The governments of Russia and Turkey have reached an agreement to each add a third designated carrier on routes between Moscow and Istanbul Atatürk. The agreement – announced by Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) – allows for the added airlines to operate up to 7x weekly flights.

Turkey's Directorate General of Civil Aviation advised that it has added AtlasGlobal (KK, Istanbul Atatürk) as its third carrier, joining Pegasus Airlines (PC, Istanbul Sabiha Gökcen) and Turkish Airlines (TK, Istanbul Atatürk). On Russia's part, Aeroflot (SU, Moscow Sheremetyevo) and Pobeda (DP, Moscow Vnukovo) are currently authorised, but Pobeda has not commenced Istanbul flights. A third carrier has not yet been named.

Currently, almost 9000 weekly seats are offered between the two capitals. Turkish Airlines offers 59.5% of capacity with 5,338 seats, followed by Aeroflot with 2,316 seats (25.8%) and Pegasus with 1,314 seats (14.7%).

Turkey had long been a favoured destination for Russian tourists, but suffered when Russia banned charter flights to the country after one of its fighter jets was shot down by the Turkish military in 2015. After relations between the two countries improved, sanctions were lifted earlier this year, marking a significant improvement in Turkey's tourism sector.