Turkish Airlines rules out new EX-YU routes

Turkish will focus on adding frequencies over new routes in EX-YU

Turkish Airlines has ruled out the possibility of introducing new routes in the former Yugoslavia, but will focus on adding extra frequencies on existing services instead. Speaking to EX-YU Aviation News, Turkish Airlines’ Media Relations Officer, Serhan Yucel, said the airline has good coverage in the region, “Currently there are no plans to add new routes, but maybe in the future. Furthermore, increasing frequencies to points in the former Yugoslavia is being evaluated. The former Yugoslav market is important for Turkish Airlines, making a contribution to the airline’s global network”. Turkish Airlines has been rapidly expanding its operations across the former Yugoslavia in recent years. It currently operates two daily flights to Belgrade, Pristina, Skopje and Zagreb, ten weekly services to Ljubljana and Podgorica and up to eighteen weekly flights to Sarajevo.

In the spring of 2014, Turkish Airlines planned to add Dubrovnik to its route network with three weekly flights, however, despite guarantees from the Mayor of Dubrovnik and the Turkish Foreign Minister, the service did not materialise. “Turkish Airlines always gives crucial importance to the former Yugoslav market, considering its contribution to our global network. The mentioned routes have great potential and feed Turkish’s European points, as well as points in the United States” Mr Yucel said. Over the past year, Turkish Airlines has become the carrier of choice for many in the former Yugoslavia. In 2014, Turkish was the second busiest carrier flying out of Skopje and the third busiest in Pristina. So far in 2015, the Turkish carrier has positioned itself as the second busiest airline operating out of Ljubljana and the fourth busiest in Belgrade, despite a 12% decline in the number of operated flights.

Discussing potential takeovers in the region, Mr Yucel neither confirmed nor denied Turkish’s interest in other carriers at a time when Adria Airways, Croatia Airlines and Montenegro Airlines are all up for privatisation. “Major decisions such as joint ventures or acquisitions require a board decision and we also inform the Stock Exchange to inform our shareholders”. However, Mehmet Baspinar, Turkish Airlines’ Vice President for Marketing and Sales in Eastern Europe and the Balkans says strict European Union laws and regulations, which are enforced across the region, forbid the Turkish carrier from becoming a majority shareholder. As a result, it cannot effectively enforce its strategy, as was the case at B&H Airlines.


  1. Anonymous09:06

    Pitty about Dubrovnik. That would have been a great addition for Turkish and the airport.

    1. Anonymous09:45

      It cannot work with the visa regime for Turkish citizens. They seriously prefer traveling to visa-free destinations or those where you get your visa at the airport. Sarajevo, Belgrade, Skopje and Pristina can be O&D destinations for TK, everything else is primarily for transfers. Any new route would have to be O&D and I don't see any candidates in exYU. Even Ohrid where TAV is in charge cannot offer more than seasonal charters. There were ideas with KVO, and that is why Turkish government donated money for that airport, but as we can see that project has stalled. No exYU country has a secondary business hub that could make an attractive O&D route for TK. That leaves Croatian coastline which is hampered by the visa factor. TK's response to this (increase of frequencies) is normal and makes sense.

    2. Anonymous09:58

      Only 28% of all TK passengers are transiting in IST so your argument doesn't really stand.
      One advantage TK has is that its based in a 17 million city which is also extremely popular as a tourist destination.

    3. Anonymous10:38

      Sure it's popular. And how many exYU cities (two of which have >1 million) can provide steady supply of O&D for a year-long route?

      ExYU residents who travel for tourism fly from their capitals where TK is strongly present. Can you name any non-capital city in exYU that could provide enough tourists and business travelers for at least 3x weekly flights? That is the problem.

      If there were such cities in exYU, Pegasus would have been there by now. But the exYU market yields too low even for Pegasus.

