2023 to make Turkish Airlines world’s 6th most valuable carrier
Türkiye’s national flag carrier seeks to wash away all traces of the coronavirus pandemic fallout and serve a record number of passengers in 2023, a year during which it expects to become the world’s sixth most valuable airline brand, according to its chairperson.
A massive rally in its shares this year pushed the market value of Turkish Airlines (THY) to over 10 billion euros ($10.6 billion), which currently makes it the 10th most valuable airline company in the world, said Ahmet Bolat, head of the carrier’s board and executive committee.
Backed by a boom in the freight business, the carrier managed to quickly overcome the COVID-19 fallout, boosted its profits and is inching closer to pre-pandemic capacity levels.
Bolat told an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) about his estimate that they will become the sixth most valuable airline before 2024. He also stressed that the carrier is set to fly its billionth passenger in the February-March period.
This success is a testament to its double-digit growth over nearly the last two decades, with exceptions being 2016 and 2020, added Bolat.
The company’s growth has also been backed by the 2018 launch of Istanbul Airport, as it solved the capacity shortage issue.
Istanbul Airport has a capacity of over 120 takeoffs and landings an hour. The new airport was a must for our growth, he noted.
Bolat added that investors were happy to see the government’s clear interest in making the Turkish aviation sector a world-class player, resulting in them snapping up more Turkish Airlines shares.
Passengers also preferred to fly with us due to operational problems faced by European airlines, and this added to our profits, Bolat noted.
Shares of Turkish Airlines skyrocketed by nearly 625% this year, a rally that saw the market value of the carrier reach approximately $10.72 billion, making it the best-performing airline company.
The surge helped the value of the Turkish carrier exceed that of its biggest European peer, Lufthansa, which stands at around $10.29 billion. Lufthansa’s shares are up more than 30% this year.
By the end of this year, Turkish Airlines aims to have carried more than 72 million passengers in 2022 and over 88 million next year, Bolat highlighted.
The airline flew some 66.3 million passengers from January through November, down 3.7% from the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, according to the latest data on Türkiye’s Public Disclosure Platform (KAP).
The company announced net revenues of $2.25 billion in the first three quarters of this year, a fivefold increase compared with the same period in 2019.
This is the biggest ever figure in Turkish Airlines’ and European aviation history, thanks to strategies they implemented during the pandemic, Bolat asserted.
They had projected the boom in post-pandemic travel demand and therefore set our plans accordingly, such as maintaining our workforce, he explained.
This provided us with a great advantage when travel restrictions were lifted, he added, saying that most other European airlines were caught off-guard.
With the onset of the summer season in June, rising international air traffic to and from European countries caused a crisis at many airports, where staff had been reduced due to COVID-19 and employees were on strike.
Bolat stressed that Turkish Airlines saw a rise in the number of both point-to-point and transit passengers, especially on long-distance routes.
The growth in our passenger figures also stemmed from the rise in tourist arrivals in Türkiye, he underlined.
The number of foreign tourists who visited Türkiye surged 84.8% year-over-year to 42.2 million in January-November, according to Culture and Tourism Ministry data released last week.
When Turkish citizens living abroad are added to the count, the 11-month figure goes up to 47.6 million, the ministry data revealed.
Hundreds of destinations, big fleet
Turkish Airlines boasts a fleet of more than 390 aircraft, he said, adding that it is aiming to raise this figure to 427 by the end of 2023.
He said that they expect the delivery of their 400th aircraft in mid-February. The issues with Boeing 787s in the factory are over. Their first plane will arrive at the end of this month.
Currently, Turkish Airlines flies to 342 destinations in 129 countries – including Türkiye – he said, adding that the target for next year is 346.
Next year the airline will add major U.S. cities of Denver and Detroit along with Palermo in Italy and Katowice in Poland to its flight network, besides boosting flight frequency on current routes.
Bolat added that Turkish Airlines aims to launch direct flights to Australia, rather than flying on code-sharing deals. They want to carry their flag to Sydney and Melbourne next year, he said.
He also noted that the company will employ more than 1,100 pilots and 2,000 cabin crew.
They expect a rise in demand for pilots. So they will increase the capacity of our flight academy by 50% to train 300 pilots per year.
On the operations of the company’s regional carrier AnadoluJet, Bolat said that they aim for a nearly 50% rise in flight frequency by next March thanks to the soaring demand on domestic routes.
AnadoluJet will also be known as a low-cost airline offering international flights, he commented.
Bolat said Turkish Airlines’ investments in 2022 totaled $2.8 billion, mostly for aircraft and engine procurement. They allocated $3.8 billion for investments in 2023, he informed.
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2023 to make Turkish Airlines world’s 6th most valuable carrier
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