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.
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.
Know how to go
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.