British Airways Starts Flying to Sabiha Gökçen

British Airways Starts Flying to Sabiha Gökçen

DALLAS — The UK’s national carrier, British Airways (BA) has begun flying nonstop from London-Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Istanbul’s secondary airport, Sabiha Gökçen (SAW), which is the central hub for low-cost airline Pegasus Airlines (PC).

This new service will complement the current connection already established by BA to the larger Istanbul New Airport (IST), with three daily flights, and offering up to 4.200 weekly seats between LHR and IST.

Elisabeth Ruff, British Airways’ Head of Corporate Sales, said: “As we continue our investment program into new products, services, and technology, we’re excited to open up even greater connectivity between two of the world’s leading cities, Istanbul and London.”

Like IST, flights from Heathrow to SAW will also be operated by Airbus A320 family jets, the backbone of the airline’s narrow-body fleet, with 145 aircraft distributed along the three variants. The most common Airbus A320-200 can carry 180 passengers in a hybrid Business-Economy configuration.

British Airways opted for an all-female flight crew to celebrate the airport’s namesake, the world’s first female fighter pilot, Ms. Sabiha Gökçen herself, with Captain Jessica Telford and First Officer Kerry Bennett operating the inaugural flight.

Heathrow Airport frequently sees the arrival of the “Manchester City” special livery, painted on an Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9. Photo: Ervin Eslami/Airways.

Istanbul, the 2023 Soccer Capital

One of the reasons British Airways may have opted for the launch of this second service to the Turkish capital is the upcoming celebration of the UEFA Champions League final, one of the most prestigious and famous soccer events worldwide, which will occur in Istanbul on June 10, 2023.

The final match, which will be disputed between English club Manchester City F.C. and Italian F.C. Inter Milan, has generated a massive wave of demand for flights coming not only from the hometowns of the teams but from both whole countries.

Only on the day of this event, airlines such as Turkish Airlines (TK), Pegasus (PC), British Airways (BA), or Wizz Air UK (W9), will be operating 23 total scheduled regular flights from all the United Kingdom to both Istanbul’s airports. However, added to regular services, it is expected to see also the triple or quadruple amount of charter flights for fans to supply the demand.

Stay tuned, as we will soon be posting a special story reviewing and compilating all the amazing air logistic processes involved in the UEFA Champions League Final of 2023, for transporting the hundreds of thousands of fans from Italy and the UK to Istanbul.

Featured image: British Airways arrival at Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW). Photo: British Airways

Deputy Reporter - Europe & Middle East
Commercial aviation enthusiast from Madrid, Spain. Studying for a degree in Air Traffic Management and Operations at the Technical University of Madrid. Aviation photographer since 2018.

You cannot copy content of this page