    4. Anonymous14:48

      Mislim koliko treba da ti neko napise da lupetas. U bivsoj SFRJ samo jedan grad ima vise od 1 miliona stanovnika i nalazi se pored Zemuna. Neka se Rvati dogovore sa NATO clanicom za jednokratne vize na aerodromu onda moze TK da leti tamo 3 puta nedeljno. Hrvatska jos nije clanica Sengena.

    5. Anonymous15:20

      Друже, Земун је београдска општина још од 1930их година.

  2. Anonymous09:11

    Fly to MBX

    1. Anonymous08:32

      Glas vpijocega v puscavi...

  3. Anonymous09:28

    No wonder they dominate. Their fares are reasonable and their service is excellent.

  4. Anonymous09:50

    TK has been packed with Turkish tourists to BEG this year (Air Serbia too). I have never head so much Turkish being spoken on the streets. I'm guessing the visa free regime helps. I heard from a friend working in the tourism industry that Turkish tourists don't care much for visiting historical sights and seeing other things. They are mostly interested in doing shopping which is far cheaper in Belgrade than Istanbul. They stay for 3 days and leave.

  5. Anonymous10:18

    ^And they also go for the relaxed atmosphere and nightlife.
    Especiallly since Erdogan and the AKP fight liberalism and hedonism even in Istanbul.
    There are a lot of liberal and open minded Turks (Gezi-Park),
    who will have to find alternatives

    1. Anonymous10:44

      No need for politics there. Turkish citizens have plenty of alternatives where they are. The reason why they like Belgrade is:
      - much cheaper place than Istanbul
      - close and easy to reach (plenty of flights)
      - no visas required
      - easy to have fun

      Turks generally like Belgrade and consider it 'the gate to the west'. For those who live in Istanbul and don't have a fortune to spend it is a perfect city break destination.

  6. Anonymous10:33

    Does anyone know whether TK will be a part of the new Macedonian Airline if those promises materialise? And any news on RyanAir expanding in SKP or was it just political propaganda?

    1. Anonymous10:36

      Ryanair confirmed to this site they are starting flights from SKP but they are still discussing potential routes so I doubt it's just political propaganda. About the airline, I think more will be known in August.

    2. Anonymous11:05

      I think that RyanAir confirmed that they were discussing potential routes from SKP with Macedonian Government, not that they will be definitely starting flights. My only concern is about clashing with wizz. If both airlines have success at skp 2mil p/y is not too far away. However cant see ryanair starting flights earlier than jan 2016.

    3. Anonymous11:59

      There's been a lack of news recently regarding the "new Macedonian airline". I guess the consultancy report showed how bad of an idea it is. More capacity by FR / W6 is the logical next step.

    4. Anonymous12:02

      Have a look at the archive. The report is due in August.

    5. Anonymous12:11

      It's been out for some time now.. privately. :)

    6. Anonymous12:54

      I am not sure if it is a bad idea, because TAV on several occasions made it clear that Macedonia needs flag carrier for further development of the airport. I know this is a long-shot, but if TK cooperates with MKD government for the airline, would it be possible that TK gives up it's flights from and to SKP in favor of the new airline, while TK has code-sharing rights? That would give like 100k passengers for the airline on just one destination which is not too bad of a beginning. As for FR, i really hope it will start operating from SKP very soon.

    7. Anonymous13:17

      TAV are only looking after their own interest. They are the ones actually cashing out from all of the subsidies. I don't trust them one bit.

  7. Anonymous10:36


    Why isn't INI shown on fr24? Flights have commenced more than a month ago :(

    1. Anonymous13:20

      Great success! INI will have around 7k passingers this month and only with two routes. Turkish should definitely consider expansion. INI for example could fill two weekly flights I'm sure(to IST) because it is very popular as a tourist destination year round and stronger business ties with Turkey are being built every year.
      And I'm sure that ether Air Serbia or Turkish would add more frequencies from BEG to IST.


    2. Anonymous14:05

      Turkish would but they were forced to reduce their flights. It would be great if Serbia and Turkey could sign an open skies agreement but we all know a certain airline will not allow for that to happen.

