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EASYJET is to end its popular London-Istanbul route at the end of this month after nearly eight years of operation.
The budget airline, which flies to Turkey’s largest city out of Luton Airport, has confirmed it is withdrawing all its flights into Sabiha Gökçen from the end of March.
It also operated services between Turkey and the Swiss city of Basel.
Airlines routinely withdraw routes that are no longer profitable and easyJet’s departure raises questions for the profitability of a new Atlasjet service to Luton starting in May.
FIRST BUDGET AIRLINE
easyJet’s Luton-Sabiha Gökçen route broke new ground in 2006 when it became the first European budget airline to serve Turkey.
The airline’s then chief executive Andy Harrison made several trips to negotiate with Turkish air traffic officials over landing charges.
Its first flight on the London-Istanbul route was on 1 August 2006, breaking what had effectively been a British Airways/Turkish Airlines monopoly.
easyJet confirmed to Londra Gazete that all its routes into Istanbul, including the service from Basel, would end on 28 March.
A spokeswoman said: “easyJet continues to fly to four Turkish destinations (Antalya, Izmir, Dalaman and Bodrum) from two markets with around 500,000 seats available from 1 April 2014.”