Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil said during CAPA’s 'Airlines in Transition CEO Summit' last week that he expects the first phase of Istanbul’s new airport to open in 2016. Mr Kotil says construction of the new airport is slated to start later this year on a greenfield site. The new airport is being designed to handle up to 150 million passengers p/a. Mr Kotil says the Government is willing to invest in the new airport, which will replace Turkish’s congested hub at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, because the benefit to Turkey’s overall economy benefit clearly outweighs the cost. “Investment of the airport is very tiny compared to the benefit,” he says.
Turkish Airlines expects new Istanbul airport to open in 2016
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Onur Air: Turkey's number two LCC goes into reverse after German expansion stalls
Turkey's fifth largest airline by seat capacity, LCC Onur Air, has thrown its operation into reverse. After growing scheduled seat numbers at an average rate of 11% pa for four years, including growth at around 20% for most of 2016, it will cut capacity by 20% this winter.
A series of geopolitical events has weighed heavily on demand for air travel in Turkey, particularly in international travel. Weak trading conditions have also prompted the market leaders – national airline Turkish Airlines and LCC Pegasus – to halt their own rapid growth. Onur Air is bigger in the domestic market than it is in the international market, but much of its 2016 expansion was driven by international growth, particularly to Germany.
Onur's network faces strong competition on almost every route, particularly on international routes, and this has clearly posed a severe challenge in the face of falling demand.
SunExpress: "Lufthansa's biggest strategic project"
The Turkish leisure airline SunExpress and its German subsidiary SunExpress Germany have historically had a fairly low profile, certainly among European air travellers. Nevertheless, their combined total of 7.9 million passengers puts SunExpress in the top 20 European airline groups in 2016, ahead of Brussels Airlines.
Jointly owned by Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, SunExpress and its German counterpart brought about a consolidated result that fell into loss in 2016 as passenger numbers and revenue both declined. When the observer scratches beneath the surface of the headline figures, a picture of significant strategic change at SunExpress Germany starts to emerge.
The larger Turkish SunExpress has maintained its focus on Turkey-Germany routes, whereas SunExpress Germany has abandoned this country pair. It has instead developed leisure routes from Germany to elsewhere in Europe and in North Africa, in spite of not having an obvious competitive advantage in those markets. Within these new market areas, SunExpress Germany has undergone substantial changes in its route portfolio. Lufthansa wetleases capacity from SunExpress Germany for its Eurowings low cost operation and this may help to make some sense of these outwardly random network changes.