Municipality halts shuttle to airport

Municipality halts shuttle to airport

Municipality halts shuttle to airport

A Havaş shuttle waits for passengers at Istanbul’s Atatürk International Airport, as rival Havataş’s bus is approaches. Istanbul municipality has cancelled Havaş’s operations. DHA photo

Havataş, a domestic shuttle service company, has become the sole operator between central Istanbul and the city’s Atatürk International Airport following a decision by the municipality to bar rival operator Havaş.

“Unfortunately, we have to terminate our shuttle services to Atatürk Airport according to the recent decision of the municipality,” said Havaş in an official statement sent Jan. 12, noting that it will take legal action to “defend rights obtained by law.”

However, Havataş, which won the right to operate a shuttle service between Taksim in central Istanbul and Atatürk Airport in September 2010 said the competition was already “unfair.” This caused significant financial loss, nearly 10 million Turkish Liras, for Havataş, said Emir Günaydın, the board member, in a separate written statement the same day.

“Günaydın Tour and Çimentur venture won the tender in 2010 for 10 years,” said Günaydın in the statement, claiming Havaş did not stop its shuttle service the past two years despite the decisions of the courts and continued to compete with Havataş.

Günaydın is also a member of Istanbul’s provincial assembly of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Campaign against Havaş

Yeni Şafak, a Turkish daily, accused Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım on Jan. 7 of granting “extraordinary privileges” to İDO, the firm running the high speed ferries in Istanbul and neighboring cities. IDO was acquired from the municipality by TAV, which also owns a 65 percent stake in Havaş.
“Yeni Şafak and Havataş are both owned by Albayraklar,” said a source close to the issue.

“There is not surprise that they fire at Minister Yıldırım, as the main concern of the group is the profit they make, and they are ready to use paper as an instrument for misinformation,” the source told the Daily News by phone yesterday.