Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen more passengers than Frankfurt in August; Pegasus starts Karachi

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen more passengers than Frankfurt in August; Pegasus starts Karachi

Pegasus began Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen to Venice in July 2019, one of four Italian airports the carrier serves.

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen had more passengers than Frankfurt in August 2020, at just over 1.8 million and 1.5 million respectively. 

Of course, this is just temporary, and it results from Turkey’s border being relaxed, so driving demand.

Nonetheless, it is insightful to see how things have changed as a result of coronavirus.

Sabiha Gökçen had 35.5 million passengers in 2019, up by 24.3 million over 2010 – a CAGR of 12.3%.

In this period, Sabiha Gökçen’s domestic market grew by 14 million passengers (CAGR: 11.6%), and internationally by nearly 10.3 million (14.3%).

Sabiha Gökçen has so far added five routes in 2020: AnadoluJet to Cologne (last served between 2015 and 2017 and replacing Turkish Airlines) and London Stansted (last served in 2011 and replacing its parent to Gatwick). 

Pegasus, meanwhile, added the Turkish city of Agri, 1,174 kilometres away, together with Medina and Karachi.  We investigate Karachi later in this article.

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen more passengers than Frankfurt in August; Pegasus starts Karachi

Source: airport websites.

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen: 1,591 departures in the week of 12 October

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen will have 1,591 departures in the week starting 12 October, OAG schedules data shows.  This is down from 2,240 in the same week in 2019.

Pegasus and AnadoluJet will together have 96% of departures.

Of these 1,591, seven in ten will be domestic, up from half in 2019. 

Sabiha Gökçen’s domestic network will comprise 33 destinations (down from 37), with Antalya, Izmir, Trabzon, Ankara, and Bodrum the top-five. It is the airport’s domestic market that is helping its total rebound.

Internationally, 60 destinations will be served (from 80) across 33 countries (39).

Germany is still top, with one-fifth of departures, with nine airports in the country served.

Combined, there will be 95 weekly departures to Germany, with Düsseldorf, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart each having 14+.

At the other extreme, three countries have just three weekly departures: Czech Republic (Prague), Hungary (Budapest), and Kazakhstan (Almaty). 

There is a new order in international routes, however, as Doha will now be number-one, up from fifth in 2019.  Last year, Ercan (North Cyprus), Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Baghdad, and Doha were the top-five.

Kuwait, the fourth-largest destination this year, will be served by four airlines: AnadoluJet, Jazeera, Kuwait Airways, and Pegasus. 

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen more passengers than Frankfurt in August; Pegasus starts Karachi

Source: OAG Schedules Analyser.

Doha now #1 international route from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen

With 25 weekly departures across Qatar Airways (21) and Pegasus (four), Doha is now Sabiha Gökçen’s top international route.

The route is down from 29 YOY, the result of Pegasus’ frequency halving.

Qatar Airways restarted Sabiha Gökçen in July after a four-month disruption. The airport-pair had almost 700,000 seats last year.

Booking data, obtained through OAG Traffic Analyser, reveals that Qatar Airways’ top O&Ds were Kuwait (despite the non-stops), Jakarta, Muscat, Bangkok, Melbourne, Sydney, Tokyo Haneda, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Salalah.

Pegasus achieved an estimated SLF of 87% to/from Doha.  Nearly half of its Qatar passengers connected over Sabiha Gökçen.

Bologna, Adana, Izmir, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Antalya, Stuttgart, Lyon, Basel, and Hamburg were its top segments, booking data illustrates.

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen more passengers than Frankfurt in August; Pegasus starts Karachi

Sabiha Gökçen – Doha is now the Istanbul airport’s top international route.  Here are the top-10 segments for both Qatar Airways (in orange) and Pegasus (yellow).

Sabiha Gökçen’s Karachi connection

Pegasus began Karachi on 25 September, with the 3,919-kilometre service postponed from 1 June.

We spoke with Gerald Ong, Sabiha Gökçen’s Aviation Marketing Director, about this development.

Pakistan is Pegasus’ first foray into the Asian continent, further expanding its network at Sabiha Gökçen.

“Karachi is an important addition as it will provide the connectivity for Pegasus’ network expansion within the UK and continental European markets.

“Starting with an initial four-weekly frequency, the route has the potential to increase to once-daily.

“In addition, the growth of this route will allow for expansion into the other cities in Pakistan, especially Lahore and Islamabad.”

Not surprisingly, Ong expects Stansted and Manchester to be core for sixth freedom traffic due to the significant ethnic travel. 

Asked about what new routes may materialise, Ong said that the UK remains underserved.  He highlighted that Birmingham and Edinburgh stand out for future service.

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen more passengers than Frankfurt in August; Pegasus starts Karachi

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen’s route network in the week starting 12 October 2020. Karachi is highlighted in red. Source: OAG Mapper.


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