Turkish tourism groups

OTI and Corendon expand in Germany as Anex scales back

Turkish tourism groups Anex Tour, Corendon and OTI are experiencing diverging fortunes in the highly competitive German holiday market.

September 12, 2017

Anex Tour, which launched on the German market a year ago with an ambitious programme for summer 2017, is scaling back for the forthcoming winter season with fewer long-haul flights following problems with its airline subsidiary Azur Air.

The tour operator launched Azur Air flights from Düsseldorf to the Dominican Republic in July but immediately faced technical problems with its first B767-300 plane that forced it to cancel flights and re-book passengers at very short notice. Since then Anex Tour has offered cheap packages from Düsseldorf, Berlin and Munich to the destination as well as to Cuba with Azur Air’s fleet of three B767s. But Caribbean bookings, especially for Cuba, are below expectations, managing director Hakan Bakar admitted.

As a result, the Turkish-owned company will scale back Azur Air flights this winter. “We want to stabilise the flight schedule,” explained Bakar. Azur Air had planned to fly from Düsseldorf, Munich and Berlin-Schönefeld to the Dominican Republic as well as from Düsseldorf to Cuba and Thailand. But instead it will only operate twice-weekly flights from Düsseldorf to Punta Cana and Varadero with the 332-seat B767, while Bangkok will be offered on scheduled airlines. In addition, Azur will fly to Hurghada and Marsa Alam in Egypt as well as to Gran Canaria.

In contrast, Turkish-owned Corendon Airlines is expanding on the German market with more short-haul flights to Mediterranean destinations. Corendon, which launched four years ago in Germany as a traditional charter airline selling capacity to diverse tour operators, set up a Malta-based subsidiary with EU traffic rights in July to operate flights from Germany to non-Turkish destinations.

“Germany is our second-most important market after the Netherlands,” Corendon Group chairman Yildiray Karaer told fvw. The creation of the EU-registered airline subsidiary means “we can serve alternative European routes from the important core markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland”, he explained.

This subsidiary, Corendon Airlines Europe, already launched flights from four German airports and Linz to Crete during the summer. This winter its B737 will be stationed in Hurghada and serve five German airports, including Dortmund and Berlin-Tegel. However, Antalya remains the group’s main winter destination with flights from 10 German airports.

In contrast to the Netherlands, where it is the third-largest tour operator, Corendon has no current plans to set up a tour operator in Germany, Karaer underlined. However, the airline will start to sell seat-only tickets in addition to its core business.

The Corendon group, which includes the airline with 14 B737-800s and six hotels, had annual turnover of about €1 billion and is profitable, according to Karaer, who set up the company 20 years ago.

Meanwhile, the third Turkish group, OTI Holding, is taking a different approach to the German market with the recent acquisition of Ferien Touristik, a mid-sized tour operator specialising in dynamic packages with some 140,000 customers and turnover of €65 million in 2016.

OTI chairman Ayhan Bektas told fvw that the group, which is advised by ex-TUI CEO Michael Frenzel and former Thomas Cook manager Thomas Döring, had “looked at several companies and with Ferien Touristik everything fitted”. He explained: “With the acquisition, we gain an established business with experienced staff, connections to reservation systems and relationships to hoteliers and travel agents.”

Bektas said the future strategy for Ferien Touristik would be established this autumn but emphasised that the tour operator would not act “aggressively with dumping prices”. He added that the OTI group does not plan to bring its airline subsidiary Royal Flight to Germany, commenting that “there is enough flight capacity in Germany”.

Founded 25 years ago, OTI Holding operates a large incoming business in Turkey, with hotels, incoming agency Odeon and an airline. Under the Coral Travel brand, it is one of the largest tour operators in Russia and is also active in other outbound markets, including Poland and Ukraine. The group has annual turnover of about €1.3 billion.

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