Analysis by forecast company ForwardKeys has revealed that the major airports in the Gulf – Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi – are all losing market share of transit passengers to Istanbul.
ForwardKeys’ data looking forward at the first quarter of 2018 shows that passengers' connections at Istanbul are currently 21% ahead of where they were at this time last year whereas the equivalent transit bookings through Dubai and Doha are showing no growth and those through Abu Dhabi are 14% behind. The decline in Abu Dhabi is reflective of Etihad reducing capacity. In terms of the relative size of transit business, Istanbul is bigger than Abu Dhabi but a quarter the size of the three major Gulf airports combined.
Istanbul’s growth is partly due to the success of specific routes including New York and Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, San Francisco to Delhi, London to Antalya, Hamburg to Antalya and Frankfurt to Tehran. Looking in more detail at the nationalities of those people in transit, the most significant increases are from the UK, where bookings are 30% ahead of the equivalent point in 2017, USA 52%, Germany 35%, India 17%, China 5% and Russia 70%.
On 29 October, Istanbul’s new airport is due to open officially. It aims to be a global aviation hub, serving 90m passengers in its first phase.