Turkish Airlines Builds its Network at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport

Turkish Airlines (THY) will introduce a number of new international routes from Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport this summer as it once again looks to develop its operations from the city’s second largest airport, which due to its location on the Asian side of Istanbul, serves a different market dynamic than the city’s largest air transport gateway, Atatürk International Airport. THY holds a dominant 77.0 per cent share of the available capacity at Atatürk International which it has developed into one of Europe’s fastest growing hubs thanks to its rapid network expansion but capacity growth is now restricted.

Adding to its existing route to Kiev Borispol that was launched in June 2012, THY will introduce flights during summer 2013 from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen to Amsterdam, London Gatwick, Milan Malpensa, Paris CDG and Vienna, all of which will be served on a daily basis.  The airline is predominantly serving major point-to-point markets and complementing its existing operations at Atatürk, where its growth can concentrate on new emerging markets, further strengthening the hub concept.

THY will initially launch services on four of the routes with a three times weekly schedule, growing to a daily basis from June 1, 2013.  Flights to Paris CDG begin on March 31, 2013 and Amsterdam and Vienna following from April 1, 2013.  The first services to London Gatwick commence on May 1, 2013, while Milan Malpensa joins the network from June 1, 2013.   

Having flown domestic air services from Sabiha Gökçen, THY launched its first international flights in June 2006 and has subsequently served 15 European and CIS markets using its own equipment as well as its former low-cost subsidiary AnadoluJet.  Of its new markets for summer 2013, Amsterdam and London (via Stansted Airport) have both been previously been served by the carrier from the airport although flights were last operated in September 2011 and January 2011, respectively.

THY will compete directly with Pegasus Airlines and Transavia on the route to Amsterdam, while Pegasus Airlines will also provide competition on the link to Vienna.  There will also be indirect competition to Paris where Pegasus Airlines serves Orly rather than Charles de Gaulle, while easyJet and Pegasus Airlines both fly to London, albeit not flying to Gatwick Airport with scheduled links to Luton and Stansted, respectively.

The expansion at Sabiha Gökçen will complement THY’s rapid development at Atatürk and rise to become one of the world’s largest network carriers.  The airline now serves 209 destinations across the globe having introduced 26 new destinations to its network in 2012 and it has already revealed launch dates for six more this year.  With a giant orderbook for short- and long-haul aircraft, THY’s growth shows no sign of relenting and the carrier has already identified a number of target markets for entry this year and through to 2017, when a new Istanbul airport is tentatively scheduled to be opened.

THY has already opened reservations for new flights this year to Libreville in Gabon from January 31, 2013 (in association with Douala service); Houston in USA from April 1, 2013; Santiago de Compostela in Spain from May 21, 2013; Constanta in Romania from June 7, 2013 and a new Baltic link to Tallinn and Vilnius which was first revealed at Routes Europe last year, from June 11, 2013. This week it has also opened reservations for a four times weekly link to Salzburg from May 28, 2013 and a four times weekly service to Luxembourg from June 25, 2013.

It will also resume services to Kaula Lumpur from April 25, 2013 and plans to serve Colombo as an extension of its flights to Male from February 1, 2013.  THY will also introduce new weekly seasonal services to Berlin Tegel from Samsun/Carsamba and Trabzon, to Stuttgart from Adana and Antalya and to Vienna from Antalya and it will increase frequency across a number of its existing markets.

In the table below we highlight the dramatic capacity growth of Turkish Airlines since the Millennium, a period it has increased its scheduled seat capacity by a massive 240.0 per cent.  After a small decline in capacity between 2001 and 2003 the airline has been in continual growth with double digit year-on-year capacity rises in each of the subsequent nine years.  This year, based on its announced flight schedules THY already displays a 13.0 per cent capacity growth, a figure that could grow notably higher if additional destinations are added to its network.

SCHEDULED AIR SERVICES OF TURKISH AIRLINES (non-stop departures)

Year

Departures

% Change

Available Seats

% Change

2000

112,464

2.3 %

17,025,740

2.2 %

2001

106,611

(-5.2) %

16,398,785

(-3.7) %

2002

94,648

(-11.2) %

14,575,475

(-11.1) %

2003

93,300

(-1.4) %

14,417,372

(-1.1) %

2004

99,892

7.1 %

16,078,088

11.5 %

2005

119,866

20.0 %

19,474,636

21.1 %

2006

146,460

22.2 %

23,779,091

22.1 %

2007

160,038

9.3 %

26,561,677

11.7 %

2008

181,633

13.5 %

30,509,194

14.9 %

2009

204,879

12.8 %

35,028,642

14.8 %

2010

235,258

14.8 %

39,757,710

13.5 %

2011

256,229

8.9 %

44,034,092

10.8 %

2012

295,517

15.3 %

51,230,998

16.3 %

2013

334,239

13.1 %

57,885,013

13.0 %


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