The assistant general manager of SKY Turizm, Faruk Yılmaz, said in a speech he gave yesterday at Istanbul Atatürk Airport that both the number of flights and passengers of Turkish Airlines (THY) and Russia's Aeroflot Airlines, two of the main airline companies that arrange commercial flights between the two countries, have dropped by 50 percent since Turkey downed the Russian military jet that violated Turkish airspace.
The passenger occupancy rate has dropped significantly since Nov. 24, 2015, the day the plane was downed. THY used to fly four times per week to Moscow, but now this number has dropped to three; yet, flights to other destinations in Russia continue. Aeroflot dropped the number of daily flights from four to two and stopped its Moscow-Ankara flights. Aeroflot's daily Moscow-Antalya flights dropped to one as well.
Currently, THY operates 21 flights to Russia that depart from Atatürk Istanbul Airport, while Aeroflot has 14 flights to the airport. Additionally, Pegasus Airlines operates seven flights per week from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Moscow. Other than Moscow, THY flies to Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Rostov, St. Petersburg, Ufa, Krasnodar, Novosibirsk and Astrakhan, while Pegasus flies to Krasnodar and Yekaterinburg.
Yılmaz stressed that THY plans to increase the number of flights in the summer season from 21 to 28. Yılmaz added that they were informed that Antalya-Moscow-Antalya flights would increase to two, while Aeroflot has no intention of increasing the number of flights.