As we enter a new year, I would like to thank you, our dear guests, who chose the airline that flies to more countries than any other airline in the world, and also convey my gratitude to my colleagues who work continuously to offer you an unparalleled flight experience with our award-winning quality service.
We Have Successfully Completed The Great Move
The year 2019 was the scene of a historical development for our brand, Turkey’s national flag carrier airline. We started a new era in April by moving to our new home, Istanbul Airport, with the Great Move that materialized in record time. Completing the moving operation planned for 45 hours in just 33 hours, we began to offer the comfort and quality of Turkish Airlines to which you, our dear guests, are accustomed from Istanbul Airport without any disruptions. With one of the world’s largest and most modern airports at our service, we have left capacity constraints behind and have an excellent infrastructure to attain healthy and sustainable growth. I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who spared no effort for the realization of this project; especially our President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, all the other involved ministries and bureaucrats, the İGA consortium, engineers and workers.
With this move to our new home from Atatürk Airport, which served our brand and Turkish aviation for many years, we will be able much more effectively to fulfill our main mission of “bridging continents, people, and cultures.” This move will also contribute greatly to accelerating the growth of Istanbul, which is still the center of our flight network that spans 318 cities in 126 countries, in world aviation.
While the past year was somewhat unstable in terms of aviation, our sector’s sensitivity to developments in the global economic growth, trade, and tourism was once again brought to light. Our sector, which was affected by the trade wars between the two leading actors in the world economy, and the global slowdown in growth, was also forced to contend with the decline in profit margins caused by intense competition. As a result of the agreement we have reached with Boeing, we have minimized the effects of the grounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft which affected several major airlines around the world. I would like to thank Boeing for the agreement and wish a quick and safe return of the aircraft to service.
Despite all the problems experienced throughout the world, the growth of the aviation sector in coming years is based on a strong foundation. The Asia-Pacific region, considered the locomotive of economic growth, is inclining towards air transport at an increasing rate. The enthusiasm of younger generations, classified as Millennials and Generation Z, for traveling and discovering the world indicates that the upward trend of aviation will continue globally.
As the Turkish Airlines family, we focus our efforts on being at the top of this growth. We take firm steps towards the top of the aviation sector as we serve our passengers, who we consider to be our guests, with the hospitality unique to our culture and carry them to their loved ones in safety and comfort. As an airline with 86 years of experience, we create a difference with our award-winning service quality which we ceaselessly improve. We will work even more and make every effort to earn the approval of our tens of millions of passengers who chose us and strengthen the place we have in their hearts even more.
Our Flight Network and Fleet Continue to Expand
As the flag carrier airline of a geographically unique country between Asia and Europe, and with a home in Istanbul, the city connecting continents, we are proud to carry the title of “The airline flying to more countries than any other.” We are unrivaled in terms of our flight network and the connectivity options we offer, enabling us to be worthy of our mission of bridging continents, people, and cultures -just like our country does.
We added new destinations to our flight network throughout the past year including domestic flights to Uşak, Siirt, Çanakkale, Zonguldak; and international flights to Sharjah (UAE), Marrakesh (Morocco), Strasbourg (France), Port Harcourt (Nigeria), Bali/Denpasar (Indonesia), Point-Noire (Congo), Mexico City and Cancun (Mexico), Luxor (Egypt), Rovaniemi (Finland), and Xi’an (China). In 2020, we will continue to expand our flight network. Osaka (Japan), Newark (USA), Vancouver (Canada), Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), and Port Sudan (Sudan) are among the new destinations we are planning for this year.
Our cabin crews, who always stand out with their smiling faces and professionalism, and our fleet, which is one of the youngest, most modern fleets in Europe, play a major role in the high-quality service and unparalleled flight experience we offer our guests. The Turkish Airlines fleet consists of 354 aircraft with an average age of 8.2 years. We have started to accept the deliveries of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft that we had ordered in the last few years. With the Airbus A350-900s that will be joining our fleet by the summer of this year, the number of our long-haul, fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly, new generation aircraft that maximize passenger comfort will increase even further.
While our brand is heading towards its target of a fleet of 450 aircraft in 2023, we will continue to carry you to your loved ones all over the world with the TurkisTurkish Airlines comfort to which you, our dear guests, are accustomed.
Support for Our Tourism Sector Continues
Last year, we launched an important initiative with the “Direct Tourism Endeavor” we signed as the national flag carrier of Turkey, the upcoming star in tourism, with the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism. We made a huge contribution to our tourism sector’s figures over the past year with the direct flights we started operating from the leading centers of Europe and the Middle East. The scheduled flights we began operating during the summer months from our tourism centers including Antalya, Bodrum, and Dalaman to prime destinations in Europe and the Middle East and which materialized in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, constitute the most important step of the “Direct Tourism Endeavor,” designed to maximize our country’s tourism potential throughout the year. As the Turkish Airlines family, we will continue our efforts to transform our country into a global tourism center not only with its sea, sun, and sand, but also with its winter sports, highlands, gastronomy, and religious, congress, and health tourism.
Our Success Criterion: The Smile We Put on Your Faces As Turkish Airlines, we are continuously improving the experience you have with our brand, and updating our products and services in accordance with the dynamism of our sector. While some of these changes materialize behind the scenes in the improvements of our operational processes, others materialize as part of our visual brand elements or at our contact points. In this respect, 2019 was the scene of many different innovations. While the elegance of our crews that serve you in the cabin, cockpit, and ground services was complemented with our new uniforms which reflect elements of our culture with the “Flow” theme, we entered a new era that began in our new home and reflects a holistic visual brand identity.
Our brand, which we also updated with similar innovations, and the brand experience we offer was crowned with the awards we received from the reputed associations and organizations of our sector. At the APEX/IFSA (Airline Passenger Experience) Awards held last year in Los Angeles, we were named a “Five Star Airline” for the third consecutive year. While we received the “Best Corporate Travel for Business Travelers Award” based on the survey of readers of the United States’ leading travel magazine Global Traveler for the second time and the “Best Airline for Business Class” for the third consecutive year, we were also delighted to receive the “Best Airport Staff/Gate Agents.” Another important development our brand added to its list of successes last year was being selected “Turkey’s Most Valuable Brand” once again by the international brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. As a family with 60,000 members, Turkish Airlines is proud of this success and we work non-stop to improve the products and services we offer our guests. Since 1933, our main aim is offering you, our dear guests, the pleasure of our traditional hospitality, which is unique to our culture, as we carry you to your loved ones. The smile that appears on the faces of our passengers as a result of their experience with Turkish Airlines is an honor greater than any of the awards we receive. We will continue to improve ourselves so this smile will never fade, and to ensure that you chose our brand again and again.
Turkish Airlines’ Signature in Sports As a brand that spreads its wings to the world with the energy that stems from our deep-rooted civilization, we carry the experience we offer you to sports platforms. The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four 2019, title-sponsored by our airline, took place in Spain with the participation of two Turkish teams, Fenerbahçe Beko and Anadolu Efes. While our brand highlighted its support for sports and the values sports represent, the excitement of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and the events and attractions organized as a part of the tournament have now extended across the European continent and have reached basketball fans across the world. We also contributed to Turkey’s rise as a premier golf destination by hosting world-famous golfers in Antalya at another sports organization that carries our name, Turkish Airlines Open 2019. Our support for golf has reached thousands of golfers with the Turkish Airlines World Golf Cup, the world’s largest amateur golf tournament that continued throughout the year in 101 destinations.
Have a nice flight!
M. İlker Aycı
Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee