TPG’s 9 favorite new airline routes of 2023, as nominated by the aviation team

As we bid farewell to 2023, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the significant travel announcements and developments that have taken place throughout the year. The TPG team, comprised of senior aviation editor Ben Mutzabaugh, senior aviation business reporter David Slotnick, and senior reporter Zach Griff, has compiled a list of their favorite new flights. Let’s take a look at some of the noteworthy additions to the aviation industry.

Icelandair: Pittsburgh to Reykjavik

For Ben, the introduction of Icelandair’s nonstop flights from Pittsburgh to Reykjavik holds a special place in his heart. Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) was once a bustling hub, but it faced a decline in the 2000s due to various factors. However, in recent years, PIT has experienced a resurgence, focusing on local demand and rebuilding its domestic and international schedules. The addition of Icelandair’s nonstop flight not only connects Pittsburgh with a second transatlantic route but also serves as a nod to the airport’s glory days.

JSX’s service to Boca Raton

Zach grew up near Florida’s Boca Raton Airport (BCT) and was pleasantly surprised when JSX announced its new winter seasonal services to Boca from Westchester County, New York, and Morristown, New Jersey. JSX operates as a public air charter, allowing passengers to arrive just 20 minutes before their flight and enjoy the convenience of departing from FBOs (fixed base operators). While the fares for JSX’s flights may be on the higher side, the luxury and efficiency of the service make it an intriguing option.

United’s new transpacific crossings

David finds United’s current international strategy fascinating. The airline is taking a risk by betting on continued premium international leisure demand and launching services to destinations that may not have strong business demand but could attract vacationers and those visiting friends and family abroad. The addition of Manila, Philippines, and Christchurch, New Zealand, to United’s route network represents this strategy. Manila caters to Filipino Americans and travelers exploring the Philippines, while Christchurch offers direct access to New Zealand’s South Island, known for its stunning landscapes and adventure opportunities.

JetBlue: New York to Paris

JetBlue has been expanding its transatlantic network, and Zach is particularly excited about its new service to Paris. Apart from the allure of visiting the City of Love, JetBlue’s posh Airbus A321LR jets and fine dining options make the journey even more enjoyable. Additionally, JetBlue’s offseason fares are among the most competitive, making it an attractive option for transatlantic travel.

New flights to Tulum

The opening of Tulum International Airport (TQO) in Mexico is a significant development, allowing travelers to bypass the two-hour ground journey from Cancun to Tulum. AeroMexico and VivaAerobus began flying to Tulum this year, and in March 2024, five U.S. carriers—American, Delta, JetBlue, United, and Spirit—will start operating flights to Tulum from various domestic airports. David is excited to witness the growth of this new airport and the convenience it offers to travelers visiting the Yucatan Peninsula.

A coast-to-coast turf war

Ben recalls the excitement of covering turf wars in the airline industry, and although they are less common these days, a recent one caught his attention. Alaska Airlines announced new nonstop service between San Diego International Airport (SAN) and Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD), encroaching on United Airlines’ hub. United wasted no time retaliating by adding a fourth daily flight on the route, using a high-capacity Boeing 777-200. Ben is eager to see how this competition unfolds in 2024.

American: Philadelphia to New York

For Zach, American’s reintroduction of its Philadelphia to New York route holds personal significance. Having temporarily relocated to Philadelphia, Zach often travels to Long Island or catches flights from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) or John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The convenience of American’s nonstop flight between Philadelphia and New York eliminates the need for multiple train connections and makes his travel experience smoother.

As we reflect on the exciting new flight routes introduced in 2023, it’s evident that the aviation industry is continuously evolving and adapting to meet the needs of travelers. Whether it’s connecting nostalgic destinations, exploring new leisure hotspots, or engaging in healthy competition, these new routes enhance the travel experience and provide more options for passengers around the world.

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