Istanbul Atatürk enters top three busiest airports in Europe: Report
ISTANBULIstanbul’s Atatürk Airport has overtaken Frankfurt Airport to enter the top three busiest airports in Europe, Bloomberg has reported, based on 2015 passenger numbers.
The shift came as Turkish Airlines continued its rapid expansion and strikes at Deutsche Lufthansa AG hurt the German hub.
London Heathrow remains Europe’s busiest airport, while Paris Charles de Gaulle ranked second, although it suffered two months of falling numbers for the first time in almost two years after November’s terrorist attacks.
Frankfurt’s passenger tally increased by 2.5 percent to 61.04 million, short of its 4 percent target, after walkouts cost Lufthansa 4,700 flights in November, mostly at its main base.
Istanbul Atatürk Airport, which surpassed Madrid and Amsterdam in 2014, posted an 8.2 percent jump to 61.32 million in 2015, cementing its status as a global hub to rival those of Gulf carriers such as Dubai-based Emirates, Bloomberg reported.
The airport, which is operated by Turkey’s TAV, has now added more than 16 million passengers in three years, compared with less than 4 million at Frankfurt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
In a written statement to the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP) on Jan. 12, Turkish Airlines said it expects passenger numbers to reach 72.4 million in 2016 and sales revenues to reach $12.2 billion.
“The total number of passengers carried is targeted to reach 72.4 million, made up of 30.6 million on scheduled domestic routes, 40.8 million on scheduled international routes, and the rest on charter and hajj flights,” said the company, which carried 61.2 million passengers in 2015.
By the end of 2016 the overall fleet size is planned to have risen to 339, made up of 240 narrow-body, 87 wide-body, and 12 cargo aircraft, Turkish Airlines stated, adding that with six new routes added, the total number of destinations served will reach 290.