Turkish Airlines on May 20 marked the 88th anniversary of its foundation. Turkey’s flag carrier started operating with a fleet of five aircraft and a seating capacity of 23 in 1933, according to a company statement. Now the company flies to 127 countries with a modern fleet of 365 aircraft, it said. The first international flight of Turkish Airlines was between Ankara and the Greek capital city Athens in 1947.
Five decades after its foundation, the company was capable of carrying 2.5 million passengers and 30,000 tons of cargo with its 30 aircraft in a year. In the early 2000s, Turkish Airlines expanded its activities to areas such as aircraft maintenance, logistics, and aviation training.
“With the right steps taken over the years, Turkish Airlines is now among the most reputable airline companies in the world, After we get through the pandemic period, which came down on the aviation like a dark cloud, we will continue to increase our share in the industry with the energy we take from our nation and country,” Turkish Airlines chairman İlker Aycı said.
Last year, Turkish Airlines posted the smallest drop among other airlines in passenger numbers due to the pandemic – 62 percent. The carrier flew with a seat occupancy rate of 71 percent, above the curve compared to its rivals. Its annual revenue dropped 49 percent last year, in which the airline kept a strong flight network of 165 international and 44 domestic destinations.
Turkish Airlines reaped $1.8 billion total revenue in the first quarter of 2021, down 29 percent year-on-year amid pandemic-related travel restrictions around the world. Cargo revenues rose 77 percent to $824 million while passenger revenues fell 55 percent to $901 million.
The company’s subsidiary, Turkish Cargo, enlarged its flight network strength with a 33 percent capacity increase in the first quarter of 2021. Currently, it ranks sixth in the world with a market share of 4.8 percent.