Turkey’s airports report traffic growth of 14.2% in 2011; Turkish Airlines’ passengers up 12%, Pegasus up 32%

Turkish Airlines at the anna.aero/ACI EUROPE Network Planning Conference

Turkish Airlines is unsurprisingly a big driver of its country’s growth launching 20 new routes from Istanbul in 2011. For a detailed briefing on THY you can download the presentation made by Soner Akkurt, THY’s acting Chief Commercial Officer (seated left), at the anna.aero/ACI EUROPE Network Planning Conference hosted by Abu Dhabi Airport in December.

Recently published government statistics show that Turkey’s airports handled over 117 million passengers last year, an increase of over 14% on the figures for 2010. This represents growth of some 47 million passengers in just four years. Since 2007, when the country’s airports handled 70 million passengers, demand has grown by 12% in 2008, 9% in 2009, 20% in 2010 and now 14% in 2011.

The country’s main travel hub at Istanbul Atatürk Airport saw passenger numbers rise by 16.5% last year to almost 37.5 million, while the city’s second airport, Sabiha Gökçen, reported growth of almost 14%, resulting in some 12.8 million passengers. Izmir overtook Ankara as the country’s fourth busiest airport while only one of the country’s top 12 airports, Dalaman, saw a fall in demand compared to 2010.

Top 12 Turkish airports 2011 Passengers numbers (millions) and change versus 2010

Source: DHMI

The country’s two major airlines were, not surprisingly, key drivers of this traffic growth. Turkish Airlines (a Star Alliance member) launched 20 new routes from Istanbul in 2011 and saw passenger numbers grow by 12.1% to 32.6 million, as capacity (measured in ASKs) surged by almost 25% on a fleet of 179 aircraft. Low-cost rival Pegasus (based at Sabiha Gökçen) has reported passenger growth of 32.2% to 11.3 million in 2011, making it Europe’s fifth biggest LCC after Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian and Vueling.

More new routes starting this year

New routes at Turkish airports already announced for 2012 include the following:

  • Istanbul (IST): Air France to Nice (April) and Toulouse (April), Atlasjet to London Stansted (April), Jet2.com to Manchester (March), Lufthansa to Berlin (June), Turkish Airlines to Novosibirsk (March).
  • Antalya (AYT): airberlin to Friedrichshafen (May), Monarch to London Gatwick (May), Norwegian to Oslo Torp (March), SAS to Oslo (May).
  • Istanbul (SAW): Air One to Venice (June), Transavia.com to Eindhoven (February).
  • Izmir (ADB): Lufthansa to Berlin (June).
  • Ankara (ESB): Lufthansa to Frankfurt (March).
  • Dalaman (DLM): easyJet to Edinburgh (April), Monarch to London Gatwick (April) and Manchester (May).
  • Bodrum (BJV): Jet2.com to Newcastle (June), Transavia.com to Paris Orly (April).

The new routes show a healthy mix of airlines from flag-carriers (Air France, Lufthansa, SAS) to hybrid (airberlin, Monarch, Transavia.com), and also LCCs (easyJet, Jet2.com, Norwegian).


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