Distinguished Friends of Turkish Airlines,
Voted ‘Europe’s Best Airline’ for two consecutive years thanks to the support of you, our valuable passengers, Turkish Airlines continued its dazzling rise again in 2012. The past year was a major milestone on the way to achieving our 2023 goals. As the Turkish Airlines family, we sincerely believe that 2013 is going to be another year of impressive breakthroughs. Behind Turkish Airlines’ success lies, above all, the political and economic stability and global strength our country has achieved in recent years. Those who have translated that strength into an international success story are, first and foremost, our hard-working, self-sacrificing employees, and you, our valuable passengers, who have been at our side throughout the journey.
The investments we undertook in 2003 began to pay off in the years that followed. As much as overall trends in the aviation sector, the extraordinary potential of Turkey and her largest city, Istanbul, impelled us to make those investments. Exploiting their previously untapped potential from that period onward, Turkey and Istanbul began to capture their rightful share of the international aviation sector.
When the global financial crisis that impacted the entire world in 2008 began to affect the aviation sector, here at Turkish Airlines we managed to emerge not only unscathed but indeed with a profit thanks to our ongoing investments. As the aviation sector was shrinking in the rest of the world, we chalked up double-digit growth every year. Our investment initiative played a major role in the stable growth we have achieved in the last ten years.
That success curve was sustained in 2012. At the beginning of this year we had exceeded our passenger target of 38.2 million and carried close to 40 million passengers, representing growth of close to twenty percent on the previous year. At Turkish Airlines, 2012 was a year of record growth crowned with a strong financial performance. According to figures for the first nine months, we made an operating profit of 1.163 billion Turkish Liras in 2012. Compared with the same period last year, this means an increase of 1.104 billion Turkish Liras.
Turkish Airlines continued to expand its international flight network impressively in 2012. We opened an additional 32 international and two domestic routes during the year, bringing our total number of flight destinations to 219, comprising 37 domestic and 182 international destinations. This gives us the 5th largest flight network in the world and makes us the airline that flies to more countries than any other airline flying to 96 countries.
We also continued to invest in our fleet in 2012. Numbering 179 in 2011, our aircraft totaled 202 by the end of 2012 as 23 new planes joined our fleet. The initiative we launched in 2012 is going to continue in 2013. We have been going on adding new aircrafts which had already been ordered before. With the arrival of those new planes we are further reinforcing our position as the airline with Europe’s youngest fleet. In 2012 we also signed a contract for 20 Boeing 777-300’s and 15 Airbus 330-300’s to be delivered over the next four years. The addition of these planes to the fleet will enable us to further expand our flight network with new long-haul routes. We are planning to open 33 new flight destinations in 2013. Already the airline that flies to more countries than any other airline in the world, we hope to make Turkish Airlines the airline that flies to more cities than any other airline as well by the end of 2013.
I would like to point out that here at Turkish Airlines our investments are not limited only to new routes and new planes. As we make Turkish Airlines a global trademark in the air transport sector, we are also engaged in efforts to turn Istanbul into the aviation sector’s regional logistics service hub through 15 subsidiaries operating in a number of fields from ground services, maintenance and repairs, and in-cabin accessories to seat production, fuel supply and catering services. Thanks to those efforts, Turkish Airlines is advancing confidently along the way to becoming a global aviation group with a voice in the sector through its subsidiaries as well as its 30,000 employees. We have upped our passenger numbers, which were 10 million in 2003 when we took over, to 40 million, our number of planes from 65 to 202, and our number of flight destinations from 104 to 219.
We have taken another very major step in our strategy of making Turkey a connecting point between Europe and Asia by becoming a member of Star Alliance, one of the world’s largest and leading airline alliances.
Here at Turkish Airlines all these objectives of ours are part of the long-term road map we call our “2023 Strategy”. Our aim is to take Turkish Airlines to the top in the global arena by the 100th anniversary of our Republic in 2023. Our greatest hope of doing this is the global position Turkey has captured - and is consolidating further year by year through political and economic stability - as well as our Turkish Airlines employees and the satisfaction of you, our valuable passengers.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish our country and all of us all the best in the new year and to thank you once again for choosing Turkish Airlines.
Hamdi Topçu, Chairman
Board of Directors and Executive Committe