Turkish Airlines adding tenth daily flight from Tel Aviv
Turkish Airlines, the leading foreign airline operating in Israel, is adding a tenth daily flight on the Tel Aviv-Istanbul route, "Globes" has learned. The additional flight will start on March 31, 2019.
More than 85% of the passengers with Turkish Airlines from Israel to Istanbul continue with the airline to further destinations. In 2017, Turkish Airlines carried more than a million passengers from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport, and the additional flight indicates its intention of expanding further in Israel.
No foreign airline currently operates as many as ten flights from Tel Aviv. El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) operates 55 flights in the summer season, but it is prevented from flying to Istanbul. El Al chairman Eli Defes said in an interview with "Globes" recently that, as with the prohibition on the airline from flying over Saudi Arabia, which prevents it from competing with Air India on flights to India, in this instance too El Al was unfairly discriminated against. Defes said that it was the State of Israel that enabled Turkish Airlines to take tens of thousands of Israeli passengers from Tel Aviv and carry them to its many destinations from its home airport in Istanbul, while El Al was unable to compete with it directly, among other things because it was not allowed to fly to Istanbul.
At the end of October, a huge new airport is due to open in Istanbul. It will be the largest airport in the world, with a capacity of 200 million passengers annually in four terminals. Flights will depart from the new airport to 350 destinations.
Turkish Airlines itself has expansion plans. It intends to grow its fleet to 600 aircraft in the coming years.