Addressing Turkish Airlines's (THY) overseas representatives at the Presidential Complex yesterday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan elaborately explained the development of Turkey's national flag carrier over the last 15 years. The president underscored the aim to make THY the airliner with the largest aircraft fleet in the world particularly, with the operation of Istanbul New Airport, also known as the Third Airport.
In his speech, the president said that THY aims to serve a total of 74 million passengers in 2017 while 33 million of them were domestic passengers and 41 million were international passengers. Moreover, Turkish Cargo has a target of carrying 1.3 million tons of freight in total and securing a revenue of $11.8 billion.
On another note, the president highlighted a parallel line between Turkey's development and growth history and that of the national flag carrier. Starting its operations with just five planes in its fleet in 1933, THY raised the number to 27 in 1982 and 66 in 2002 with 103 destinations.
President Erdoğan stressed that the company has seen the fastest enlargement and development over the last 15 years and currently has 331 aircraft, setting higher goals in its journey and fascinating many global players in the sector.
Currently, THY flies to 300 airports in 120 countries across the world and has the title of "airline that flies to the most countries in the world." Erdoğan stated that the company made an investment of $12 billion in 196 aircraft during the period of 2005 to 2015. The company continued to enlarge its fleet with a $3 billion investment in 2016, as well, Erdoğan noted.
Referring to his recent visit to France, Erdoğan said that an initial agreement for the purchase of 25 twin-engine, long-range Airbus A350-900 planes from French airplane manufacturer Airbus was signed. The agreement with the Airbus aims, Erdoğan underlined, to expand THY's fleet in a balanced manner, without too much dependence on a single supplier.
Airbus has 900 and 1000 model A350 aircraft that use Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines. The only difference between the two planes is capacity, as the 900 series can carry 300 passengers while the 1000 series can carry 340. The A350's 900 and 1000 models received 858 orders from 45 airlines and leasing companies with 133 of them delivered to 17 airlines. The aircraft flew around 490,000 hours to more than 150 points. They have also carried around 19 million passengers to date.
Emphasizing that THY was competing with the world's biggest airline companies and that some of them abandoned the race because they lagged behind in the competition, President Erdoğan said: "With the new airport in Istanbul, THY's competitiveness, its management mindset and quality services will increase even more."
Erdoğan also indicated that he believed the company would reach its 2023 goals.
"I would especially like to make a suggestion to the company's management to roll up their sleeves for the vision of 2053 because there were no airline investments, financing, fleet and technical infrastructure before, but we have them now, and it also requires work according to long-term plans in terms of human resources. If we do not act today, we cannot properly benefit from the 2053 goals," said the president.
The president emphasized that their first aim with the Istanbul New airport is to make THY the airline company with the largest aircraft fleet in the world, adding that they should be able to reach the farthermost destinations.
Bilal Ekşi said on his Twitter account yesterday that the company currently has a total of 331 aircraft in its fleet, 18 of which are cargo aircraft.