Turkey will create a new charter airline with a $300 million backing from the Turkish government specifically aimed offering flights between Russia and Turkey. Furthermore, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus plan to offer millions of more seats between Russia and Turkey in an effort to entice Russian tourists to return to Turkey.
More Flights On Turkish Airlines To Russia, Plus A Brand New Airline Backed By Turkish Government
While other carriers have eliminated service to the Russian Federation after the Ukraine invasion, Turkish Airlines has maintained limited service, with Turkey styling itself as a neutral arbiter in the conflict. Prior to the war in Ukraine, more Russians visited Turkey than any other single foreign group. There’s big money in Russian tourism in Turkey.
In 2021, nearly 4.7 million Russian tourists voted the country, even in the midst of the global pandemic. That number was expected to rise to over 7 million in 2022. But embargoes on Russian countries as a result of the war have made it difficult for any Russian company to operate flights to Turkey.
The creation of more air links between the two nations, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, will seek to add 3 million seats between Russia and Turkey this year. That includes Pegasus Airlines, the second largest carrier in Turkey, which will add 500,000 seats alone, and Turkish Airlines, which will add 1.5 million seats. 1 million seats will be on a brand new carrier based in Antalya, whose name has not been announced.
Furthermore, Turkey’s Credit Guarantee Fund (KGF) will offer loans to Turkish tour companies operating in Russia in order to entice them to bring tourists to Turkey.
That said, with the rapid depreciation of the Russian Rouble since the war in Ukraine started, it isn’t clear how much money average Russians will have to travel abroad.
Turkey, though a member of NATO, is balancing its interests as a western ally and its financial interests in serving a large chunk of visitors deemed as critical to its economy. With government support, a new airline will be created catering exclusively to Russia travel. Furthermore, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus will add seats, hoping to establish new links to re-invest in the flailing Russian travel market.
What are your thoughts on the actions of the Turkish government to promote tourism from Russia?