‘We ferried 4.5mn ME travellers in 2023’

More than 4.5 million passengers travelled onboard Turkish Airlines from the Middle East to Türkiye last year. Prof Ahmet Bolat, Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee, Turkish Airlines, says the task for this year is to increase the number of visitors, especially from the Middle East region, as they aim to target 90 million overall passengers by end of the year.

Dr Shehara Rizly

Prof Ahmet Bolat, Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee, Turkish Airlines, in an exclusive interview with TRAVTALK, shared that most exciting news was the launch of a new destination in USA, Denver.

Having started its operations to the Americas in 1988 with flights to New York, Turkish Airlines has expanded its flight network to include Denver as the 14th destination in the USA.

Prof Bolat said that beginning June, there will be three flights a week to Denver, which will be their 347th destination in 130 countries. “From July 9, 2024, the frequency will increase to four flights a week, thereby contributing to the tourism and trade volumes between the two countries by transporting thousands of passengers annually on the Istanbul-Denver route. Denver, the capital and largest city of the state of Colorado, attracts many domestic and international travellers with its cultural attractions and as a host for various sports events,” he said.

Turkish Airlines served 83 million passengers in 2023, and keeping in view the momentum, it expects to welcome 90 million passengers by the end of the year. There was an increase in passenger numbers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia last year and the airline expects the rest of the year to be the same.

Prof Bolat mentioned that there had been an increase of business class passengers over the last year as well in comparison to before and this trend seems to be continuing over the year. In terms of new routes, he shared that they added the sixth continent of Australia in 2023, with three flights per week and by end of this year they will increase to more cities in Australia. They increased operations in the US as well by adding their 13th destination – Detroit – and they will start flights to Denver by next week. He further shared that within the next 10 years, Turkish Airlines will double its fleet from 450 at present to 800 plus.

Turkish Airlines seeks more travellers from the Middle Eastern region, not only due to its proximity in terms of flying but also because of the common culture. Prof Bolat shared that 4.5 million passengers travelled onboard Turkish Airlines from the Middle East to Turkiye last year. “This year, we hope to increase this number by working with the travel trade in a special programme that we are planning and showcasing some of the new attractions that are culturally and historically significant,” he said. Another important fact that Prof Bolat mentioned was that there were more bookings on business class seats, which shows the rise of luxury travellers from the region.

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