Istanbul airports #1: Sabiha Gokcen growth to continue
This is Part 1 of a series looking at Istanbul's airport system as the Istanbul New Airport prepares to open.
Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) has grown passenger numbers at an average of 25% pa since 2008, compared with 9% pa for the larger Atatürk Airport. Primarily a low cost airport (it is Europe's fifth biggest for LCC seats) and the main hub of ultra LCC Pegasus Airlines, SAW also serves as an overspill base for flag carrier Turkish Airlines. Both airports have capacity constraints.
The opening of Istanbul New Airport in Oct-2018, followed by the phased reduction of operations at Atatürk, will ease the pressure on Istanbul's airport system and give Turkish Airlines a new hub with vast expansion potential. It should also allow SAW to focus on its main role as a low cost point-to-point base.
After handling 31 million passengers in 2017, SAW is already well advanced with plans to increase its capacity to 63 million by 2020.
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