Turkish Airlines will discontinue up to twelve weekly flights between Istanbul and the former Yugoslavia this winter season amid lower demand caused by safety concerns in Turkey, as well as a recent failed coup attempt in the country. The move will affect operations to Pristina, Sarajevo and Zagreb. All three have been previously served twice per day by Turkish Airlines, however, the carrier will maintain ten weekly services to each this winter season instead. On the other hand, operations to Belgrade, Podgorica, Skopje and Ljubljana, as well as its recently launched service to Dubrovnik, remain unaffected. Turkish competes against Pegasus Airlines on flights to Pristina and Sarajevo from Istanbul (from different airports) and has a monopoly on its route to Zagreb.
Turkish Airlines is the largest by capacity and frequency at Sarajevo Airport, offering over 3.000 seats from the Bosnian capital each week. In Pristina, the carrier is fifth largest by capacity, offering almost 2.000 seats for sale each week, and third largest in terms of frequencies. In the Croatian capital, Turkish is the third biggest airline by capacity behind Croatia Airlines and Lufthansa. The carrier also boasts a code share agreement with its Croatian counterpart. Earlier this year it placed its flight numbers and designator code onto Croatia Airlines' services from Zagreb to Zadar and Pula, as well as between Pula and Zadar. Croatia Airlines already codeshares on Turkish's service between Istanbul and the Croatian capital. Turkish increased its operations to Zagreb to double daily after Croatia Airlines gave up on the route in 2013.
Turkish has propelled itself to become one of the fastest growing carriers in the world over the past decade. However, for the first time in years, the carrier has lowered its full-year passenger growth guidance, and the number of frequencies and capacity have been trimmed across its network. Despite downsizing its operations in the region, the carrier has emphasised the importance of the former Yugoslav market. “Turkish Airlines always gives crucial importance to the former Yugoslav market, considering its contribution to our global network. These routes are of great potential and feed Turkish’s European points, as well as points in the United States", a company spokesperson told EX-YU Aviation News. They added, "Currently there are no plans to add new routes in this market, but maybe in the future". Turkish Airlines is the only carrier to operate flights to all capital cities of the former Yugoslavia.