Turkey’s Pegasus Delays Crimea Route Until May as Crisis Mounts

Turkish discount carrier Pegasus Airlines will delay services from Istanbul to the Crimean city of Simferopol by one month amid mounting tension across Ukraine.

Pegasus had planned to link the cities from April 14 and will now do so starting mid-May, Chief Executive Officer Sertac Haybat today said in an interview. It’s “too early” to know what impact on travel unrest in the region will have, he said.

Ukraine, at loggerheads with Russia after the ousting of Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych, already accounts for about 1.5 percent of Pegasus revenues, Haybat said in London. The carrier serves the cities of Lviv, Kharkov and Donetsk in the east, which, like Crimea, has a large Russian population.

The Istanbul-based company, known as Pegasus Hava Tasimaciligi AS in Turkish, serves 44 cities outside its home nation and will add more destinations after agreeing to buy 75 Airbus Group NV A320neo jets to phase out older Boeing Co. 737s.

Dubai-based Emirates, the world’s biggest airline on international routes, said March 3 that bookings to Kiev “remain solid” with flights continuing as scheduled. The Gulf carrier began serving the Ukrainian capital on Jan. 16.

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