“Flying: A passionate experience”

The feeling I get when I hear the words 'airplane' and 'flying' mean a lot of different things to me: a convenience that enables one to get to many places in the world in a short time, a hobby, memories, and a lot of other things...

I actually have many memories of flying, but I'd like to share with you the most significant ones. Vehbi Bey (Koç) used to go to Erdek on the Sea of Marmara for two weeks every year to spend his summer vacation. If I remember correctly, it was the summer of 1967 or '68 that I also went there to visit him. I was seven years old. In those days the famous DC 3's used to operate between Istanbul and Bandırma, and it was on one of those planes that I flew that summer for the first time on my way to visit my grandfather in Erdek. As a kid who was interested in planes and aviation, I will never forget my excitement on that flight.

After that I made many trips by airplane. Indeed, in time flying became a supreme passion with me. I even obtained an amateur pilot's license and the chance to experience this pleasure myself. Later I shifted my interest to model airplanes, an ongoing hobby of mine that continues to give me enormous pleasure.

I would like to share with you another experience of flying, my most significant and one I have never forgotten. On the evening of 16 January 1991 I was returning from New York to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. Iraq had occupied Kuwait six months earlier, and the period the U.S. had given the Iraqis to pull out was due to expire that night. All my friends thought I was utterly mad to fly back to Turkey on that date. There were only about five passengers on the plane, and almost all of us were traveling in Business Class. When the bombing of Baghdad got under way around midnight, the pilot captain made an announcement that the war had officially begun. Bu coincidence the son of the cabin commander was doing his military service; the poor woman burst into tears. We tried to console her for the rest of the trip. I still don't know how I got through that ten-hour flight. When we landed in Istanbul, Ataturk Airport was almost completely deserted. I had never seen it like that.

As in many areas, in the field of flight, too, Turkey has developed with every passing day and is continuing to develop today. The growing number of flight destinations and the marked improvement recently in services and refreshments in particular are a source of satisfaction for people like myself who fly often and spend hours in the air. In that sense Turkish Airlines has always had a special place in my heart and always will. I go out of my way always to travel with Turkish Airlines and prefer it for all my air travel in Turkey.

As one of Turkey's most important and valued institutions, Turkish Airlines to my mind is also one of the world's best airlines in terms of quality and approach.

As a Turkish citizen, I am very proud of Turkish Airlines and I wish them ever greater success.