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.
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.