Boeing 737 Sidelined As Pegasus Favours A320 In Summer Schedule

Pegasus had 253 flights on March 30th, with Eurocontrol showing it had the sixth-highest number that day beating even Ryanair. This summer, Pegasus has 228 routes, with its A320s and A321s more important than ever. It has 160 international routes, including to Karachi, Pakistan.

Pegasus A320
International and domestic are both nearly equal in flight terms for Pegasus. Photo: Getty Images

Pegasus, the Turkish low-cost carrier, had 253 flights on March 30th, Eurocontrol data reveals. With 737 flights, Turkish Airlines was overwhelmingly number-one, with Simple Flying previously showing that the full-service carrier will use widebodies to 83 airports in April. Despite ranking sixth by this measure, Pegasus’ flights are still down by over one-third versus 2019.

Pegasus flights
That Pegasus had more flights than Ryanair might take some digesting. Image: Eurocontrol

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Pegasus is mainly Airbus

Pegasus’ A320s, both ceos and neos, have over six in ten flights (63%) this summer, followed by its B737-800s (30%). Since the pandemic struck and as more A320neos have been delivered, Pegasus’ B737s have almost necessarily taken a growing backseat in its fleet. As recently as 2018, B737s were the backbone of Pegasus’ fleet, OAG data reveals.

Pegasus A320
This summer, Pegasus has 228 routes, up very marginally over 226 in summer 2019. It has 111,564 flights scheduled, up by nearly 4% over two summers ago. Photo: Getty Images.

A321neos on 28 routes

Pegasus’ first 239-seat A321neo was delivered in September 2019, and the carrier now has seven of them, according to Airfleets. They’ll have 7% of its flights this summer. Some 22 international routes are down to see them, including those on a one-off basis.

Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen to Amsterdam will see them the most, followed by Sabiha Gökçen to Paris Orly, Moscow Domodedovo, Erbil, and Krasnodar. They’ll also be used on six short domestic routes that are tourist-heavy, especially the 287-mile service to Antalya, along with Izmir and Bodrum.

Pegasus A321neo
Pegasus is to use its A321neos on 28 routes this season. Photo: Airbus.

Over half of Pegasus’ flights are international

Both international and domestic markets are crucial for Pegasus, with a near-equal split this summer: its international operation has 51% of its total flights and the remaining 49% domestic. This is pretty much the same as two summers ago, reflecting the higher importance of summertime for travel to Turkey, both for tourists and for those traveling to visit friends and relatives, especially in Eastern Turkey. It also reflects the country opening up more to international travelers.

Pegasus international routes
Pegasus has 160 international routes this summer. Image: OAG.

Domestic is crucially important

Pegasus’ domestic market became more important than ever in coronavirus’s earlier stages, reflecting border closures and domestic markets necessarily recovering faster. Pegasus’ domestic operation is significant in itself (Turkey is a large country geographically with generally slow overland transport) and also for connections to/from its international services.

This summer, it has 68 domestic routes, including 34 from Sabiha Gökçen, although other airports have multiple domestic routes, including nine routes from Ankara and seven from Adana. Sabiha Gökçen to Antalya, Izmir, Bodrum, Ankara, and Trabzon are its top routes, with Antalya having up to 15 departures a day.

Pegasus domestic routes
Pegasus has 68 domestic routes this summer. Image: OAG.

160 international routes

Pegasus’ international route map is nearly 2.5 times larger than its domestic, although international is understandably less frequently served. This is shown by international having just 400,000 more seats than domestic.

Some 83 airports comprise its international market, with 59 across Europe, led by Ercan, London Stansted, Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Moscow Domodedovo. Next up is the Middle East with 18, alongside three in North Africa, two in Central Asia, and one in South Asia. Pegasus’ sole South Asia destination is Karachi.

Pegasus B737-800
While Sabiha Gökçen is central to Pegasus’ whole operation, it has increasingly added international routes from other Turkish airports. For example, it now has 31 from Antalya. Photo: Getty Images.

Karachi connection

Pegasus launched Sabiha Gökçen to Karachi on September 25th, 2020, with the 2,435-mile service the carrier’s longest, only slightly ahead of Sabiha Gökçen-Almaty. Karachi is served four-weekly, with connections available across Europe, including London and Manchester. The latter has less than a 90-minute connection in Istanbul in both directions.

Have you flown Pegasus or visited Sabiha Gökçen? Comment below!