Route Analysis: Abu Dhabi-Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will provide direct competition for Pegasus Airlines on the route.

Credit: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi is introducing a new service to Turkey during April, which will become the 17th route to be launched by the carrier since it began commercial operations in July 2020.

Flights between Abu Dhabi International (AUH) and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) will launch on April 29 onboard Airbus A320 aircraft. Service will be twice a week on Fridays and Sundays, departing at 12 p.m. from AUH and arriving in Istanbul at 3.55 p.m. The return flight leaves at 5 p.m. and arrives back in Abu Dhabi at 10.30 p.m.

“The new Abu Dhabi to Istanbul service offers our customers a unique opportunity to discover the historic city which straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosporus straits, the new route reflects our commitment to continuously offer our customers affordable and value driven air travel from our different hubs,” Air Arabia Group CEO Adel Al Ali said.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will become the second airline to serve the AUH-SAW sector nonstop, with Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines also serving the route twice a week using A320s.

Additionally, Etihad Airways and Turkish Airlines each provide daily flights between AUH and Istanbul (IST) using A350-1000s and A321s respectively.

By week commencing May 2, data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows that there will be 9,170 two-way seats available between Abu Dhabi and Istanbul, with Air Arabia Abu Dhabi commanding a capacity share of 7.6%. Etihad is the largest carrier to serve the destinations with a 56.6% share, followed by Turkish Airlines on 27.8% and Pegasus on 8%.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi’s entry to the market means that total two-way capacity is 25% higher than during the same week in 2019.



Air Arabia Abu Dhabi


Airbus A320



Start date:

April 29, 2022


2,977 km

O&D traffic demand (2019):


Annual growth (2019 vs 2018):


Average base fare (2019):