Pegasus Airlines (PC, Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen) is planning to place a new aircraft order, likely for A321-200NX, once its current order book is fulfilled in 2026. Speaking during a press conference at the IATA AGM in Istanbul, the carrier also strongly appealed for more liberalised bilateral air services agreements with Türkiye.

"We are still taking deliveries out of the 114 aircraft order, it goes until 2026. We will be receiving another 42 aircraft. But beyond that, of course, when we see that there is infrastructure, there is demand, we see the performance post-COVID, of course, we will be working on a new order. We don't have the numbers yet," Chief Executive Güliz Öztürk said.

In a statement to Reuters, she subsequently clarified that the order would most likely exclusively comprise the A321neo.

"We were one of the first airlines to receive the A321neo. We received our first A321neo in September 2019. At this moment, we have thirty-one A321neo in our fleet, and that gives us a very big advantage from the cost point of view, we have more seats to push at lower costs to our passengers," Chief Commercial Officer Onur Dedeköylü added.

The ch-aviation fleets module shows that the Turkish low-cost carrier currently operates thirty-one A321-200NX, forty-six A320-200Ns, six A320-200, and fifteen B737-800s. The A320ceo and B737s will be retired as the airline takes its remaining forty-two A321neo.

Öztürk said the LCC has no interest in the A321-200NX(LR) or A321-200NY(XLR) due to Türkiye's central location, which allows it to serve most markets with standard-range aircraft.

"Our range is six hours. So we have no plans to add long-range narrowbodies. We have about twenty more countries within the A321neo range and 500 destinations in total, we fly to over 90 of them. So we still have plenty of opportunities," she outlined. "Strategically, the Middle East, North Africa, and CIS countries [are targets]. We want to fly to all the capital cities of Europe, we want to increase frequencies mainly in Europe: to Germany, the UK, Italy, France, and Spain."

However, she underlined that Pegasus's growth potential requires more a liberal aviation policy - specifically, more liberalised bilateral air services agreements. Türkiye remains a fairly restrictive country with many routes only available to designated carriers - frequently, flag carriers with legacy rights.

"Effective allocation of rights is very critical. And if there is strong protection of airlines, that is not fair competition in terms of laws and regulations," Öztürk emphasised.

Dedeköylü added that Pegasus Airlines "advocates that every single designation agreement must be revised" to allow for real competition between airlines and thus benefit passengers and the Turkish economy at large.

Answering ch-aviation's query during the conference, Dedeköylü stressed that Pegasus Airlines would remain focused on Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen as its main hub, especially as the second runway is due to open shortly, thereby adding more capacity to the constrained airport. The LCC has nearly doubled its capacity at Antalya compared to 2019, while its Sabiha Gökcen base grew much slower but remains nearly four times larger in terms of scheduled capacity. Dedeköylü said the rapid growth at Antalya was not just the result of capacity limitations at Sabiha Gökcen.

"We believe in the potential of Antalya, and we did not grow our capacity in Antalya only because we cannot grow at Sabiha Gökcen. We believe Antalya has potential independent of the second runway opening at Sabiha Gökcen," he said.

Öztürk said Pegasus will continue its multi-base strategy, especially targeting the leisure market.