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Our success story

Starting on May 20, 1933 with five planes and fewer than 30 employees, our journey continues today as the airline flying to the most countries in the world – celebrating our 90th year.
Our 90-year success story is marked by the strength we have gained through challenges and difficult times.
THY our story, a retro and vintage looking old plane

An adventure in the sky that began in 1933

Back in 1933, the Turkish Airlines adventure began; an endeavor to unite people, cultures, continents, countries and cities whilst providing new, inspiring travel experiences for all. On the 20th of May 1933, we took to the skies as State Airlines Administration. Leading the way, Türkiye’s first aviator and chief executive, Fesan Evrensev, set out with a mere 30 employees and 5 aircraft. 

In 1947, proudly flying the Turkish national flag, we conducted our first overseas flight, from Istanbul to Athens. Making headway in 1951, our fleet increased to 33 aircraft and we began to fly to new destinations: Nicosia, Beirut and Cairo. 

In 1955, taking the name of Turkish Airlines, we signed a document listing our extraordinary achievements. Furthermore, our name gained its ranks alongside the members of IATA, International Air Transport Association.

Our THY our story, a retro and vintage looking old plane

A success story across continents

The construction of Istanbul Yeşilköy Airport wrapped up in 1953 and opened to international air traffic. In 1985, it became Atatürk Airport, a global meeting point; a hub to thousands of memorable moments. 

In 1958, 5 Viscount 794 aircraft joined our fleet; After switching from piston engines to jet-powered aircraft, a new era dawned in our aviation history. 

In 1959, Mesut Manioğlu designed our signature emblem, the wild goose, a fitting image as geese are known to fly up to an altitude of 9,000. 

In 1961, pilot captains Zihni Barın and Nurettin made another first in Turkish Airlines history by crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a F-27 aircraft on a 30-hour flight from the USA to Istanbul. 

Due to the devoted efforts and the dedication of our workers, our capital increased from 200 million in 1972 to 400 million, an astounding 100% increase. 

In 1973, the first McDonnell Douglas DC-10 European aircraft was added to our fleet. A journey that began 40 years ago with 24 personnel experienced an employee network growth of 4,437. 

The firm belief in broadening our horizons ensured achievements that gave way to a thriving progression of our success story in the 80’s. Since 1983, a fruitful 50 years, we have been bridging continents across the globe, delivering 2,5 million passengers. From Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, we finally launched flights to America, with more than 5,000 employees on 4 continents serving our world-leading brand.

Male passenger spending time drinking tea in the comfortable environment of the lounge

Exclusive services across the globe

In 1998, the Turkish Airlines website was launched. In 2001, we put our call center into service. Purchasing tickets became a lot easier in 2003 with the application of e-tickets and check-in. Turkish Airlines corporate website launched with a new interface on 

Customers can now view our website in English, German, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, China and Russian amongst other languages. 

It currently takes less than a minute for customers to book tickets on our user-friendly mobile application that is visited by millions daily.

THY Business Class window seat and female passenger drinking coffee

Travels of a remarkable standard

Customer satisfaction is our top priority and we put the utmost care into ensuring that your journey runs as smoothly as possible. 

In 2000, we brought you Miles&Smiles, providing exclusive privileges. In 2008, Turkish Airlines joined the global airline confederation, Star Alliance. Upgrades to our catering services aiming to maximize your travel experience. Our collaboration with Turkish Do&Co provides passengers with delicious meals above the clouds specially made by the flying chefs. 

Our in-flight entertainment system is jam-packed with the latest movies, music, games and more providing our passengers with a pleasant, fun-filled journey. Additionally, passengers stay connected to the world with the in-flight Wi-Fi service we offer.

THY aircraft and airport, wing view

We fly to more countries than any other airline

Keeping up to date with technology is an essential component of our innovation aims and in maintaining that we have the youngest and most modern fleet in Europe. Our fleet had flourished thanks to our high-tech, fuel-efficient and environmentally conscious aircraft purchases that provide a high level of comfort. 

Due to our unrivaled flight network, young and modern fleet, comfortable seats and delicious treats, we have earned the title of the Best Airline in Europe. With great passion and ambition, we fly to almost all countries around the world. We thrive on the unique discoveries we deliver to our passengers. Turkish Airlines has engraved its name with exciting world-renowned sponsorships and advertisements. 

Our growing passion over the years has earned us the title of the airline that flies to most countries in the world. Today we conduct flights to 120 countries from our new home, Istanbul Airport, with a young fleet of 457 aircraft. We proudly carry the Turkish flag across the globe, opening doors to the wider world for our passengers.