Friday, 21 December 2012
Turkish Airlines is surprising us with new route announcements pretty much on a weekly basis: they are already the airline covering the largest number of destinations in the World and plan to increase this number to 300 by 2015...
Istanbul is, in a way, recovering its traditional role as a connector between East and West, a city that, quite literally, links different continents.
This is why I read with interest this Anna Aero report detailing, among other things, the traffic break-down on some of Turkish Airlines main European routes, both by type (origin and destination versus connecting) and by onward destinations of connecting passengers.
There are two things that I found particularly interesting:
1) Connecting traffic, although relatively high on all routes, as it is the norm for a global super-connector sucha s THY, was not nearly the levels where I would have expected it to be. On most routes there is roughly a 50-50%, 55%-45% split between O&D and connecting traffic, that proves that Istanbul and Turkey are in themselves a particularly large air travel market, a strong point in favour of Turkish Airlines in its quest for global leadership (wondering what are the figures for the Gulf hubs, but I have the feeling that is a lot less).
2) Some airports appear repeatedly among the main onward destinations of European traffic connecitng at Istanbul, there are three that stand out: BEY (Beirut), IKA (Teheran) and GYD (Bakú). Which means that Istanbul is a sort of World gateway for these points.
The case of Teheran might be explained by the political situation, which makes it unlikely that most international airlines will return to the country anytime soon.
In the case of Bakú, the situation might change a bit in the near future if Azerbaijan Airlines' expansion plans finally materialize (they even have a couple of Dreamliners on order).
But what happens with Beirut? I guess someone at MEA should be taking notes of this report...it looks like the market is there!