Turkish Airlines and Turkish Cargo Rise to the Top Amid Pandemic
Although the aviation industry took a hard hit in 2020 and suffered its heaviest losses to date, Turkish Airlines distinguished itself with relatively good business performance. According to CAPA (Centre for Aviation, part of the Aviation Week Network) Turkish Airlines established itself as the busiest aircraft carrier in Europe during the pandemic, and one of the top five airlines in the world. This was achieved by a series of agile steps to maintain liquidity, keep costs at a manageable level and adapt to the “new normal”.
Turkish Airlines successfully ended the fiscal year 2020 with 6.7 billion USD revenue, which accounts for 50% of the preceding year’s level, with a net loss of only 836 million USD. During these uncertain times, the airline was also able to maintain its robust route network. According to Eurocontrol, in April 2021 Turkish Airlines operated an average of 685 flights per day – almost double the number of the closest competitor in Europe, Lufthansa. In 2020, Turkish Airlines flew 28 million passengers, with an impressive load factor of 71%. Currently, the airline serves 179 international destinations with 16 intercountry and 58 intercontinental flights. The new Istanbul Airport also stayed on top: even with a 68% loss of traffic, it was still Europe’s most successful airport as of March 2021, with 616 departing and arriving flights.
This success is based on cost cutting activities, capex reduction and active capacity management. In fact, Turkish Airlines achieved such performance without relying on any governmental cash injections. Furthermore, agreements with Boeing and Airbus on fleet growth will further decrease the aircraft financing needs of Turkish Airlines by around 7 billion USD in the coming years.
“Our success as the best performing flag-carrier airline in Europe is not coincidental. Apart from the multiple measures we took, we owe this success to our dedicated staff. While other airlines faced layoffs, we did not part ways with any of our colleagues during this process. Instead everyone within Turkish Airlines accepted salary cuts from up to 50% depending on the role and responsibilities. The exceptional sense of unity within our staff is what sets Turkish Airlines apart: together as a family, we decided that no member of the Turkish Airlines family would be left behind during this crisis.”, says Turkish Airlines’ Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, M. İlker Aycı.
Turkey's "rising star", Turkish Airlines, began its’ journey back in 1933 with 5 planes. Today, Turkish Airlines boasts a fleet of 335 aircrafts (passenger and cargo) and continues that journey with the same excitement. With its growth figures placing the company among the leading airlines in the world, Turkish Airlines, with a momentous decision in 2013, made the biggest airplane purchase in the history of Turkish Civil Aviation.