60th anniversary of first flight abroad

Turkish Airlines, or the State Airlines as it was called in those days, is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its first flight abroad, made in February 1947 from Ankara via Istanbul to Athens under the then-director Osman Nuri Baykal.

Captain Mehmet Arabacı, who flew the DC-3 and C-47 aircraft on that first flight, describes the experience as follows: “The first time we went to Athens, we found out that the call name used by the control tower for landings was Hassani Airporte. This continued for many years until the name was eventually changed. It seems there had been a Turk there by the name of Hasan Ağa in Ottoman times. They had purchased the land and built the airport and the name had remained as Hassani Airport.” Starting out with a fleet of five planes in 1933, Turkish Airlines brought this number up to 33 in the short space of fourteen years becoming the pride of Turkey. The year 1947 when the first flight was made abroad was a turning point for Turkish Airlines, which by then had increased the number of its personnel to 560.
As Turkey’s world trademark today with a fleet of 102 planes and flights to 131 destinations, Turkish Airlines and its employees, who now number 12,000, continue to provide its passengers with superior quality service.