays.
In the Caribbean, American Airlines is adding additional service to Bonaire, the Bonaire Tourism Corporation announced this week. In addition to the airline’s weekly Saturday service, which launched June 9, the airline will add three new weekly nonstop flights from Miami from December 15, 2018, through March 30, 2019. The new flights will operate Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Also this week, low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines announced it is adding a new daily, nonstop flight between Ontario International Airport in California and Orlando. The new service kicks of August 13.
This week fellow low-cost carrier Norwegian announced it will launch three new routes from its existing cities in Florida to Europe this fall: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Madrid and Rome; and winter seasonal service from Orlando International Airport to Stockholm.
Finally, in aircraft news, this week United Airlines became the first North American carrier to operate the Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, a new design known for its fuel efficiency. The new plane entered service as United flight 686 between United's hub at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Orlando International Airport in Florida. The MAX is also scheduled to operate flights between Houston and Anchorage, Alaska, and Houston and Austin, Texas.