    3. Anonymous14:33

      You guys would really blame Air Serbia for bad weather and bad results in football. Geez.

      Anyhow, TK would not consider INI because there is NO tourist demand there to fill 2 weekly flights. There is hardly ANY demand over there outside of the summer season when they use charters. You may have asked yourselves how come Wizz did not open any tourist routes from INI but instead relied on two heavy duty "gastarbajter" locations. Well, the answer to that question is also the answer to your dreams of some huge demand in southern Serbia for O&D flights INI-IST.

    4. Anonymous14:45

      There's great potential for tourism in that part of Serbia, with spa resorts during summer and ski resorts during winter. The airport could serve as a good starting point for this, and with good marketing, the whole area could benefit.. There's already regular charters during winter form Russia to INI, bringing tourists to the ski resorts. Those could easily be expanded onto other markets, and into the summer period.

    5. Anonymous15:19

      Anon 2.33

      Your comment is stupid because we are rightfully blaming Air Serbia, not only because they were involved but because it's also an aviation matter... unlike bad weather or sports results.

    6. Anonymous16:14

      Anon @ 3.19pm ... actually, it is your comment which is stupid in blaming Air Serbia. Bilateral air agreements are negotiated between governments, not airlines. And the bilateral agreement b/w Serbia and Turkey states reciprocity in capacity b/w both countries. Turkish flying 17 flts per week into BEG and Air Serbia flying 7 into Istanbul's secondary airport at Sabia Gokcen was not reciprocal ... that's why the govt moved to bring balance into wht was happening at that time .... it is still not balanced, with Turkish flying 14 times per week, but at least Air Serbia is flying back into Ataturk airport.....

    7. Anonymous18:12

      Air Serbia (read Etihad) was the one who was pushing the whole return to IST and they were the ones who were pushing for the reciprocity clause. The Serbian authorities couldn't give a rat's ass about it. Actually, a good thing with our directorate is that they are very much against protectionism, which directly contradicts Air Serbia.

      So why should an institution which is extremely liberal push for additional restrictions? Also, these restrictions appeared the moment Air Serbia started to expand. So yes, this was all about Etihad/Air Serbia lobbying.

      I guess when you can't compete otherwise, use similar tactics.

    8. Anonymous18:14

      ps if it was really about reciprocity then they would have gone all the way to the end and they wouldn't have stopped the moment JU got what it wanted. Let's not forget that Pegasus also operates 4 weekly flights into Belgrade which makes the whole 'reciprocity' argument even more hilarious.

    9. Anonymous21:25

      So, what's the problem, i don't get you? Air Serbia should have stayed at SAW?

    10. Anonymous21:53

      No, we should not spread misinformation regarding the fact who was behind TK's reduction of flights and what was the actual story there.

      Anyway, this whole issue was resolved by Davutoglu which only goes to show that it had big political backing, on both sides.

    11. Aэrologic23:11

      So what if TK was forced to reduce flights, what's all the drama? That is no secret and i don't see why are you playing Columbo in here, although - talking of middle ages - it makes you look much more like a jester at the end of the day. Even with all the reductions, the Turkish carriers are still getting way over what is permitted by the bilateral and pretty honestly i'm not against it at the current ratio, especially in the case of Pegasus. Give it a rest and get some sleep.

    12. Anonymous09:13

      Oh Aerologic and his hateful obsession with TK- we all remember your racist comments on here before.

    13. Aэrologic17:33

      Can you please explain to us what is there racist in my comment or provide any other tangible argument regarding what i have written? Thank you.

  8. In 2014 Sarajevo - Istanbul route was the most frequent in Ex-Yu:

    almost 360.000 passengers

    between Butmir and Atatürk/Sabiha (better then ZAG-FRA or BEG-SVO).

    On days 1-3-5-7 there are 4 daily flights mostly with B737-800 or A321 (morning TK flight). Load factor was 78%.

