The US majors are confronting UAE and Qatar operators but Turkish Airlines is also significantly growing in the US market.
The Turkish flag carrier has announced that it will be further expanding its US route network with a new service to Atlanta – their ninth US city.
From May 16, 2016, Turkish Airlines will be launching flights between Istanbul and Atlanta, operated daily with a Boeing 777-300ER.
Service from Istanbul will depart at 13:30pm, arriving into Atlanta at 19:10pm, with the return flight departing Atlanta at 22:00pm, arriving back into Turkey at 16:55pm the next day.
This will be the third US route the airline has launched in little over a year after it announced flights to San Francisco as of April 2015, and a service to Miami which is set to launch this October.
Within the past five years, Turkish Airlines has launched a number of new routes to key US destinations, including Washington and LA in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Houston and Boston were added to the route map in 2013 and 2014, and the airline’s Miami flight will re-launch in October following a 14 year hiatus.
Turkish Airlines’ first route to the US launched back in October 1988 to New York JFK via Brussels, operated by an Airbus A310. The airline then switched its JFK slot to Newark, where it operated Istanbul – Brussels – Newark for two years, before returning to JFK for good. Chicago O’Hare was added in May 1997, operating three-times-weekly with an A340. From June 1999, an Istanbul – Miami route was initially brought into action before being suspended two years later.
The airline’s 777-300ERs to be used on the new Atlanta route will be in a two-class configuration, featuring Turkish’s fully flat business seats in a 2-3-2 configuration.
Turkish Airlines announcement comes shortly after Qatar Airways announced that they would launch a new service to Atlanta, though this is not planned to commence until July 1, 2016.
The airline has recently announced a significant increase in passenger numbers, having increase 8.7 percent in the first five months of the year, rising to 23.2 million from 21.4 million in the same period of 2014.
The number of domestic passengers rose by 10.5 percent, while international travellers increased by 7.4 percent. International-to-international transfer passengers increased by 11.4 percent,
By the end of May 2015, the number of Turkish Airlines’ destinations increased from 251 to 274, with the number of international destinations increasing from 208 to 226.
Our analysis of OAG Schedules Analyser data shows the rapid growth of Turkish Airlines in the United States market since the start of the decade. The airline has more than trebled its seat capacity on offer from its Istanbul Ataturk Airport hub to the United States, an average annual rise of 54.9 per cent between 2010 and 2014. This offering is set to grow a further 22.0 per cent in 2015, based on published schedules, with the one million one-way seat threshold expected to be passed in 2016.