The Chairman of Turkey’s flag carrier confirmed that this year Turkish Airlines are updating and expanding their fleet, plus opening new routes. Ayci went on to say: “We have completed all the necessary procedures to launch flights to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Tokyo’s Haneda airport, Newark, New Jersey, and Vancouver, Canada in 2019.” All they are waiting for is the permits.
In 2019, Turkish Airlines finished the year having launched ten new international routes and had a flight network that was made up of flights to 126 countries, which included 3,318 cities.
Referring to the biggest move from Ataturk Airport to the enormous new Istanbul Airport last year, Ayci said: “Turkish Airlines has to have a strong infrastructure, one supporting its growth, in order to achieve its goals without interruption.”
The “World’s New Hub” aka Istanbul Airport opened its doors on 29th October 2018 to coincide with the 95th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. The new airport is capable of welcoming 200 million passengers annually. With six runways and four phases due to be completed for 2028, the airport at Istanbul is expected to become a major player in the global aviation sector and able to offer over 100 airlines that will fly to over 300 destinations worldwide.
Ayci went on to underline the fact that soon after the move to the new airport Turkish Airlines were operating to their maximum capacity, explaining: “Our new home knocked both ourselves and our customers out of the usual routine, but here we learned to walk again, putting aside all our old assumptions.”
Turkish Airlines needed more flight slots and capacity, but this was something that Ataturk Airport was unable to support because of insufficient runways and other constraints. However, thanks to the new Istanbul Airport there are no such restrictions. Ayci said: “The third runway to open at Istanbul Airport in 2020 will ease the traffic density.” Ayci continued by saying that once the third runway is operational, it will mean that planes can land while others take off every 43 seconds, equating to 2,000 planes a day.
Expansion of Turkish Airlines
The expansion of Turkish Airlines continues with new airplanes replacing older ones. At the end of last year, the airline had 351 planes, 229 are narrow bodied, 98 wide bodied, and 24 cargo planes.
Ayci said: “With our current fleet size, we ranked 10th among the passenger airlines globally. Among the top 10 we have the fourth youngest fleet.” Turkish Airlines are intending to add a further 28 planes to their fleet this year, and the company has confirmed that they would be happy to look at rental options if they are available.
In the first eleven months of 2019 Turkish Airlines reported a capacity rise of 2.7% even though their Boeing 737 Max was grounded, and the delivery of the A321 Neo aircraft delayed.
From January to November last year, Turkish Airlines carried 68.8 million passengers. Ayci commented: “Despite an 11.5% contraction in the domestic market in Turkey, we welcomed 28.3 million passengers taking domestic flights, boosting our market share by 2.5 points. The number of passengers carried on international flights rose by 3.5% to 40.4 million.”
Currently Turkish Airlines has 15 joint ventures and subsidiaries including Turkish Ground Services, Turkish Cargo, Turkish Opet Aviation Fuels, Sun Express, and Turkish Technic. This is proof that despite the global air cargo decreasing Turkish Airlines has still seen positive growth. Ayci said: “Despite these unfavourable market conditions and having to carry out our cargo operations at two different airports, we posted an increase of 9.5% in cargo volume to 1.4 million tonnes.”
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