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.
Turkish Airlines and Pegasus to take unprecedented capacity decisions as Turkey air traffic slumps
Until 2014 Turkey was one of the most reliably fast-growing air traffic markets in Europe. In 2015 passenger numbers levelled off, and in 2016 traffic is set to decline. The impact of geopolitical events, including a series of terrorist attacks, the civil war in neighbouring Syria and the failed coup attempt in Jul-2016, has weighed heavily on demand for international travel to/from Turkey.
Foreign airlines switched capacity away from Turkey in summer 2016, but the country's two largest operators – Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines – continued to grow. However, following years of double-digit growth by both, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines are taking unusual steps this winter. According to data from OAG, Turkish looks set to implement year-on-year capacity cuts, while Pegasus appears to be planning flat capacity for the period from Nov-2016 to Mar-2017. It seems likely that both airlines will again cut their growth targets for 2016.
Moreover, Pegasus is seeking wet-lease customers for six of its current fleet of 73 aircraft. Perhaps more significantly, Turkish is to reschedule 165 aircraft deliveries planned for 2018-2022, cutting its planned fleet size in 2021 from 439 to 400.