Turkish Airlines Subsidiary AnadoluJet Eyes Sabiha Expansion

Turkish flag carrier Turkish Airlines has announced that, as part of its growth plan, subsidiary AnadoluJet will begin to offer international flights. The new schedule will begin in the summer 2020 season, with flights departing from Istanbul.

AnadoluJet Air craft on runway turkish airlines
AnadoluJet, A Turkish Airlines subsidiary will no longer just be a regional carrier. Photo: Bulent KAVAKKORU via Flickr

Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen airport served over 14 million international passengers last year. This is an increase of over 21% from 2018.  Turkish Airlines may have moved to operate out of Istanbul’s new airport, but its regional carrier AnadoluJet will be expanding its offerings from the Sabiha Gökçen hub. Starting this summer, the airline’s budget carrier AnadoluJet will begin offering international flights.

The budget carrier was previously only a regional carrier headquartered in Ankara. But as Turkish Airlines looks to execute its growth strategies, AnadoluJet is stepping up. However, this may be more difficult to implement than expected.

Turkish Airlines new airport getty images
Turkish Airlines moved to a new airport in Istanbul. Photo: Getty Images

Borrowing planes

AnadoluJet has recently lent some of its aircraft to parent airline Turkish Airlines as the continued Boeing MAX grounding plays havoc with many airlines’ schedules. Turkish Airlines has been vocal about gaining compensation from Boeing for the disruption. It is also talking to Airbus to speed up the delivery of outstanding Airbus A321neo and A350 aircraft. The airline previously had 92 A321neos on order, of which only a handful have been delivered.

This announcement shows that Turkish Airlines are going ahead with their expansion plans regardless of the effect the Boeing 737 MAX has had on operations. By using some of AnadoluJet’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft, Turkish Airlines has faced less disruption than that of its regional carrier. AnadoluJet has recently been forced to cancel several routes as well as minimizing the frequency of other routes.

If Turkish Airlines has agreed to a faster delivery schedule with Airbus, they could give the borrowed Boeings back to AnadoluJet. This would certainly make AnadoluJet’s first international offerings go much smoother and would help to meet the demand of the new international flights. This suggests that perhaps a deal with Airbus has already been done and Turkish Airlines are expecting new aircraft deliveries shortly.

Boeing MAX aircraft with Turkish Airlines livery
The MAX grounding has forced Turkish Airlines to borrow planes from AnadoluJet. Photo: Boeing

Expansion plans

Turkish Airlines reported that it carried over 40 million international passengers last year. The airline now offers more destinations than ever with a total of 316. This is up from 305 and is one of the most extensive networks in the world. It has stated that it will also be opening new routes this year as it updates its fleet.

The chairman of Turkish Airlines stated last year that the airline had completed preparations for opening new routes in 2020. Specifically, the airline will fly to fly to Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Newark in New Jersey and Vancouver.

As the airline takes delivery of its outstanding order for Airbus A350s and A321neos, it won’t be a surprise to see its network grow, as well as that of its subsidiary carrier. After all, if Turkish Airlines already flies to most destinations, growing its other airlines is a great opportunity to apply its growth tactics to other areas of its business.

AnadoluJet has yet to announce the locations it will be serving for summer but if it could extend its reach to Australasia, then the Turkish Airlines network really would be global. We have not yet received any comment from the airline to clarify exactly where the airline will be flying, but this could be another exciting chapter of growth for Turkish Airlines and AnadoluJet.

What do you think of the announcement? Let us know in the comments.