European Flights: Some surprising new routes making airwaves

Posted in: Airlines


The liberalization of air traffic across Europe has created some improbable flight patterns and routes in recent years. As such, it always pays to learn more about major and smaller air carriers and their proposed routes. After all, the flag an airline flies no longer dictates which route it serves. Norwegian Air Shuttle, for example, now offers a year-round service on the Warsaw (Poland) to Málaga (Spain) route.

Here’s a quick look at some improbable routes making “airwaves” in Europe:

Lufthansa from Milan, Italy

The German national carrier, Lufthansa, offers plenty of flights from Milan to Germany. No surprise there. But the German airline has this year also launched non-stop services from Milan’s Malpensa airport to Rome, London, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Budapest, and Bucharest.

Why? Alitalia’s financial troubles encouraged non-Italian airlines to enter the Italian market and Lufthansa didn’t waste a moment in establishing its Milan base. With similar intent, the Austrian carrier Air A!ps has been trying its luck on Italian domestic routes, operating a hub out of Perugia airport.

Lufthansa flies high; photo by caribb

Aer Lingus at London Gatwick

The Irish carrier Aer Lingus, still jealously guarding its independence from avaricious Ryanair, has this year developed a very visible presence at London’s Gatwick Airport. Aer Lingus now offers direct service from Gatwick to a dozen non-Irish destinations including Munich, Vienna, Vilnius, and Bucharest.

Air Berlin in Spain

An unlikely dominant carrier on the Spanish island of Mallorca is not a Spanish airline at all, but Air Berlin, which this winter offers non-stop flights from Palma de Mallorca to more than a dozen other Spanish airports alone, not to mention a galaxy of direct links to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Portugal.

True devotees of utterly improbable flights in Europe can fly with Syrian Arab Airlines from Berlin to Vienna or opt for Kuwait Airways as an unusual carrier for a non-stop flight from Paris to Rome.

Know how to go

Finding out about these unusual air routes is not always easy. Who would have guessed that Air Malta would offer direct flights from Catania airport in Sicily to Geneva, Munich, or London?

The timetables published on airport websites are a good source of information, but for a comprehensive guide to all scheduled air routes the undoubted authority is the subscription-based OAG service. Those reluctant to splash out on an OAG subscription can find some decent listings at the Alternative Airlines website.

About the author


About the authors: Nicky and Susanne manage a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine.

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3 thoughts on “European Flights: Some surprising new routes making airwaves”

  1. Ahhhh Mr Johnston above. I shall publicise your kind comment throughout the known world and beyond. And, as I contemplate how best to do that, I would like to reward you for your kind thought by mentioning another obscure route, and one that really deserves to be better known:

    New York City (JFK) to Riga with Uzbekistan Airways.

    This service really deserves to be MUCH better known. For folk on the East Coast with connections in the Baltic States it is just SOOOO good. Services are just once weekly in each direction.

  2. Of course, the point we make above about searching out unlikely carriers for flights WITHIN Europe applies equally to flights BETWEEN North America and Europe, where sometimes a less obvious carrier may offer an attractive fare in a direct non-stop market where they are a minor player. Examples of flights like this are:

    1. Toronto to London with Air India
    2. New York to London with Kuwait Arways
    3. Los Angles to London with Air New Zealand
    4. Washington to Madrid with Aer Lingus (this last one a new non-stop route from early 2010).

    Hope this is of interest.
    Nicky and Susanne
    hidden europe


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