Proud 80 Years

Every individual, person, and institution that provides a contribution to a country’s economy, however small it may be, is valuable. As such, a country’s airline industry is precious in its entirety—its flag-carrier airline, however, is of distinct importance.

A flag carrier is its country’s pride. It is the ambassador, agent, power, and prestige of its country in every place it goes. Even its smallest victory delights everyone in its country; likewise, any sort of loss or setback saddens the whole country because the country has embraced that company—like the flag, that company belongs to everyone.

Turkey’s flag carrier is Turkish Airlines, which is celebrating its eightieth anniversary this year. It was brought to life as part of a number of projects to rebuild a country that, because of war, had little in the way of roads to walk on, even. Airplanes had been used before in Turkey, during the Ottoman era, for military purposes, as they were in other countries. When World War I was lost, the aviators assembled at Konya Aeronautical Station to take part in the Turkish War of Independence—and indeed, they served at the front when the day came.

Independence and Rebuilding
After the Turkish War of Independence ended victoriously, another challenge arose—the devastated country had to be rebuilt quickly. The Republican administration, believing that the existence of a transportation network was a precondition to economic development, launched an all-out, long-term investment process in roads, rail, maritime travel, and air travel.

In 1925, the Turkish Airplane Society, the kernel of civil aviation, was founded at the behest of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and started becoming involved in a number of activities. Also in 1925, an important development occurred in aircraft manufacturing, with the setting up of TOMTAŞ—Turkish Aircraft, Automobiles, and Engines, Inc.

Civil aviation was gaining worldwide importance at this time. The young Republic of Turkey, aiming not to be left out of these developments, created the State Airlines Administration on May 20, 1933. This institution, which would later be renamed Turkish Airlines, initially had a fleet of five aircraft—two Junkers, two King Birds, and one ATH-9, which gave a total seating capacity of twenty-eight. The fleet was flown by seven pilots with the support of seventeen other personnel—eight engineers, eight officers, and one radio operator. The flights followed an Istanbul–Eskişehir–Ankara route, but passenger volume was not reaching desired levels. This enterprise, which was survived thanks to the sacrifices of the state and its employees under the conditions of the time, took on the name of Public Directorate of State Airlines in 1939.

1955... Turkish Airlines
The State Airlines Administration was renamed the name Turkish Airlines, Inc. on May 21, 1955. A number of figures from the press joined as founding partners. By 1958, the company had twenty-eight airplanes and had started expanding worldwide. The maintenance and repairs of the aircraft were being done in Yeşilköy, too. Significant investments were made in ground services and sales offices were opened in many provinces. In 1967, the fleet was fully modernized with the arrival of jet aircraft.

Fortieth Year
Exactly forty years ago, when it celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 1973, Turkish Airlines had twenty-six aircraft and a total of 3,195 seats. Having been founded with twenty-four employees, the company now employed 4,437. That year, all propeller planes in the fleet were decommissioned, leaving only jet-engine planes. Also in this era, communications with many sales offices abroad were shifted to an online system and sales staff was put through training. The maintenance and repair workshop received certification demonstrating its compliance with international standards.

Eightieth Year
Everything is just as you see it. Today, Turkish Airlines is a global company that flies to 222 cities around the world with its fleet of 227 airplanes. Its sheer capacity aside, it is an airline that maintains the quality of its products and services at top-notch levels. It is the airline that was voted “Europe’s Best Airline” in 2011 and 2012 and that has signed sponsorship agreements with the world’s most famous sports clubs and organizations. As it expands its international operations with membership in Star Alliance, the world's most reputable airline alliance, it continues to lead the way for Turkish civil aviation through various partnerships and investments at home. Besides transporting passengers, the company strides confidently toward its targets for 2023—the centennial of the Republic of Turkey—with roles it has undertaken in such critical aviation-industry fields as pilot training at its flight academy to aircraft maintenance and repairs at Turkish Technic, Inc.

The aviation industry is by its nature sensitive to the negative effects of economic and political crises in the world and international conflicts, as well as fluctuations in oil and currency prices—and it has no ability to interfere with these. Turkish Airlines, however, today possesses the ability to brush off such effects.

As the Turkish Airlines family, we believe in the greatness of the flag we carry, and we want to show the entire world that it is a symbol of trust and friendship.