Turkish Airlines Eyes Widebody Summer At 4 In 10 International Destinations

Turkish Airlines will use its widebodies to 83 airports in early April. They’ll operate 920 flights, with the A330-300 the leading aircraft to be used and the A350-900 coming increasingly online. Moscow Vnukovo will be its top widebody destination.

Turkish Airlines B777
Over four in ten of Turkish Airlines’ international airports will see widebodies in the first week of April.     Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Almost a quarter of flights will be widebody

Turkish Airlines will use its widebodies to 83 airports from its main Istanbul hub in the first week of April. Almost all of these will be international (78), with the remaining five very short domestic services with an average distance of just 305 miles.

The full-service carrier will have 920 widebody flights that week, just under a quarter of its total (23%). By far the single most important aircraft will be the 289-seat A330-300, with over one-third of widebody movements (36%), followed by the B777-300ER, B787-9, A330-200, and A350-900.

Turkish Airlines’ first A350-900 was delivered in late 2020, with its first revenue-generating service, to Manila, on November 10th. Come this April week, its A350s, of which it now has four, will be used to six airports: Amsterdam; Dubai; Buenos Aires (via Sao Paulo); Manila; and Montreal.

One-stops are fairly important to Turkish Airlines, especially across Africa. This is no different for its widebodies. 10 of its 83 widebody destinations will have a stop, with all but two operating ‘triangularly’, such as its three-times-a-week Istanbul-Bogota-Panama City-Istanbul service.

Turkish Airlines widebodies
15 of Turkish Airlines’ 83 airports to see widebodies are in Europe. Moscow Vnukovo will be the carrier’s number-one widebody destination. Image: GCMap

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83 airports to see twin-aisle

Moscow Vnukovo, Izmir, Amsterdam, Dubai, Ankara, Tehran, New York JFK, Kyiv Boryspil, and Heathrow will each have at least 14-weekly widebody departures, nicely showing how widespread the use of such aircraft is. At just 223 miles and almost exclusively operated by the B777-300ER, Izmir will the operator’s shortest widebody service.

The nine airports with 14+ departures is an increase of one over the same week in pre-coronavirus 2019. Then, the list comprised Amsterdam (with 24 weekly departures), Heathrow, Beirut, Paris CDG, Frankfurt, Jeddah, JFK, and Tel Aviv.

The rise of Vnukovo to the top spot nicely shows how airlines change capacity and more in response to various developments. With Russia and Turkey two of the standout countries during coronavirus in terms of passenger volume, Turkish Airlines has increased widebody service to Moscow from seven-weekly to 21. Many others, especially in Germany, have seen big reductions, while others, notably in Spain, have seen widebodies temporarily removed.

Turkish Airlines will use its widebodies to 15 destinations across Europe, even if it’s just once this week, as in the case of Birmingham (April 5th; B787-9) and Warsaw (April 2nd; A330-300). This year is by far the top for carrier’s widebodies to Birmingham.

Turkish Airlines routes
Across all aircraft types, Tel Aviv is normally Turkish Airlines’ leading international airport. It will now be joint-first with Vnukovo, although Tel Aviv has – unlike Vnukovo – seen a big fall in the number of widebodies being used. Source: OAG Schedules Analyzer.

Where do its widebodies fit in?

Turkish Airlines has a pretty well-defined hub structure at Istanbul Airport to maximize connectivity, so its use of widebodies tend to have a clear pattern too.

Turkish Airlines' widebodies
This is when Turkish Airlines will use its widebodies at Istanbul in the first week of April. Source: OAG.

In this April week, the largest arrival bank of widebodies will be 05:00-06:00, mainly from Asia-Pacific, although also some from Africa, North America, and the Middle East. A number then depart in Turkish Airlines’ first daylight departure bank of the day, mainly 07:00-08:00, across Europe and domestically.

This is partly done for the extra uplift capability needed from so many early arrivals, and partly to help increase the utilization of its widebodies which would otherwise remain on the ground.

Turkish Airlines B777
Turkish Airlines’ widebodies have clear arrival and departure banks at the carrier’s Istanbul hub.               Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Clear patterns for widebody use

All other arrivals/departure banks follow key patterns too. For example, closer European routes and also domestic services arrive back 11:00-12:00, before leaving across Europe and North America. The European ones then arrive back in the very late evening to feed its multiple (mainly Asia-Pacific) departures in the very early morning.

North America is different. With the exception of JFK’s second-daily service, all departures to the USA/Canada leave 13:15-15:00 and arrive back the next day between 15:00-17:35. This is partly to connect to/from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

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