A leading Turkish budget airline is set to alleviate the need for Ercan-bound passengers from London to get off the plane for a fresh security check when it lands in Turkiye.
From 31 October 2022, AnadoluJet will become the first airline to resume touchdown flights. It means passengers on its night flights from London Stansted to Ercan Airport, in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, will be able to remain on the aircraft when it lands at Sabiha Gökçen Airport in Istanbul.
AnadoluJet’s touchdown flights will mean faster and easier journeys for passengers, especially the elderly, those with mobility problems and families with young children, who had struggled with the disembarkation policy introduced by the British Government in 2017 for all airlines flying from Ercan to the UK.
A campaign launched by British Turkish Cypriot activists had seen hundreds of British MPs contacted about the disembarkation rule last year and the difficulties passengers were experiencing. Several MPs publicly backed the Direct Flights to North Cyprus campaign, including Chingford and Woodford Green MP Sir Iain Duncan, Edmonton MP Kate Osamor, and Enfield North MP Feryal Clark.
A spokesperson for travel agent Diplomat Travel told T-VINE: “We welcome this decision by AnadoluJet. Lots of people had wanted a return to touchdown flights. It means passengers don’t have to waste time changing [aircraft in Turkiye], which is especially bad in the big Istanbul Airport, where there is lots of walking.”
“Flight times will be a lot quicker as the airplane will touchdown for about 30 minutes, so passengers will gain about 2 hours on their journeys,” the spokesperson added. The long-established travel agency in Green Lanes, Palmers Green, had broken the good news about AnadoluJet flights to its customers with a mailshot earlier today.
AnadoluJet currently flies twice daily from Stansted Airport to Turkiye. Its touchdown night flights will depart from Stansted at 23.25 UK time and arrive at Ercan at 07:25 local time.
Diplomat Travel said the cost for touchdown flights on AnadoluJet start from £415, whereas Pegasus Airlines flights with disembarkation start from £295.
The higher cost for touchdown flights reflects the current lack of profitability for airlines flying to Ercan, with at least one in five passengers swapping to airlines flying direct to Cyprus via airports in the south of the island since the UK brought its disembarkation rule in.
Due to British aviation and security rules, the disembarkation rule remains in place for all UK bound flights from the TRNC. One of the reasons cited by British officials for the compulsory transit requirement in 2017 was “security concerns” at Ercan Airport. That problem is expected to be removed when the new Ercan Airport terminal opens in November of this year.
AnadoluJet is a subsidiary of Turkish Airlines. The budget airline was established in 2008 “to meet the air transportation needs of Anatolia with much more advantageous options”. It currently has a fleet of 60 aircraft, and a network of 40 destinations and 69 routes on domestic flights.
In June 2020, AnadoluJet started international flights. It now flies to 41 international destinations, making a total 81 destinations and 142 routes.
The airline flies to multiple airports in Turkiye, including Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Ankara Esenboga Airport and also Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman. It is also one of the leading carriers to the TRNC.