Pegasus not ‘keen on’ flying from Istanbul's third airport
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Pegasus is not eager to fly from the new airport, the firm’s CEO said.Turkey’s largest private air carrier Pegasus is not eager to fly from the new airport planned for Istanbul, according to the CEO of the company that is centering its plans on Istanbul’s Anatolian-side airport Sabiha Gökçen.
“There is still a four- to five-year construction process [for the new airport] ahead, but we are not that enthusiastic to start flights from there,” Pegasus CEO and Board Member Sertaç Haybat said, answering reporters’ questions during a meeting organized to share the firm’s financial outlook and future plans.
“I think constructing a third airport in Istanbul is right because a mega city like Istanbul needs this project. However, this will not be the third airport as they say, it will be the second airport,” he said, referring to speculated plans of deactivating Atatürk Airport when the new airport is functional.
“Therefore, this airport is right, but shutting down Atatürk Airport is wrong,” he stressed.
Haybat also recalled that an initiative for the construction of a second landing field at Sabiha Gökçen Airport has been pushed.
A second field at Sabiha Gökçen is more valuable than a third field at Atatürk, he said.
Of the two airports on the two different sides of the city, Pegasus has focused on Sabiha Gökçen as a hub for most of its domestic and international flights.
Both airports are growing at a high pace of over 10 percent each year, but the high occupancy at Atatürk Airport has reached alarming levels, making the new airport all the more urgent.
The government awarded a consortium of five Turkish companies the tender to build a new airport in the northern part of the European side last May, but the fate of Atatürk Airport is still unknown.
The first phase of the new airport is hoped to be completed by 2016, but the setbacks the project is going through right now have raised questions about potential delays.
Istanbul’s new airport, that is slated to replace Atatürk Airport, has been promoted as one of the largest in the world and the government expects over 100 million passengers to travel through it every year.