Istanbul needs third airport to continue strong growth

From left to right: TNT cargo charter sales coordinator, Sandrine Raets, TNT manager air cargo sales Europe, Michael McEvoy, TNT commercial director, Todd Hildreth, TNT external communication officer, Caroline Tellier

Turkey is a strategically important market to connect with the Eurasian region, but capacity will remain a problem until Istanbul’s third airport is built, TNT Airways commercial director, Todd Hildreth.

Speaking to Air Cargo Week (ACW) at the Logitrans Istanbul trade show on 20 November, Hildreth says Istanbul’s location connecting Europe and Asia offers huge opportunities for business. The Turkish air cargo market has seen very strong growth but is suffering a bottleneck as Ataturk International Airport is full and Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is nearing capacity.

Hildreth tells ACW: “The challenge over the next couple of years before the next airport is dealing with restricted capacity for growth in the region … There is no more capacity for growth, there is a bottleneck right now.”

TNT flies from its European express centre at Liege Airport in Belgium to Sabiha Gokcen using a Boeing 737. Hildreth says: “Right now we have regular flights to Sabiha Gokcen connected with Liege with daily flights. In addition we have a network with Turkish Airlines using their flights to Eastern Europe and CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States].”

Hildreth was representing TNT on a stand with Liege Airport and Liege Port Authority at Logitrans Istanbul at the Istanbul World Trade Center, located next to Ataturk International Airport. He praised the show for how it had matured over the years and was a useful way of meeting local companies who may not attend larger shows such as Air Cargo Europe or Air Cargo China. He says TNT and Liege had a successful show conducting business meeting and networking with people from Eastern Europe and the CIS.

“Logitrans gives a unique opportunity in enabling us to interact in depth with players from the region … Here we can meet with regional representatives and management from regional players missing from other events.”

He tells ACW: “The entire team have been here since the beginning. I have seen the event in the years past, I am very impressed how it has matured and grown up. A few years ago participation was low and it didn’t have the depth but now this event starts to rival other regional events in the industry.”

He says Logitrans provides good exposure to regional companies including carriers, freight forwarders, airlines and charter brokers. “We have had good contact with other carriers, some existing partners such as Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. In addition to that we had good contact with supporting forwarders including Kuehne + Nagel and Gebruder Weiss, and charter broker, Proair.”