Turkish Airlines (THY) are setting out high ambitions this year, recently outlining plans to extend the number of routes flying in to Istanbul and to reach its target of 190 aircraft by the end of this year – double the number of carriers it had in 2006.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Chief Executive, Temel Kotil said: `Very soon we will become the largest network in the world. The purpose is very clear: like the Silk Road, we are linking everywhere to Istanbul.`
Kotil revealed in Jan-April alone, the carrier`s business class and international transit passengers rose by 51 per cent and 41 per cent respectively, compared to last year.
The expansion is in keeping with Turkey`s rising star economic status, despite the financial crisis in Europe, and the growing interest it is receiving from the Middle East, Central Asia, the Balkans and Africa on the back of measures taken by the government to entice foreign direct investment into the country.
The airline already flies to more destinations from a single airport than any other carrier in Europe – 200 destinations worldwide from its hub at Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul – and has brokered sponsorship deals with Barcelona and Manchester United. It is also now in negotiations about buying a stake in Poland`s national airline, LOT.
Kotil attributes THY`s growth to Istanbul`s `perfect` location – three to four hours to most of Europe, which since THY`s formation in 2003 has enabled it grow from a small 10 million passenger airline to one that now anticipates 38 million for 2012, with an estimated revenue of USD 7.8 billion.
Source: Invest in Turkey