Pegasus Airlines continuing to expand in Eastern Europe

Pegasus Airlines is continuing with its Eastern European network expansion heading into the winter 2012/2013 schedule with three new routes to be launched in Oct-2012. A fourth route, to the Middle East, will also be launched in late Oct-2012.

The privately-owned Turkish LCC already operates an extensive European and domestic Turkish network with services to Eastern Europe and the Middle East growing rapidly. Pegasus has also been seeking to increase its Central Asian network but is facing difficulties receiving the rights to expand in this area.

In Oct-2012, Pegasus will be launching services from Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen to Belgrade (Serbia), Batumi (Georgia) and Lviv (Ukraine) in the first half of the month, followed by service to Dubai in the latter half.

Pegasus Airlines network expansion: Oct-2012



Launch Date



Four times weekly


Turkish Airlines and Jat Airways from IST


Twice weekly




Three times weekly


Turkish Airlines from IST


Three times weekly


Flydubai / Turkish Airlines and Emirates from IST

The three new Eastern European routes are the latest of a number of new Pegasus routes to Eastern Europe since the latter half of 2011. The airline over the last year has commenced services from its base at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen to Bucharest (Romania), Donetsk (Ukraine), Erbil (Kurdistan, Iraq), Pristina (Kosovo), Skopje (Macedonia), Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Omsk (Russia).

Pegasus now offers approximately 55,000 seats per week to Eastern Europe, its second largest market after Western Europe. The Turkish market as a whole has the majority of capacity allocated to Western Europe, with only 20% to Eastern Europe. Meanwhile flag carrier Turkish Airlines is also continuing to show interest in Eastern Europe with its own Eastern network developing. However the airline is no longer looking to acquire LOT Polish Airlines with its participation in the LOT privatisation talks terminated in early Jun-2012.

Pegasus Airlines international capacity by region (seats): 20-Aug-2012 to 26-Aug-2012

Central Asia in Pegasus’ sights

Pegasus is also keen to expand its presence further afield in Central Asia, which is yet to truly experience the LCC phenomenon. Pegasus’ entry into the Central Asian market came in Oct-2011 with the launch of daily Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen-Tbilisi service. This was followed in Jan-2012 with the launch of twice weekly Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen-Almaty service. The LCC has been trying to secure additional rights in order to launch more services to the Central Asian region however is facing challenges with these attempts.

Pegasus’ problems with bilaterals stem from Turkish Airlines holding all available traffic rights afforded to Turkish carriers for Central Asian destinations in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. While destinations in these countries are within range of Pegasus’ narrowbody fleet, the LCC is only now authorised to operate to Georgia and Kazakhstan.

Between 19-Sep-2011 and 10-Feb-2013, Turkish Airlines provided up to 59% of capacity between Turkey and Central Asia, compared to Pegasus Airlines’ highest capacity level of 3%. This is quite unlike capacity levels between Turkey and Eastern/Central Europe, where during the same period Turkish Airlines provided up to 57% and Pegasus Airlines provided up to 30%.

Turkey to Central Asia capacity by carrier (seats per week, one way): 19-Sep-2011 to 10-Feb-2013

Turkey to Central and Eastern Europe capacity by carrier (seats per week, one way): 19-Sep-2011 to 10-Feb-2013

In the meantime Pegasus continues to strengthen its Central Asian connections through partnership agreements. In May-2012 Pegasus signed a codeshare agreement with Azerbaijan Airlines. This will see Pegasus codeshare on Azerbaijan Airlines’ daily Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen-Baku Haydar Aliyev service. Members of Pegasus' frequent flyer programme, Pegasus Plus, will be also able to earn flight points when travelling on the service.

See related article: Pegasus Airlines bets on liberalisation in Turkey’s international market with 100-aircraft order

Large aircraft order still to come

Pegasus currently operates 37 aircraft, including two Boeing 737-400s and 35 737-800s. Subsidiary Izair, which was formed as a joint venture with airberlin in 2011, operates three 737-800s, two A319s and one A320.

Pegasus has been close to placing a large aircraft order for the past year. The airline is expected to place an order for between 40 and 100 A320s or 737s. In Apr-2012 Pegasus CEO Sertac Haybat told CAPA he expected the 100-aircraft order would be placed within one month and deliveries to be spread out over six to seven years. But an order has not yet been announced.

The new aircraft will mainly be used to accelerate the expansion of Pegasus’ international network. The carrier’s ability to pursue such expansion heavily depends on continued liberalisation, particularly in the Turkey-Central Asia market. But there is still some room for growth in Pegasus’ Eastern European network, which has been growing rapidly and is a promising market for the carrier.

See related article: Pegasus focuses on Eastern Europe and rapid fleet expansion as Turkish economy grows

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