Flying to almost 319 destinations around the globe Turkish Airlines has established itself as the airline with the maximum number of destinations. The year 2019 was a fruitful year with the launching of flights from Sharjah to Istanbul and the opening of the new airport in Istanbul. Emre Ismailoglu, General Manager, Dubai & Northern Emirates, Turkish Airlines talks to TRAVTALK.
How was 2019 for Turkish Airlines with the transition to the new airport?
2019 was a year of progress for us due to several reasons. We underwent a complete upgrade, expanded our unrivalled route network further, enhanced our service offering, and refined the interiors of our 787 Dreamliner fleet. The transition of Turkish Airlines’ operations to the new Istanbul Airport was also a big success, and it presented us with new opportunities to upgrade our offering. We also opened a 130 sq m art exhibition curated from the Istanbul Modern Collection at the Turkish Airlines
There were many codeshares signed over the past year, how have they contributed to the growth of the network?
Partnerships are central to the continued growth of Turkish Airlines’ global network. Through a fleet of 351 aircraft, the network has been expanded further and therefore passenger carrying loads and cargo volume have been increased. Turkish Airlines carried approximately 68.8 million passengers last year with a load factor reaching 81.7 per cent. Cargo capacity increased by 9.5 per cent to reach 1.4 million tonnes.
Last year, Turkish Airlines started operations in Sharjah, could you please give us a brief on this and how the traffic has been?
Flying to more countries than any other airline in the world, Turkish Airlines has been developing its activities in Sharjah as a growing tourism centre in the UAE and therefore added it to the company’s flight network as the third destination in the country alongside Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Demand has continued to rise for the route, which is why we now operate seven flights a week between Istanbul and Sharjah.
Dubai has daily flights to Istanbul covering many destinations around the world, will there be any additions this year especially as we celebrate the year of Expo 2020?
We are excited to announce that from March onwards Turkish Airlines’ AnadoluJet brand will launch globally with new international flights from Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Providing safe, comfortable and advantageous flights operated by experienced Turkish Airlines’ cabin and cockpit crew, the introduction of 26 new destinations across 16 countries will increase AnadoluJet’s passenger capacity by 22 per cent, offering an additional 1.2 million seats to travellers with competitive fares. These routes include Istanbul to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, London, Paris, Milan, Berlin, Vienna, Jeddah, Baku, Manama, and others. This expansion will offer 30 per cent better connectivity to domestic and international routes from Turkey – a testament to our goal of bringing the world closer together.
Could you share the plans and initiatives for 2020 by Turkish Airlines? Are there any new codeshares, new destinations in the offing?
In 2020 we plan to build on the momentum of 2019 with further growth of our route network. This year we’ll carry passengers to a number of exciting new destinations, namely Osaka, Japan; Newark, USA; Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; and Tokyo Haneda, Japan. We are also planning to launch a service to Vancouver, Canada later this year. By operating the latest and most cost-efficient aircraft in the world, we are able to constantly improve our world-class services and offerings.
What are the upcoming plans for AnadoluJet?
Turkish Airlines’ AnadoluJet brand goes global on March 29 with its new international flights from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Since its foundation in 2008, AnadoluJet has been carrying over 100 million passengers between the airports of Turkey and now it is set to carry its service quality abroad with its new flight network. Operating its flights with 87 years of experience of Turkish Airlines, AnadoluJet will add international flights covering 26 destinations in 16 countries to its routes in Turkey according to the new plan.
With its fleet set to reach 57 aircrafts in total, the brand will carry the flight satisfaction provided by Turkish Airlines to its new flights. With its whole operational processes such as the ground services and technical maintenance covered by the Turkish Airlines assurance, the international flights will also put comfort at the forefront. The onboard catering by Turkish DO&CO will continue free of charge.