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Revealed: almost 34 million passengers connect with Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines’ strong network from Istanbul Airport has many benefits, including:

  • Its geographic location, sitting atop various key traffic flows
  • The country’s area and population
  • The popularity of the Turkish Mediterranean and Istanbul itself for tourism
  • The large Turkish diaspora across Northern Europe
  • Turkish Airlines’ strong use of narrow-bodies, playing a key role in serving 124 countries and serving over 290 cities. They enable smaller cities to be served – including across Africa, with 52 passenger destinations in W19 – and often permit high frequencies, especially domestically and to Europe and the Middle East
  • An exceptionally strong presence in Europe, the airline’s core, with 115 cities served – accounting for 55% of its passengers in 1H 2019

In the year to September 2019, OAG Traffic Analyser estimates that Turkish Airlines carried 33.5 million connecting passengers over Istanbul Airport.  (This articles only looks at the airline’s connections Istanbul Airport, not others.)  This 33.5 million includes all connections, but this article focuses on international – international connections, which are responsible for an estimated two-thirds of the total. 

The strength of Turkish Airlines’ network from the new Istanbul Airport -– only international routes are shown in this map -– is clear. And yesterday, 15th October, it announced a new service: a three-weekly Istanbul – Vancouver service from S20. Source: OAG Mapper.

Turkish Airlines’ top-20 connecting international-international country markets

The table, below, shows that the USA features in seven of these top-20, generating 500,000 connecting passengers, while Germany features in six (439,000).  Germany is Turkish’s key international country with 11 destinations and about 37 daily flights from Istanbul Airport (each way).  However, when extended beyond the top-20 international – international markets, Germany increases to 1.5 million (USA: 1.1 million).  When Germany – Turkey connections are included, it increases to 2.3 million (USA: 1.4 million). This is partly the result of high numbers of Turkish diaspora in Germany and also the popularity of Turkey as a holiday location for Germans.

Country marketEst. two-way connecting passengers over Istanbul Airport* in the year to Sept. 2019
Germany – Iran128,000
Israel – USA117,300
Pakistan – USA75,900
Germany – Thailand70,900
Greece – USA68,600
Germany – Egypt66,500
Germany – Israel66,100
India – USA65,600
Iran – USA65,000
Bangladesh – Italy63,900
Iraq – UK63,800
Germany – Lebanon59,200
Pakistan – UK59,100
Iran – UK58,100
Iraq – Sweden55,800
Ukraine – USA55,500
Saudi Arabia – USA51,800
Italy – Pakistan50,500
Germany – Georgia48,800
Saudi Arabia – UK46,700
Source: OAG Traffic Analyser. * Based only on Istanbul Airport and not Sabiha Gökçen.

There are some country-pairs that might not have been expected to be so important, such as Bangladesh – Italy.  This is from over 140,000 Bangladeshis in Italy, making them one of Italy’s largest immigrant populations.  The relative lack of India versus the MEB3 is apparent, which is partly from Turkish’s small presence there – it only serves Delhi and Mumbai with passenger services – as it is heavily restricted by bilaterals. 

Turkish Airlines’ top-20 international-international airport-pairs

Interestingly, Germany is almost absent from its top-20 airport-pairs. Tel Aviv features five times, especially from the USA.  Turkish serves Tel Aviv nine-daily from Istanbul Airport, with three of these often by wide-bodies.  Tel Aviv is Turkish’s most-served international airport.  Islamabad – Jeddah stands out as it is almost twice as far as the non-stop distance despite up to four-daily non-stops – including by B747-400s and B777s – and a myriad of easy one-stops over the Gulf.

Top-20 international connecting routesEst. two-way connecting passengers over Istanbul Airport* in the year to Sept. 2019
New York JFK – Tel Aviv34,300
Amsterdam – Tel Aviv24,100
Islamabad – Jeddah20,600
London Heathrow – Lagos20,200
Tehran – Toronto20,100
Dhaka – Rome Fiumicino17,900
London Heathrow – Tehran16,900
Beirut – Berlin Tegel15,300
Los Angeles – Tehran15,000
Los Angeles – Tel Aviv15,000
Copenhagen – Tehran14,900
Casablanca – Tel Aviv14,400
Miami – Tel Aviv14,200
Dhaka – Venice14,200
New York JFK – Tirana14,000
Erbil – Stockholm Arlanda13,900
Beirut – Stockholm Arlanda13,600
Baghdad – Stockholm Arlanda12,800
Hurghada – Moscow Vnukovo12,600
Delhi – San Francisco12,600
Source: OAG Traffic Analyser. * Based only on Istanbul Airport and not Sabiha Gökçen.

Source: Source: OAG Traffic Analyser. * Based only on Istanbul Airport and not Sabiha Gökçen.

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