Turkish Airlines growth is 'sustainable', chairman tells Euronews

Turkish Airlines growth is 'sustainable', chairman tells Euronews
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Jane Witherspoon
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Ahmet Bolat, Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee for Turkish Airlines talks about the current state of the global aviation industry, the expansion of Turkish Airlines and the launch of their new in-flight cuisine menu.


Turkish Airlines continues to fly to new records after marking its highest-ever Q1 revenue, reporting a €214 million net profit, up from €148 million a year earlier. The airline was voted the Best Airline in Europe at 2022 Skytrax World Airline Awards last September. Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee, Ahmet Bolat says that this is ‘success built by time’.

“Turkish Airlines 20 years ago had 65 aircraft and we were carrying only 10 million passengers and the revenue was €1.6 billion. Last year we recorded more than €16.5 billion, carrying around 72 million passengers with 395 aircraft. This year right now we have 414 aircraft,” he told Euronews.

Mr. Bolat was speaking at the launch of the airline's new on-board hospitality menu which hopes to position them as the first Michelin star airline out of Istanbul.

“Our catering is really the number one in the world. There are lots of secrets behind it. First of all, we use 80% fresh produce grown in Türkiye. Also, we utilize highly qualified chefs. We have, of course, flying chefs for the last final touch. But the foods are prepared locally and also fresh every day. That's the secret,” Mr. Bolat added.

Pilot shortages a major challenge

Commenting on the global challenges the aviation industry is facing Mr. Bolat said that supply chain, engine issues and pilot shortages are going to be the key concerns. In response to demand, Turkish Airlines has invested in its own pilot training facility. 

"We can train up to 200 pilots per year. Right now we're going to increase this up to 2000 pilots per year because the whole industry needs pilots. So Türkiye could be one of the countries which can also provide pilots to the world," he said.

Moving forwards Turkish Airlines will be investing in positioning themselves in the Middle East markets as well as targeting tourism from and to the US, China and Korea. 

"Summer travel [2023] for the first three months is very good, and especially we are focusing on American tourists to bring two million Americans to Istanbul. Last year, one million Americans came and last year China was closed, now it has started opening… We are going to focus on this," Mr. Bolat concluded.

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