Turkish Airlines is dominating in its field.
One of the world’s fastest growing airlines, it’s adding destinations and buying planes at a rapid pace.
And it’s collecting tons of awards, including the Skytrax award for “Best Airline in Europe,” announced at the Paris Air Show in June.
In an interview, Turkish Airlines CEO Dr. Temel Kotil said his company excels by offering top of the line service, but also benefits from its geographical position.
“We are in the centre,” he explained, which makes it easy to connect growing markets in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East with established areas like Europe.
It helps that passenger numbers in Turkey alone are up 16.7% year-over-year — a rate topped only by Indonesia (18.2%) and Thailand (17.7%), according to new stats from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Asked how the carrier plans to continue that pace of growth, Kotil said it was focused on adding destinations. Turkish Airlines already reaches more than 230 airports in 103 countries. Since May 20, it has issued 10 different press releases announcing new destinations.
“Of course we’ll keep on growing,” Kotil said, suggesting the addition of another 100 locations in the next decade, or less. “We are very aggressive in going different places.”
Along with more destinations come more aeroplanes. Today, the carrier has 228 aircraft in its employ — “still not enough,” Kotil said.
That will nearly double by 2020, to 415 planes, according to Kotil. The current fleet is mostly narrowbody (single aisle) aircraft, and the airline would consider ordering bigger, more advanced aircraft like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350, which tout fuel efficiency as a key feature.
While Kotil acknowledged the high cost of fuel (which accounted for 33% of global airline operating costs in 2012), he said that adding capacity to meet demand is more important for now than buying more economical planes.
“It’s OK whatever you have,” he said.
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