Dear Guests, As we leave the old year behind I would like to make an assessment of 2008 and share with you our targets for the future.

The world today is in the throes of a global crisis that began in the financial markets. The aviation sector too is adversely affected by the crisis and is experiencing hard times. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that world aviation will lose USD 5.2 billion in 2008 and USD 4.1 billion in 2009. In a climate in which losses are going to be greater than ever, financially-strong companies can create opportunities for themselves and come out stronger than before.

Turkish Airlines proved its financial strength again last month when it posted its balance sheet for the first three quarters. Boosting its net profit by 244% in the first nine months of the year, the airline made a profit of TL 668 million. And it did this despite a 65% rise in fuel costs over the same period last year, which is just a further indication of how significant this success is.

That Turkish Airlines chalked up a coup of this magnitude during a period when the sector is in trouble is due to the steps it has taken over the past five years. Turkish Airlines today is in a much stronger position structurally than it was five years ago.  Adding strength to financial and managerial strength through swift implementation of the strategies outlined since we took over its management, Turkish Airlines has grown rapidly in the market through its concept of customer-based, quality service and now stands out among its competitors. The whole world today speaks favorably of Turkish Airlines' success and service, and all players in the sector, our competitors included, are applauding Turkish Airlines. This not only gives us great pleasure but is at the same time a great honor for us.

Getting here was not easy of course. The growth initiative that was launched with the target of becoming a global player began with orders for 59 new planes to renew and expand the fleet. With just 65 planes in 2003, our company boasts a fleet of 120 today. We also acquired a more flexible management structure following our first two public offerings, and the initiatives we in the Turkish Airlines management took to boost productivity have played a key role in the success that was achieved. I would like to point out at this juncture that we must remember with special gratitude our Finance Minister, Mr Kemal Unakıtan, for his unflagging support during our process of privatization, and our Transport Minister, Mr Binali Yıldırım, who implemented the policies that cleared the way to liberalization of Turkey's air transport sector. 

But of course the most important factor in our success is that you, our valuable passengers, chose Turkish Airlines. Pleasing you and meeting your expectations have always been high on our agenda. Taking your criticisms and recommendations to heart, we have sought ways of offering you the very best. In addition to offering favorable fares, we have continuously developed the quality of our service during the entire travel experience from ticket purchase to baggage claim, as well as diversifying the refreshment offerings on our planes. Adding to our flight destinations by opening new routes, we have made direct flights possible, and we continue to do so. In this connection, our membership in the Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, also realized during this period, has enabled our passengers in the foreign markets to reach almost every point in the world, as well as making a serious contribution to our business passenger traffic.

The giant airline companies are reporting losses today; some airlines are even going under. A number of airlines are planning to downsize, raising ticket fares, lowering refreshment expenditures and charging extra for baggage, all as a recipe for getting through the crisis. We in contrast are seeking ways to offer our passengers a better travel experience at more favorable prices. While our competitors are reducing capacity on their winter timetables, we are happy to be the European airline that has increased its capacity the most. We have prepared for the rainy days that were sure to come by keeping a tight rein on all spending not made on customer service. And we are demonstrating that our success was no accident by weathering the storm without mishap.

Here at Turkish Airlines we are pleased to be a company that has doubled its number of passengers and tripled its turnover in the last five years. Not only that but we built our success on a solid foundation, realizing all our projects as the result of strategies outlined by our Board of Directors and reaping the benefits of doing so. For that reason Turkish Airlines is continuing to move forward towards its growth targets even under today's crisis conditions, the finest example of this being our recently announced order for 105 new planes with an option for 30 more, on which we have also elicited bids. Our goal in the short term is to become one of Europe's four largest airlines. We would like to make our nation and our people proud by gifting them in 2013 a Turkish Airlines that carries 40 million passengers a year with a turnover of USD 10 billion.

We of the Turkish Airlines family would like to wish all of you a blessed Feast of Sacrifice and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year and many happy returns. I wish you all a pleasant flight.


Temel KOTİL,
Ph.D., CEO and Member of the Board