Five European and two American flag carriers have recently stopped their Istanbul flights for a number of reasons, including a demand plunge for Turkish routes and a slot shortage in Istanbul’s main airport, Turkish media reported on Dec. 18.
Air France, Iberia, Swiss, Alitalia, Austrian, Air Canada and Delta have halted their Istanbul flights over the last two years, though some have decided to keep flights going through sub-brands.
One of the main reasons for stopping services was a decline in European and American tourists visiting Turkey amid a series of negative developments that hit the tourism sector in 2016, including bomb attacks and a failed coup attempt, according to sector players.
While more than 5.1 million Germans visited Turkey in the first 10 months of 2015, this figure fell to 3.6 million in the same period of 2016, and 3.4 million in the January-October period of this year.
There has also been a notable decrease in arrivals from the U.K., the Netherlands, Austria, France, Italy and Canada in the aforementioned period, official figures have shown.
Iberia said it halted its Istanbul flights because of “a dramatic plunge in demand,” and in May Air Canada cancelled Toronto-Istanbul flights, albeit with plans “to restart them as soon as demand rises again.”
While Turkey saw more than 726,000 arrivals from the U.S., the homeland of Delta, in the first 10 months of 2016, this figure dropped to 304,000 in the same period of 2017, according to the report. Nearly 173,000 tourists came to Turkey from Canada in the first 10 months of 2015, but this figure fell to 69,000 in the same period of 2017.