Turkish Airlines Eyes 6 New Routes from USA to Istanbul with Connection to India

Network expansion in a particular geography or across the world is a key growth driver for airlines in the post-pandemic landscape of competition. Recently, Japan Airlines teamed with IndiGo to provide seamless domestic connection to 14 cities in India from two gateway airports: New Delhi IGI and Kempegowda Bengaluru. June 2024 saw Lufthansa operate inaugural flights to Minneapolis in the Midwest and Raleigh in North Carolina, following the launch of flights to Hyderabad early this year. Etihad connected Boston to India in March 2024.

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Turkish Airlines is on an expansion spree. After having touched down at Detroit and Denver within a period of 6 months, Turkish Airlines is eyeing six new destinations in the United States. These are Philadelphia, Charlotte, Orlando, Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Raleigh/Las Vegas. “Our number of destinations will go up to 20 in the US,” said the airline’s chairman Ahmet Bolat sanguinely in a recent interview. Currently, Turkish Airlines’ list of US destinations includes New York, Newark, Washington DC, Boston and Atlanta in the East coast; Chicago and Detroit in the Midwest; Dallas and Houston in the south coast; San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle in the west coast.

Charlotte, Philadelphia, Orlando, Minneapolis and Phoenix are less competitive markets in international aviation. Turkish Airlines would be the first Middle East carrier to operate to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Lufthansa is the only European airline to serve Charlotte after British Airways terminated its service to the city in North Carolina. Currently, there are hardly any one-stop flights between Charlotte and India. American Airlines and United Airlines operate two-stop itineraries from Charlotte to India in codeshare with their respective partners – Qatar Airways and Emirates.

Philadelphia has more or less the same market share as Charlotte. It ceased to be a destination for Qatar Airways, Air Canada, and Air France. Again, Turkish Airlines would be the only Middle East carrier to have Philadelphia in its US-India network via Istanbul. However, Lufthansa and British Airways operating one-stop flights between Philadelphia and India, may give competition to Turkish Airways. Besides, American Airlines and Qatar Airways code-sharing on Philadelphia to India flights via Doha will be another competition to the flag carrier of Türkiye.

“The only advantage that Turkish Airlines could have, is over Lufthansa’s one-check-in baggage policy for cheap economy flights to India and USA. But Turkish Airlines would lose out premium economy business to Lufthansa and British Airways, which are among the best airlines offering premium economy travel to India and USA,” said Sourav Agarwal, the Editor of Travel Beats, the one-stop travel news and community portal.

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Turkish Airlines’ US network expansion plans include having a total of 20 or more destinations in America. Phoenix, Arizona may fuel the airline’s US network growth. Since Turkish Airlines has most of American Airlines’ hubs in its network, Phoenix Sky Harbor Int. Airport may get Turkish flights to and from Istanbul with one-stop connection to India in the future. If it happens, TK would be the first Middle East airline to compete with Air France and British Airways in Phoenix, Arizona. Like Charlotte and Philadelphia, Phoenix has two-stop flights to India, which are mostly operated by United Airlines and American Airlines with help of their codeshare partners.

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