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The African continent leads the regions in which Turkish Airlines is growing the fastest and the most. Last year we carried over 1.7 million passengers, an increase of 50% over the previous year, and we are expecting a similar increase this year.
Africa is a rising star, and the African countries are becoming more important every day. They are on the agenda of every country and every passenger. Africa has become a preferred destination in the tourism sector as well as in business. Both its economic potential and its natural beauty mean that Africa will become much more important in years to come.
It is a well-known fact that Africa with its population of about one billion is having serious difficulties to realize its economic potential. Compared to other continents, the level of prosperity and GDP in Africa is below the world average. Considering its rich natural resources, we are talking about a region that does not really get what it deserves. The reason for that is obvious; centuries of colonialism. But Africa is not destined forever to be deprived of the prosperity it deserves, and the day when Africa becomes a shining star is yet to come. We at Turkish Airlines are therefore delighted to witness and contribute to the substantial positive developments taking place in every corner on the continent of Africa, which for decades has been associated with famine and poverty.
Turkish Airlines has become a major actor in helping Africa on its journey to realizing its full potential. We are playing an important role in the African continent’s integration with the world through the air bridge we have established. As the airline that now flies to more countries than any other airline in the world, we are serving 96 countries. Turkish Airlines carries passengers living in Africa where they want to go, providing them with certified high quality travel services at reasonable prices, and continuing to accompany Africa on its journey to the future.
Last year we opened up many new routes in Africa. As of the end of 2012, we were flying to 33 destinations in 23 countries. We will continue our expansion this year with the same enthusiasm as we add ten new destinations in six new countries to our African portfolio to make a total of 43 destinations in 29 countries. This will make us the airline with the world’s best African coverage.
I would like to thank you for choosing Turkish Airlines and sharing the experience of flying on the airline of the world’s best.
Have a pleasant flight.
Temel Kotil, Ph.D.
President and CEO