Turkish aviation sector eyes annual 450 mln passengers

Turkish aviation sector eyes annual 450 mln passengers

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Turkish aviation sector eyes annual 450 mln passengers

Turkey is working to raise the number of its air passengers to 450 million annually, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan said on May 4.

Over the last 15 years Turkey saw the number of annual air passengers ballon from 15 million to 210 million, Turhan told an aviation sector event in Istanbul, Turkey’s tourism and aviation hub.

He stressed that in 2018, 4.3 billion passengers used airways worldwide, while 35 percent of the globe’s trade and 90 percent of its e-commerce were done via airways.

“The aviation sector became a key factor of global development,” he said.

He added that Turkey, particularly Istanbul, has become one of the world’s biggest transit centers.

Turhan also said that Istanbul Airport will make a huge contribution to Istanbul becoming a global financial center.

The first phase of the mega Istanbul Airport, with an annual capacity of 90 million passengers, opened last October.

At full annual capacity of 200 million passengers - with the completion of all four phases with six runways by 2028 - Istanbul Airport is set to become a global aviation hub, with flights to over 350 destinations around the world.

After its completion, the airport will serve 250 aviation companies worldwide with a capacity for 2,000 planes to take off and land daily.

THY targets 90 mln passengers

On a related note, Abdülkerim Çay, the deputy general manager of Turkish Airlines (THY), said the carrier served a total of 75 million passengers and it targets 90 million passengers this year.

“THY makes a great contribution to the country’s economy. It is the largest service exporting company,” he added.

Çay also noted that global aviation sector grew by 6 percent and carried 4.3 billion passengers last year. “The figure will increase to 4.6 billion passengers in 2019,” he said.

Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933 with a fleet of five aircraft, currently has a fleet of 335 aircraft (passenger and cargo) and flies to 308 destinations in 124 countries - 49 domestic and 259 international.

The carrier last month reported that the number of passengers it served declined by 0.1 percent on an annual basis to 16.75 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Domestic passengers were down 4.7 percent to 7.4 million but international passengers increased by 3.9 percent to 9.4 million in January-March.

Tuncay Eminoğlu, a senior official from THY, said last month that the airline saw 12.8 percent growth in its passenger numbers in 2008-2018, three times the world average.

He also said that the impact of Boeing grounding its 737-8 MAX aircraft worldwide in the wake of two deadly crashes had only a minimal impact on THY.

“We have 12 Boeing 737 Maxes, but we managed to make up for that by employing our Airbus fleet,” he said.