Pegasus Airlines is in talks with several airports in the north of England regarding new flights to Istanbul, Travel Daily has learned.
The carrier’s senior vice president and chief financial officer Serhan Ulga told Travel Daily it is in talks with Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds Bradford over potential services to the Turkish city, with Gatwick also offering potential as a low-cost and business travel hub.
“We hope to increase our passenger numbers by 20% this year and the talks with Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds Bradford could be part of that growth for sure,” he explained. “The UK is one of the best markets for us; the Stansted route was the first in our network to go up to double daily and it is an area that is knowledgeable about the low-cost travel market.”
With 102 aircraft in the pipeline to be delivered in the next eight years Pegasus will be looking for route opportunities across Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, although has ruled out long-haul services.
However a prepared new service to the Ukraine city of Simferopol has been pushed back in 2 May due to the country’s current situation.
“Russia is a huge opportunity for us if the aviation legislation is relaxed, and we will keep a close eye on Hungary and Poland too,” Ulga said. “The mathematics in long-haul does not add up for our model and we will focus on short-haul routes.”
It is Pegasus’ efficient model, and low fares, that has seen the airline post a 41% increase in gross profit to TL450 million (US$204.2m, GBP122m), while its operating EBITDA increased 36% to US$242.3m (GBP144m).
Ulga added cumulatively across the seven years the airline has been in operation its team have saved US$153 million, and claims 72% of its customers have flown with the airline for less than US$45 (GBP27).
The airline carried three million more passengers in 2013 than the previous year making a total of 16.82 million and a load factor of 80.2%.
The airline recently introduced three new packaged fares which are said to be gaining “decent traction” and have secured 45,000 bookings in two months.
It is also looking to implement a new baggage policy that is currently a work in progress.