Turkey will launch a new airline dedicated to Russian tourists

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The war in Ukraine has turned upside down the plans of millions of tourists. Restrictions imposed on Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine have blocked Russian tourists in various parts of the world. At the same time, Russian citizens have limited opportunities to travel in the summer season 2022.

Turkey is experiencing these effects, and tourism is affected by the lack of tourists from Russia. In this context, Turkey is considering launching an airline to transport tourists from Russia to holiday destinations in Turkey.

Turkey was expecting about 7 million tourists from Russia

Turkey is one of the favorite destinations of Russian tourists. In 2022, the Association of Travel Agencies in Turkey (TURSAB) was expected to reach 7 million passengers in Russia, reaching pre-pandemic levels as international restrictions were gradually lifted. Similarly, about 2 million tourists from Ukraine were expected in Turkey. Visitors from Ukraine and Russia accounted for more than a quarter of all tourists who arrived in Turkey in 2021. 

With the outbreak of war in Ukraine, however, this optimistic forecast had to be revised. International sanctions imposed on Russia have meant the cancellation of thousands of bookings. Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Finance are considering several measures to deal with international sanctions and the collapse of the ruble that has disrupted the holiday plans of many Russian tourists.

An agreement has been reached with Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines to commit 1,5 million and 0,5 million seats to Russian passengers, respectively. In addition, the Turkish authorities are considering the creation of a new charter airline based in Antalya, dedicated to Russian tourism, which could add another 1 million seats.

To support the influx of passengers, state-guaranteed loans worth $ 300 million would be granted to Turkish tour operators based in Russia, such as Anex, Pegasus and Coral. 

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