Turkish Airlines Reveals Luanda As Its Next Africa Route

Turkish Airlines has put on sale its next destination in Africa: Luanda, Angola. It will be served twice-weekly from October 27th. Looking to November, Luanda will be the airline’s 46th passenger destination across the continent. We take a look at what’s happening.

Turkish A330
If the whole of Africa is looked at, Air France is the largest foreign airline this November by flights. Next are Turkish Airlines, Ryanair, Qatar Airways, and Emirates. Of course, North Africa is vital for most of these airlines. In this photo is an A330-300. Photo: TJDarmstadt via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Luanda will be Turkish Airlines’ fourth passenger destination in Southern Africa this year, its least-served part of the continent. This comes as Qatar Airways has inaugurated multiple new routes to Africa since coronavirus began.

Beginning on October 27th, Turkish Airlines’ 3,588-mile Luanda service will run twice-weekly as follows. One will be non-stop, while the other will be via Libreville, Gabon, in both directions. The one-stop service, so commonplace and crucial to its Africa operation, will add 163 miles and two hours and 25 minutes to the trip time each way. All flights will be by the A330-200.

Istanbul-Luanda:

  • Wednesdays: 02:05-10:55 (via Libreville)
  • Fridays: 09:25-15:50

Luanda-Istanbul: Wednesdays:

  • Wednesdays: 12:25-22:40
  • Fridays: 17:10-05:50+1 (the next day; via Libreville)
Turkish Airlines A330-200
This isn’t the first time that Luanda has been planned. In 2014, it also expected a twice-weekly A330 service, although with different timings. However, it was later downgauged to the B737-800 (!) and eventually not launched. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Luanda’s split schedule

Turkish Airlines’ timings represent a ‘split schedule’, intended to capture two distinct flows of passenger demand that otherwise couldn’t be achieved if it stuck to the same schedule on both days. This would likely jeopardize the entire viability of the market.

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Wednesday’s very early morning departure (02:05) is mainly for those arriving from across Europe, with the return (22:40) feeding departures across Asia. The reverse is true on Fridays. The departure from Istanbul (09:25) is fed by arrivals from Asia, while the early Saturday arrival (05:50) feeds Europe-bound flights.

Turkish Airlines
Multiple African destinations leave Istanbul in the very early morning, such as Dakar (01:10), Accra (01:25), Djibouti (01:35), Lagos (01:55), and many more. Arrivals from Europe feed them. Most then arrive back early the following morning (04:30-06:00), helping to feed Europe flights. Image: OAG.

Why this schedule?

A good bulk of long-haul demand from Luanda is to China. Elsewhere in the Far East, Vietnam and the Phillippines are the second- and third-largest markets, booking data reveals, with Turkish Airlines to target some of this alongside traffic to Europe.

As a former Portuguese colony, Portugal is overwhelmingly the number-one country from Luanda. France is next (it is third overall after China), followed by the UK. Germany is a distant fourth. These countries, and many more, will be targeted. However, flying via Istanbul is often quite out-of-the-way, which may be reflected in pricing, although there often aren’t large numbers of alternatives.

Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-303 TC-JOG
Turkish Airlines will have a split schedule to Luanda to target more countries. Note that this is an A330-300 rather than a -200 which will be used to Angola. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Turkish Airlines’ Africa network in November

While it might change, Turkish will serve 46 passenger destinations across Africa this coming November, down from 51 in November 2019. With 41% of flights, North Africa remains the most served, closely followed by Central and West Africa (37%), East Africa (19%), and Southern Africa (just 3%). Cairo, Algiers, Tunis, Casablanca, and Alexandria have the most flights.

Have you flown Turkish Airlines to Africa? Let us know in the comments.

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