Turkish low-cost carrier Pegasus Airlines is planning to build a major base at Istanbul Third Airport scheduled to open next October, a Bloomberg report has claimed. The airline aims to attract passengers from the European side of the city which is currently dominated by state-owned Turkish Airlines (THY).
"We plan to fly both domestically and internationally out of the new airport if we can get the slots and infrastructure," Pegasus Airlines' Chief Commercial Officer Güliz Öztürk reportedly told Bloomberg. The company, however, deems a full base at the new airport unlikely until the third runway is built about nine months after the first two will open. Pegasus currently bases almost 60 aircraft at Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen airport located on the Asian side of Istanbul. It served around 8 million fliers, compared with 10 million at Atatürk airport on the European side.
Atatürk is currently THY's home base and will be closed down once the new airport is operational. Pegasus has limited presence at the airport.
However, the budget airlines will station a "considerable fleet" at the new airport after its third runway opens in 2020, Öztürk reportedly said. The new Istanbul airport will serve around 90 million fliers annually once the first phase of its construction is completed. It will increase capacity to serve approximately 200 million passengers after going fully operational in 2023.