As we welcome 2019, I’d like to thank you for flying with Turkish Airlines, which flies to more countries and international destinations than any other airline in the world, and to thank my colleagues who make a continuous effort to present you with our unique brand experience.
In 2018, our country, whose flag we carry with pride, continued to be a global center of attraction with political stability, consistent growth, and economic potential thanks to the genuine expression of the people’s will at the 2018 presidential elections.
Similarly, as the flag carrier airline of one of the world’s most-visited countries and with an ever-expanding flight network, our brand stands out as one of the fastest growing companies in the aviation industry.
In the Sky for 85 Years
Having completed 85 years in the business, we maintain a steady and decisive pace to realize our goals. As one of the oldest brands in the industry, since our foundation we strived to have our dear guests to reach their loved ones while enjoying the exquisite offerings from our nation and culture. As an airline that aims to be the “world’s best,” we give utmost importance to the distinctive quality of service we offer, thanks to which we also received countless awards. However, what Turkish Airlines values more than any award or praise is its place in the hearts of our dear guests. Our principal criteria for success are your unconditional satisfaction and happy memories you have after your journey. We will strive to work harder to maintain our place in your hearts.
We Will Make History at Our New Home
In 2018, we have witnessed striking achievements for our brand and the aviation industry. The most impressive among these achievements is undoubtedly Istanbul Airport, a massive project that was completed in a record-breaking time frame of 42 months and opened by President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on October 29, 2018, the 95th anniversary of our Republic. Thanks to this monumental structure which is a source of great national pride, not only the city of Istanbul, historically bridging continents, is crowned with an exclusive airport, but also our country, strategically positioned at the crossing center of the shift of the global economy from west to east, gained an asset befitting its role. Istanbul Airport, where we redesigned every aspect of our brand experience, will be the world’s biggest airport constructed from the ground up with a capacity for 200 million passengers per year once all building phases are complete.
Designed as a smart structure, our new home features cutting-edge technology to maximize our guests’ experience with Turkish Airlines and to prepare them for their flight. All these opportunities and more, which will help us to augment our renowned and award-winning service quality even further and which will carry Turkish Airlines closer to the peak of global aviation, await you at the Istanbul Airport, with a unique experience.
In the coming years, Istanbul, from where you can reach 66 countries with a five-hour flight, will be a shining star of global aviation and Istanbul Airport, having a unique place among Turkey’s mega projects, will have a significant role in the global aviation industry.
Maintaining a Strong Growth
With sizeable investments in infrastructure, fleet, and employment and with various accomplishments in its different operations, Turkish Airlines finalized a successful year in 2018. In accordance with our 2023 goals which mark the centennial anniversary of our Republic, we moved forward with firm steps and are happy to see the fruits of our labor in our annual financial statements. During the first 11 months of 2018, our number of passengers reached 69.7 million, increasing by 10.3% compared to last year while the load factor broke a new record with 82.1%. In the same period, our brand’s capacity (seat/kilometer) increased by 5.4% and demand (revenue passenger/kilometer) by 9.5%. Again, during the first 11 months of the year, Turkish Cargo, our sub-brand which is among the world’s fastest growing air cargo companies, continued to receive praise from its customers in 124 countries carrying a total of 1.28 million tons cargo/mail with an increase of 25.2% compared to the same period last year. At the end of 2018, as the airline that flies to more countries than any other in the world, we increased the number of countries we serve to 124 and our destinations to 306 (49 domestic and 257 international). This year, we will further expand our flight network with Uşak in Turkey, Bali in Indonesia, Marrakech in Morocco, Sharjah in the U.A.E., Luxor in Egypt, Rovaniemi in Finland, Mexico City and Cancun in Mexico, Newark in the U.S., Palermo in Italy, and Port Sudan in Sudan.
We will improve this successful performance even more with the new wide-body aircraft that will join our fleet this year. Our fleet, which currently numbers 332 aircraft (219 narrow-body, 92 wide-body, and 21 cargo) is one of the world’s youngest with an average age of 8.2 years. Thanks to our new-generation, wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the first set to be delivered in June, and the Airbus A350-900, first delivery scheduled for 2020, we will continue to fly you to your loved ones all around the world with the familiar comfort of Turkish Airlines.
Our New Cabin Uniforms and the Theme of “Flow”
In recent months, we renewed the uniforms of our cabin crews, the most visible representatives of our brand, in collaboration with famous Italian designer Ettore Bilotta. Blending our 85-year-long experience with a modern and elegant approach, our warm and stylish cabin crews welcomed this new phase of aviation at Istanbul Airport by wearing the new uniforms reflecting our enthusiasm and refinement. Dominated by shades of red and anthracite grey, our uniforms brandish the theme of “flow” which symbolizes both the complete and seamless service we offer to our guests and the joyful energy of Turkey and our new home in Istanbul.
As a global brand, we expand our mastery of service and brand experience beyond the aviation industry to sports and cultural events, spreading our mission of building bridges between continents, cultures, and people. We continue our support for European basketball by sponsoring Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and welcome amateur golfers from all around the world at Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup, and golf giants at Turkish Airlines Open.
Last year, one of our commercials was broadcast for the third time during the Super Bowl, the championship event of the National Football League in the U.S. which is regarded as the most watched event in the history of television. Thanks to our commercial “Five Senses,” featuring notable TV host and surgeon Mehmet Öz, also known as Dr. Oz, we invited hundreds of millions of people to discover the world with our brand.
Turkish Airlines, whose strength lies in the ancient heritage of civilization in its homeland and its inspiration in the place it has earned in your hearts, will continue to carry you from its new home to your loved ones. In this new era, we will do that with a renewed sense of enthusiasm and strive to work harder to make you smile during your time with us.
I’d like to thank you once more for being a guest of the Turkish Airlines family which is guided by one of the teachings of a famous Turkish poet Yunus Emre, who said, “Those who touch someone’s heart prosper / You too touch a heart to prosper.” I hope 2019 brings happiness, peace, serenity, and prosperity to the world and wish you a New Year filled with health and success.
M. İlker Aycı
Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee