Turkish low-cost carrier (LCC) Pegasus Airlines dropped into the red in 2016, recording a net loss of TL136.2 million ($36.1 million), sharply reversed from a profit of TL111.9 million in 2015. Revenue for the year rose 6% year-over-year (YOY) to TL3.7 billion.

The loss had been expected, but in September 2016, CEO Mehmet Nane told ATW  he anticipated the airline would bounce back in 2017. Although the situation was already improving by that point, he said the recovery would not be sufficient to offset a poor first half of the year.

Turkey’s airlines have been badly hit by a combination of external factors, including a series of terrorist incidents that have scared away many western European tourists.

Passengers carried in 2016 increased 8.1% YOY to 24.1 million, up from 22.3 million in 2015.  The increase was largely attributable to a 10.7% rise in domestic passengers on Pegasus’ extensive internal route network.

Load factor for the year dipped slightly to 78.6%, down from 79% in 2015, as capacity, measured in ASKs, rose 9.1%.

Aircraft daily utilization also slipped in 2016, to 12 hours from 12.5 hours in 2015.

To help mitigate the effect of future external problems, the carrier formed a committee on the early detection of risk to advise the main board of directors on problems that may affect the airline.

The current 82-strong fleet is still largely composed of Boeing 737-800s, with 60 of Dec. 31, 2016, but increasing numbers of Airbus A320s are starting to make their presence felt, with 18 on strength at that date.

Alan Dron alandron@adepteditorial.com