PUTRAJAYA: The Istanbul Sabiha Gokchen International Airport (ISG), operated and owned by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), is wooing national carrier, Malaysian Airlines Bhd, in the hope of receiving flights from Malaysia into the Turkish airport.
ISG Executive Director Datuk Azmi Murad said the airport had been in constant talks with Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia to consider the ISG for its Istanbul route.
"They are studying. They may have their own considerations (about flying to ISG) and priority," he said in Istanbul recently.
ISG, is one of two international airports in Istanbul. The other airport in the Turkish capital is the Istanbul Ataturk Airport. The third airport, Istanbul Grand Airport, is currently under construction. ISG currently serves over 50 international airlines. It serves about 40 domestic networks.
The major carriers in ISG now include Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines.
ISG has the capacity to handle 33 million passengers, annually.
Expressing optimism to see a Malaysia carrier flying into ISG, Azmi said : "I will continue to talk to them (Malaysia carrier) and pursue them." Azmi said ISG has been pursuing to bring in more international airlines to the airport.
ISG Chief Executive Officer Ersel Goral reported that Dubai-based Emirates would launch its flight to ISG in April 2018. Emirates will have daily flights out of Dubai, operating on Boeing 777.
He also said there were on-going talks by ISG with several airlines from Europe and Middle East.
Azmi, who is currently residing in Istanbul, said there were also plans to for Malaysian-made products to have a presence at ISG.
"It will be such a shame if we don't promote Malaysia-made products, using this asset (ISG) belonging to Malaysia," he said.
A Malaysian-based franchise group, including fast-food chain Marrybrown, recently visited ISG to explore partnership opportunities with Turkish players.
A group of Malaysian-based companies, under the umbrella of the Malaysian Islamic Chamber of Commerce, also visited ISG with the intention of promoting beauty and healthcare products at the airport.
Azmi said ISG could also install a dedicated Malaysian product kiosk to promote tourism products among travellers with the aim of luring more tourists to Malaysia.
He was also toying with the idea of bringing in Malaysian-made frozen ‘roti canai' and curry puffs to Turkey.
"People might say Turkish people may not like our food, but it's a matter of exposing them to our menu. Once they develop a taste for them, they will accept it," he said. - Bernama