Offer on THY-Lufthansa ‘excites’ Turkish carrier
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Germany’s Merkel offers joint management for THY-Lufthansa airliners. DHA photoGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel’s suggestion to establish a joint management arrangement between Lufthansa, the largest airline in Europe, and Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier, is exciting, according to Temel Kotil, the chief executive of the Turkish company.
“Our prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] called me and said that such an offer had come from Merkel. I find it very exciting that Germany has such an approach,” Kotil told Doğan news agency over the weekend. However, a final decision on the issue could be made by the company’s general assembly, he added.
Erdoğan said at a party meeting in Ankara on Nov. 3 that Merkel had suggested the establishment of joint management for the two carriers during his recent visit to Germany. “I have responded positively to Merkel’s offer,” Erdoğan told his party members. “There is already [a plan] as a part of our projects, and I hope we can take a cooperative step for Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines.”
Despite the euro crisis, which has hit the aviation sector hard, Lufthansa announced last week that its third quarter profits had increased 30 percent to 642 million euros from the same period a year earlier.
Lufthansa carried more than 106.3 million people last year. Its closest European rivals in terms of capacity are Air France-KLM and British Airways-Iberia.
Turkish Airlines, for its part, recently announced that it would buy 15 large Boeing planes at list prices in a deal worth $4.7 billion, and another 15 Airbus A330-300 long-range jets in a deal estimated at $3.5 billion, in order to meet the growing demand from new destinations.
Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa already have close ties due to Sunexpress, an Antalya-based joint venture.
Sunexpress Vice General Manager Hacı Say said yesterday that the company had decided to launch foreign flights-linked domestic destinations for transit flyers. As part of the initiative, the company will connect 20 weekly foreign destinations with 15 domestic ones. It will mainly be active in Germany, Turkey and Egypt.
“We have also been together through the Star Alliance since 2008, while we are on duty with Lufthansa executives in the management of the International Air Transport Association [IATA] and the Association of European Airlines [AEA],” Kotil said.
The to-be-built third airport in Istanbul will also boost the importance of Turkish Airlines, he added.