Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Turkish Airlines to Launch Rebranded Leisure Carrier AJet in March

3 months ago

Turkish Airlines is moving forward with plans to spin off its leisure brand Anadolujet next year as its own airline, AJet.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Turkish Airlines, AJet will launch as an independent airline with its own operating certificate at the end of March. Anadolujet, while its own brand, has operated as part of Turkish Airlines since its launch in 2008. The new AJet will maintain bases at the Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen and Ankara airports.

“We fully believe that AJet, with its new name, will become an important part of the low-cost aviation industry on global scale,” Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat said.

AJet Airbus A321
The new AJet livery on an Airbus A321neo. (Turkish Airlines)

Turkish has big plans for AJet. Earlier this year, it unveiled a 10-year business plan that calls for significant capacity growth at the discounter and a fleet of roughly 200 narrowbody aircraft — either Airbus A320neo-family jets or Boeing 737 Maxes — by 2033. To put that in context, Anadolujet operated just 87 planes at the end of September. Future AJet destinations include Cairo, Casablanca, Madrid, Muscat, and Shymkent, Kazakhstan.

“The low-cost arm of Turkish Airlines will have quite a growth story to tell potential investors; a growth story impressive even by the superlative standards of its globetrotting parent,” Airline Weekly analyst Jay Shabat wrote earlier this year on the plans for Anadolujet.

AJet, despite having the backing of major global carrier Turkish Airlines, still faces a competitive market. Pegasus Airlines is Turkey’s leading budget airline, as well as the largest at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen airport, and Lufthansa-Turkish Airlines joint venture SunExpress caters to holiday travelers to Turkey’s beach markets.

And Turkey’s major airports, including main gateway IGA Istanbul Airport, are actively courting budget airlines for new flights.


Uber Unveils Plans for Hot Air Balloon Rides in Turkey in Tourism Push

4 months ago

Uber will enable users to book hot air balloon rides in popular Turkish tourist destination Cappadocia as part of its strategy to make further inroads in the tourism industry.

The company said app users can pay $159 (150 euros) to reserve one of 20 places on an one-and-a half hour sunrise flight over Cappadocia, a region renowned for its cave cities. Cappadocia attracted roughly 10% of Turkey’s 44.6 million foreign visitors in 2022, according to the country’s tourism and culture ministry.

Uber’s move to offer hot balloon riders is its latest offering outside of ride sharing. The apps allows users to book boat rides along the Thames River in London as well as tuk-tuks in Sri Lanka and India. Uber also enables UK users to book flights, trains and hotels on its app.

Turkey has also emerged as one of Uber’s fastest-growing markets as the company said rides in the country have increased over 50% from last year.

Uber is planning to offer hot air balloon rides in Turkey as part of its strategy to further move into tourism (Wikimedia Commons: Ratta Pak}.

Tags: turkey, uber


Americans Traveling to Turkey Are at All-Time Highs

1 year ago

No, you weren’t just imagining your social media timelines full of all your friends posting from Istanbul and Turkey this summer. It happened to be true.

According to latest data from European Travel Commission, visitor arrivals from U.S. to Turkey for the first nine months of this year have been up 61.1 percent from equivalent 2019 numbers. It looks likely that 2022 will represent a new peak year, the latest quarterly report from ETC says.

Another hot and trendy destination for U.S. travelers was Portugal, which was also evident from the high flight and hotel/short term rental prices in Lisbon and other tourist hotspots in the country. The U.S. arrivals to Portugal are up 17.4% above the same period of 2019.

As the report says, some had feared that the war in Ukraine would deter U.S. travel to Europe owing to safety concerns for the wider European region. There is little evidence to support this notion given the range of destinations already reporting recovery, including Poland (+5.5%) and Lithuania (+6.6%).

The data also shows similar large rise of arrivals from UK to Turkey, up 27 percent year to date compared to 2019.

Tags: turkey, uk, usa


One-Way Flight Bookings From Russia Up 27 Percent

1 year ago

Booking of one-way airline tickets from Russia soared 27 percent during the week of September 21 when President Vladimir Putin announced partial mobilisation of its citizens, travel analytics firm ForwardKeys noted on Tuesday.

Amid growing concerns about travel restrictions, tens of thousands of military-age men have reportedly been fleeing the country after Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilisation since World War II. As part of the mobilisation, 300,000 Russians would be called up to serve.

The share of one-way tickets jumped from 47 percent the week before to 73 percent during the week of September 21-27, according to data from ForwardKeys.

On a week-on-week basis, one-way tickets from Russia witnessed a triple-digit increase for the week ending September 27 to Georgia’s Tbilisi, Kazakhstan’s Almaty and Astana, Ajzerbaijan’s Baku, Serbia’s Belgrade, Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Dubai.  

The top three destinations cities for which Russians booked one-way tickets were Tblisi, which witnessed a 654 percent increase over the week before September 21-26, Almaty witnessed a 435 percent increase and the tickets to Belgrade increased over 206 percent.

Russians are allowed to travel to some of their former-Soviet neighbours like Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan on internal passports and do not require a visa for entry.

Noting the shortening of the booking window from 34 to 22 days, ForwardKeys stated that 60 percent of tickets issued had the travel date within 15 days of purchase, while for tickets purchased the previous week, that share was 45 percent.

“These numbers are quite remarkable and correlate with reports at the time of a sudden increase in ticket sales,” said Olivier Ponti, vice president of insights for ForwardKeys.

One way-fares from Russia to Turkey had shot up to almost $1,150, compared with a little over $375 a week ago, according to Google Flights data.


Turkey’s Tourism Sector Is Forecast to Grow Twice as Much as Economy Over Decade

2 years ago

Turkey’s travel and tourism is predicted to grow at an average rate of 5.5 percent annually between over the next decade, more than twice the 2.5 percent growth rate of the country’s overall economy, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC)
latest Economic Impact Report (EIR).

Tourism in Turkey is set to return to near pre-pandemic levels this year, according to Reuters.

A leading Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on the WTTC’s forecast. It noted that the travel data intelligence firm ForwardKeys showed that, this summer, Turkey is set to be the fourth most popular hotspot for Western European travelers, on average.

Read the WTTC data