Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha with their main airline carriers Emirates, Ethiad and Qatar Airways had taken enormous market-shares from airlines everywhere, Europe, Asia, North America and even South America and Australia.
Most experts thought there was no way competing with the mighty three carriers all offering great service, attractive rates, and a fantastic airport to connect.
Almost unnoticed the one city Istanbul has developed to rival the three big ones.
Together with Star Alliance Turkish Airlines, there is the same concept. The largest network of any airline in the world nonstop from Istanbul, great service, and an easy transit point, plus a city most tourists say it’s one of the most beautiful metropolitans in the world.
The Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul alone is worth for premium flyers to select Istanbul as the transit point of choice.
Analysis analyzing around 17 million flight booking transactions a day, reveals that the major airports in the Gulf, Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi, are all losing market share of transit passengers to Istanbul.
ForwardKeys’ data for the first Quarter of 2018 shows that flight bookings for passengers changing planes in Istanbul are currently 21% ahead of where they were at this time last year whereas the equivalent transit bookings through Dubai and Doha are showing no growth and those through Abu Dhabi are 14% behind. The decline in Abu Dhabi is reflective of Etihad reducing capacity and dropping its partnership strategy. In terms of the relative size of transit business, Istanbul is bigger than Abu Dhabi but a quarter the size of the three major Gulf airports combined.
Istanbul’s growth is partly due to the success of specific routes including New York and Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, San Francisco to Delhi, London to Antalya, Hamburg to Antalya and Frankfurt to Tehran. Looking in more detail at the nationalities of those people in transit, the most significant increases are due to come from the UK, where bookings are 30% ahead of the equivalent point in 2017, the USA 52% ahead, Germany 35% ahead, India 17% ahead, China 5% ahead and Russia 70% ahead.