TAV Airports, the leading Turkish brand in global airport operations has signed an agreement with Limak Group for the acquisition of its 40% share in Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Upon closing of this transaction after having obtained the necessary approvals, TAV and Malaysia Airports will become partners and will have equal rights in the management of Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
TAV Airports CEO & President Sani Şener stated “becoming a partner at Sabiha Gökçen Airport is a bold strategic move for TAV, as Atatürk Airport is planned to be closed when the new airport will be put into service in Istanbul. It is the responsibility of TAV senior management to anticipate the termination of our Atatürk Airport operation by finding the opportunity to extend our footprint in Istanbul and to benefit fully from Istanbul’s traffic growth potential until at least 2030. Throughout the years, we have built a network of airports that are operated by TAV with a collaborative approach in Skopje, Ohrid, Tbilisi, Batumi, Riga, Enfidha, Monastir, Ankara, Izmir, Bodrum, and Gazipaşa. Especially, we have created a very strong synergy between Istanbul and Medinah. All these airport operations benefit from the scale and scope of the operations, services and know-hows of our main hub in Istanbul. It is the reason why having a presence at Sabiha Gökçen, which will become the second airport of Istanbul when the new airport opens, had become a must.
With that context in mind, we have started negotiations with Limak, and reached an agreement. One of the major principles in business life is to take advantage of the context to put your company in a position to reach its long-term targets. There were rational reasons for both parties to meet on a common ground and reach an agreement: Limak has become a member of the consortium that won the new airport tender and aspires to focus on that project and TAV was willing to extend its foothold in Istanbul beyond 2021 as I mentioned before. If Malaysia Airports doesn’t use its right of first refusal, we would begin making contributions to the operations at Sabiha Gökçen, after receiving the required approvals.
Having a presence in both Istanbul Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen Airports in the next 5-6 years will help raising productivity and enhancing services to the benefit of our airlines and passengers clients. There is a huge portfolio of airlines including some which could not get slots from Atatürk Airport and do not prefer to use Sabiha Gökçen. We are providing services to the majority of those airlines in our other airports as TAV and our ground handling services company Havaş has also good relationships with those parties. I am convinced we will be able to accommodate a higher number of flights in Istanbul airport system by leveraging this network. We can also offer a comfort zone at those airports for Turkish Airlines and other Turkish airline companies which achieved a massive growth in recent years. I believe there would be good collaborations.
I am really looking forward joining our forces to those of Malaysia Airports, one of the most prominent airport operators in the world, and to contribute with our respective know-hows and assets to further accelerate the development of Sabiha Gökçen. We are convinced there could be further collaborations beyond Sabiha Gökçen with Malaysia Airports on other projects. I think that the intellectual asset and the social capital of these collaborations would be the most precious outcome. Our strategy is built on working for our country’s interests and the satisfaction of our employees, customers and investors.
We are a company specialized in operating airports; we do not undertake any other projects and glad to utilize our capital stock on an airport in our country.”
Sabiha Gökçen Airport was put into service in 2001. After the tender held in 2007, the operations of the airport were undertaken by Limak-GMR-Malaysia Airports consortium for 20 years. This year GMR sold its shares to Malaysia Airports and left the consortium. Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport served to 15.5 million passengers with 32% increase in the first 8 months of this year compared to the same period of last year.
The capacity of the airport is planned to be increased with the construction of a new runway and additional parking places for the aircrafts. Moreover works are underway to connect Kadıköy-Pendik metro line to the airport.