Welcome Aboard

Dear Guests, The last month of 2009 is upon us, bringing to a close what has been an exceptionally challenging year for the air transport industry. As markets dried up and entered a steep decline in the wake of the global economic crisis, Turkish Airlines continued to sign off on a series of great successes thanks to sound strategy.

On the way toward becoming a global brand, Turkish Airlines enlisted the talent of Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Kevin Costner as the face of its new advertising campaign bearing the slogan “feel like a star”. Aired on television channels around the world, the advertisement was received warmly by international audiences.

In The Skytrax World Awards of 2009, known as the “Oscars” of the aviation industry, Turkish Airlines was chosen as the best in its region and received the award for Best Airline of Southern Europe, also gaining the distinction of being the only European airline to receive four stars in all categories.

Based on data compiled by the Association of European Airlines (AEA), Turkish Airlines was Europe’s fourth largest airline in terms of number of passengers carried between the months of January and November. Our market share within the AEA also grew in this period from 6% to 8%. Considering this figure was at 3% five years ago, our progress has been very significant indeed.

Ten new destinations have been added to our international routes. Since 2003, the number of our international destinations increased from 76 to 119, with 43 locations added over the past 6 years; our fleet of 65 grew to contain 136 aircraft; and the number of passengers we carry grew from 10 million to approximately 26 million. This data strengthens our vision and resolve for strong development in the near future.

We have seen an increase of over 40% in the volume of transit passengers going through Istanbul, which we think of as a natural hub for world transportation. While only 574 thousand foreign travelers used Istanbul as a transfer point in 2005, this number exceeded 2 million in the past year. We expect that this influx of transit passengers, who play a significant role in the growth of Turkish Airlines and fill one third of our Istanbul-bound flights, will only grow larger over the next few years.

As Turkish Airlines approaches its aim of becoming an important global player in its sector day by day, it has been decided that 105 new aircraft will be added to the fleet by 2018. The first step towards this decision will be realized through the purchase of double-corridored aircraft. 12 Boeing 777 models and 10 Airbus 330 models, besides two Airbus 330 cargo planes, will be acquired within the next two years to join the Turkish Airlines fleet in 2011. The significance of the 24 new aircraft to arrive within the next two years is even more clear when we consider that the current combined number of wide-bodied passenger and cargo planes is 24. With the new additions, the wide-bodies passenger capacity will rise by 87% while the cargo capacity will grow by 96%.

Our recently announced nine-month results show our operating profit at 610 million TL. We knew this year would be challenging and we made our plans accordingly. Turning the economic crisis into an opportunity, we continued the expansion of our operations which we began in 2003. As our rivals focused on reducing their capacity to cut costs, at Turkish Airlines we actually increased capacity by 21%. Despite the industry-wide drop in passengers and unit revenues, we’ve been carrying more passengers than ever and our operating profits have increased by 35% – a very solid indication of our success.

Speaking at the 10th Council of Transportation, which outlined goals for our nation’s centennial in the year 2023, Minister of Transportation Binali Yıldırım announced plans toward the construction of an airport serving 60 million passengers and the accumulation of a fleet of 750 civilian aircraft, promising many opportunities and expanding our vision. I am compelled to recognize the efforts toward the advancement of aviation in Turkey by the Minister of Transportation, the government, related institutions, and the staff of Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines owes its successes not only to the hard work of its staff, but also to the lively socio-political and economic development in Turkey. This has the effect of multiplying our potential to perform.

In a five-pronged evaluation focusing on the overall health of the airlines of the world carried out in 2008 by Aviation Week magazine, one of the most respected publications in the field, Turkish Airlines made fourth place. With these results in mind, I can say that we expect to show even better performance over the next year.

The International Air Transport Association has announced that the effects of the crisis will carry on into 2010. Just as we turned the crisis into an opportunity in 2009, at Turkish Airlines we’re planning further increases in capacity to claim an even larger share of the air transport market next year. With our customer-oriented focus and commitment to a higher standard of service, we aim to give you more options and greater comfort wherever you choose to fly. I firmly believe that Turkish Airlines will emerge as a key actor in the year 2010, connecting to the Far East, Eurasia to America, and the northern countries to Africa.

I thank all of you on behalf of Turkish Airlines, whose continued growth is made possible by your interest. I wish you a happy new year and a pleasant flight.

Sincerely yours,
Temel Kotil, Ph.D.
CEO and Member of the Board

Novelist Alev Alatlı was born in Izmir in 1944. She started her education in Japan and completed it in the U.S.A., moving on to complete novels and essay collections like the “Or’da Kimse Var Mı?” quadrilogy and translations such as ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’. While she has also completed a TV program titled “Haydi Baştan Alalım”, Alatlı’s main focus is on theology and the history of thought and civlization. A recipient of the Mikhail Aleksandrovich  Sholokhov 100th Year in Literature prize with the river novel from her “Gogol’ün İzinde” series, Alatlı wrote about the Russian capital, Moscow, for SKYLIFE.Outstanding Service, he currently writes a newspaper column and publishes

Born in 1971 in Samsun, Küçükoğlu has persisted in photography ever since he took it up as an amateur during high school. A graduate of Bilkent University, Küçükoğlu works in banking and has photographed Moscow for this issue of SKYLIFE.

Born in 1980, economist Uluca turned her amateur pastime, photography, turned into a passion as she describes it as reaching eternity. She photographed Moscow, where she lived for three years,  for SKYLIFE.

Keskin is one of Turkey’s prominent underwater photographers, having completed more than three thousand dives in Turkey and various seas of the world during the past 20-odd years. He has won the first place prize in many underwater photography competitions. Originally an engineer who finished his studies in the U.K., Kesin made a dive for this month’s SKYLIFE.

Kızıltan graduated in 1977 from the Ancient Pre-Asian Languages and Cultures Department in Istanbul University’s College of Literature. In 1978, she began working in several instititutions connected to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Directorate of Museum for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. From 1986 onwards with the Ancient Oriental Works Department of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums, she joined the museum’s administration in 2003 and still serves as Managing Director of the institution.

An indispensable part of basketball games, Murathanoğlu is renowned for his unmatched sportscasting, colorful interprations and on-court interviews. Murathanoğlu began his career as a sports anchor in 1988 and was one of the first to write about the NBA in Turkey. This time he provides SKYLIFE with an exclusive look at the World Basketball Championship.

A METU Sociology graduate, Ergülen  was born in Eskişehir in 1956. His other passions include Ankara, Eskişehir and the Eskişehirspor soccer team, as well as writing poetry and essays. Ergülen currently teaches poetry and writing at Bahçeşehir University and copywriting at Bilgi University’s Adschool. Ergülen writes about Eskişehir for this issue of SKYLIFE.