Turkish Airlines is stepping up its capacity between Istanbul and Abu Dhabi after a spike in demand.
It launched daily flights between the two cities after demand jumped by 17 per cent in the first half of this year.
The upwards trend is set to continue, as Emirates also has announced daily flights to Istanbul’s second airport, Sabiha Gökçen, increasing the capacity between the city and Dubai by 35 per cent.
Emirates also operates 11 weekly flights to Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
Previously, Turkish Airlines flew four times per week between the two destinations.
However, during the first half of this year, about 1.98 million business and leisure travellers flew on the route, reflecting a 17 per cent increase year on year, said Hasan Demir, Turkish Airlines’ general manager in Abu Dhabi.
“We are expecting demand to increase on the Abu Dhabi-Istanbul route. This is why we have increased the number of flights,” he said.
Rising bilateral trade and investment is driving the growth.
Turkish Airlines flies to 14 destinations in Germany, 44 points in Africa, and eight cities in the United States – as it goes head-to-head with the big three regional carriers on key emerging routes.
Turkish Airlines operates 298 aircraft covering 111 countries and 280 destinations.
The carrier is increasingly coming into competition with regional carriers including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.
Just as Arabian Gulf airlines need bigger airports to accommodate their rapid growth, Turkish Airlines too is outgrowing its Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
The city’s Istanbul New Airport is set to open its first phase in 2017.
With US$35 billion of investments, it will have six runways, 500 aircraft parking spots and the capacity to accommodate 150 million passengers per year.
“We will grow the number of destinations, frequencies and planes with the new airport in 2017,” said Mr Demir.
“In 2016, we will grow but in a more cautious matter,” he added.