Throughout 2018, which was a year of many records for us, we continued to unite you with your loved ones with safe and comfortable flights. We greeted Istanbul Airport, our excitedly awaited new home. We connected the world through Istanbul. We're happy to welcome you.
Welcome on Board!
2018 has been a year of innovation for Turkey and Turkish Airlines. We raise our goals even higher in our new home at Istanbul Airport. We welcome you with Anatolian hospitality and continue to ceaselessly create added value for our country. We don’t just carry passengers and cargo; we unite our guests with their loved ones and connect the world through Istanbul. Throughout 2018, we welcomed you with comfort and safety, constantly improving our unique service. You, our esteemed guests, have partaken in our new records by choosing to fly with us. You’ve carried our goals higher. I’d like to offer my heartfelt gratitude to you.
Our New Home: Istanbul Airport
We opened Istanbul Airport, the most important project in recent years to shape the future of both our country and the global aviation industry, with a magnificent ceremony on October 29 on the 95th anniversary of our republic. The airport, whose first phase was completed in a short period of 42 months, will be the world’s biggest airport construction from grounds up once all phases are complete. Istanbul, the center of the world, where East and West have met since the dawn of time, will welcome 200 million passengers per year once this giant investment is complete. Meanwhile, Istanbul Airport hosts over 150 airline companies and will provide access to more than 350 destinations in the world. It will be one of the most vibrant locations of the aviation industry on a global scale.
Our new home, Istanbul Airport, bears even more significance for us as our country’s flag carrier. We continue our stable growth while offering added value for the development of Turkish civil aviation. We will maintain our rise in the last 15 years with new flight destinations, frequency increases, and a series of technological innovations. We welcomed our guests on the flights operated from our new home with a renewed identity. After the great moving operation following the test flights, we will continue to bring what’s far near with extensive operations at our new home. Inspired by Turkish hospitality, we are excited to welcome you at Istanbul Airport’s technologically smart facility.
The World under Our Wings
As the airline that flies to more countries than any other in the world, we started to operate flights to Freetown, Samarkand, Krasnodar, Aqaba, and Banjul in addition to Moroni in the 2018 summer season. Now, we operate flights to a total of 305 destinations - 49 domestic and 256 international - in 123 countries. By opening the Zambia-Lusaka line this month, we will increase the number of countries we fly to 124. In 2019, we invite you to explore our new destinations such as Bali, Marrakesh, Sharjah, Rovaniemi, Luxor, Newark, Port Sudan, and Mexico with the comfort of Turkish Airlines. We will also continue to increase our direct flights and frequencies from Istanbul and Antalya to more destinations around the world.
We expand our fleet in line with developments in our flight network. In 2018, we ordered a total of 60 aircrafts: 30 Airbus 350-900s and 30 Boeing 787-9. The fleet of Turkish Airlines, which is one of the world’s youngest and most modern, currently consists of 331 aircrafts: 218 narrow-body, 92 wide-body, and 21 cargo aircrafts. By 2023, it will reach 500 cutting-edge, eco-friendly, and new-generation aircrafts. In addition to these developments, we also expand our family with new pilots. By the end of this year, we expect the number of new pilots at Turkish Airlines to reach 1,100. We supported local and national manufacture in terms of the simulators we need for our pilot training. Thanks to our collaboration with HAVELSAN, Turkey became the world's fourth country to manufacture flight simulators.
A321neo Cabin Flex started operating for the first time in the world in Turkish Airlines’ fleet in 2018. Expected to further increase the comfort we offer our guests, A321neo Cabin Flex stands out with its wide backseat screens, customized seats, accessible travel, and eco-friendly characteristics. Also the first narrow-body aircraft with an Internet system in our fleet, A321neo Cabin Flex’s Economy Class seats have all been manufactured with national resources.
2018: A Year of Records
2018 was also a period in which we made future investments to cement our place in the aviation industry by strengthening our current infrastructure. As we continue these operations, we also reached the highest profit rate in our history. According to the traffic results in 2018, the total passenger occupancy rate reached 82% with an increase of 3.2 points in the first nine months of the year. Having carried nearly 57.6 million passengers during this period, Turkish Airlines increased its number of passengers by 11.6%, its capacity (per seat/kilometer) by 6%, demand (per charged passenger/kilometer) by 10.3%. According to the statistics announced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global aviation industry achieved a growth in capacity by 6% and in demand by 6.7% in the first nine months of the year.
As AnadoluJet, we increased the comfort of our guests by offering an extra baggage and sports equipment service via online and mobile channels in 2018. With developments that enable you to pick a seat, we increased your travel satisfaction. We accelerated the process on our website, whose design and functional diversity meets all expectations of modern times and enables you to complete many processes online before or during your flight. We added a family discount and airport transfer to our online channels. Just like in 2018, we will continue to offer our guests a unique travel experience.
As AnadoluJet, we aim to complete 2018 with 15.5 million passengers and an occupancy rate of 85% thanks to our guests who explore Anatolia with us. According to last year’s traffic results, our brand broke a new record in its history with an increase of 20.5% in the number of passengers and 2.7 points in occupancy rates. In addition, our capacity increased 14.9% while demand saw an increase of 18.6%. I’d like to thank our esteemed guests for flying with us and all of my colleagues who contributed to this achievement.
The fast-developing Turkish Cargo improved its service to its customers in 123 countries while increasing its share in the air cargo market. Having completed the nine-month period of 2018 with great success, Turkish Cargo carried over 1 million tons (25% increase compared to the same period last year), achieving a cargo revenue of 1.2 billion USD with an increase of 29%. Turkish Cargo continues its efforts to become one of the world’s biggest air cargo carriers.
Flying Higher Together
As the airline that flies to more countries than any other in the world, we regard your satisfaction as our most important achievement. Behind this success lies each member of the Turkish Airlines family. Individual Suggestion System, which has been running for two years, has so far received over 14,000 projects from our employees. Among these, we reward the successful ones. The financial benefit of this platform is expected to exceed 204 million Turkish liras and even more as the process continues and projects are finalized. We honored our colleagues who added value to Turkish Airlines with a sense of responsibility with the +1 Awards. We heard many inspiring stories. I'd like to thank my colleagues who work diligently to take Turkish Airlines to greater heights.
Throughout 2018, during which we witnessed important developments in our industry, we also continued to support sports and culture on a global scale. This year, we watched Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four, held in Istanbul in 2017, in Belgrade. We witnessed Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup, held in 100 destinations in 60 countries, welcome its finalists in Antalya while the tournament’s winners had the chance to play with the masters of golf at Antalya Turkish Airlines Open. We also supported many other events including a rugby final in Bilbao, contests at CHIO Aachen, cricket games in Ireland, and the final game of the National Football League in the United States.
I’d like to thank you for flying with us and making all these achievements possible. I’d also like to thank my colleagues who are working 365 days a year to offer you a safe and comfortable experience. This is our joint success.
We hope to welcome you with new records in 2019 and wish that the New Year brings our country and the rest of the world health and peace.
Have a pleasant flight!
Deputy Chairman and CEO