    1. Anonymous16:21

      Sabiha Gokcen is looking for an airline to start operating Zagreb and giving subventions but dont know if its space for another airline on Istanbul route.

      Strange that they consider DBV and SPU not to work from Istanbul during summer due to visa issues but ZAG is working. Sounds more like Turkish are not interested in seasonal flights.

      Should be a lot of transit to DBV I guess thru Istanbul

    2. Anonymous20:41

      That is not true:

      BEG-TIV 48 flghts per week
      BEG-TGD 35 flights per week
      ZAG-SPU 33 flights per week (4-6 per day)BEG-VIE 32 flights per week
      ZAG-VIE 32 flights per week (4-5 per day)
      ZAG-DBV 30 flights per week (4-6 per day)
      BEG-SVO 28 flights per week
      ZAG-FRA 28 flights per week (4 per day)
      ZAG-MUC 28 flights per week (4 per day)

      SJJ-IST 26 flights per week (3-4 per day)

    3. Anonymous23:32

      "Sarajevo" is speeking of capacity/passengers.
      This does not depend on frequencies. Right?

    4. Anonymous10:46

      Tivat and Podgorica to Belgrade have more pax than SJJ-IST. Also FRA-ZAG and BEG-SVO.

  9. Anonymous13:55

    Steta sto je ne moguca odbrana od TK .

    1. Anonymous16:17

      INN-NS, of course it is possible to battle against TK ... that is what bilateral air service agreements are meant to do - to protect and balance out national interests.Canada does this best - especially against the ME3 in not allowing their capacity to grow thereby protecting its national carrier Air Canada

    2. Anonymous17:40

      Slazem se, ali druze, znas li ti ko je Air Canada? Flota od preko 300 aviona i nasa flotica Air Srbije od 20 aviona? Air Canada je imala pune ruke posla sa Emiratima da bi sacuvala svoje interese...

    3. Anonymous17:41

      Pa TK moze da salje 77W ako hoce i spusti tako niske karte da hoce i pobedice uvek .
      Jedino da ASL ima flotu od 400 Aviona pa da pobedi a ovako nista ne vredi ugovor.

    4. Anonymous20:01

      Anon at 5:40

      Your attitude is polar opposite of startup thinking. If it was up to you, there would never be Ryanair, Google or Apple.

    5. Anonymous21:32

      Maybe so...but I highly doubt our ASL has the vision or courage to push outside of the envelope like your mentioned companies. I suggest you research our Balkan collective mentality before you raise any hopes....two years on, we are still running a fleet of 3 types, not even a single one is fresh from the production line. But hey, I wish I end up wrong :)

  10. Anonymous20:07

    OT: Etihad started sale of flights from Zagreb. First flight from ZAG to BEG operated by Air Serbia, other segments by Etihad. So far they offer mostly SE Asia and Australia destinations. Great to have more competition in Zagreb.

    1. Anonymous00:21

      A number of combinations is with the first flight outgoing leg operated by OU, thru Munich.

    2. Anonymous07:26

      EY has been selling in ZAG for ages via OU, usually at very low levels. BEG gives additional routing option.
      OU/JU/EY problem is that they sell 2 stop options which they can only sell at ridiculously low levels, considering increased capacity of other 1 stop airlines to East,namely QR. But, definitely always good to have one more option as a customer!

  11. Anonymous22:36

    OT: Air Serbia W15 Bucharest Operation Changes

    Air Serbia from 25OCT15 is adjusting operations on Belgrade – Bucharest route. 3 of 7 weekly flights will move from daytime to night-time hours, while the remainder 4 weekly flights sees Airbus A319 operating, instead of ATR72.

    JU646 BEG0030 – 0250OTP AT7 356
    JU642 BEG1320 – 1520OTP 319 x245

    JU647 OTP0500 – 0530BEG AT7 356
    JU643 OTP1610 – 1620BEG 319 x245

    Source: http://airlineroute.net/2015/07/28/ju-otp-w15/

  12. Aэrologic23:23

    Hopefully Istanbul soon follows.


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