Türk Hava Yollari Anonim Ortakligi provides air transport and aircraft technical maintenance services in Turkey and internationally. The company offers domestic and international passenger and cargo air transportation services; repair and maintenance, and technical and infrastructure support services related to aviation sector; catering and aviation ground handling services; software system maintenance and information technology consulting services. It is also involved in training, airport operation, and investment activities; the manufacture and trading of cabin interior accessories and aircraft seats; and the trading of aviation fuel. The company was incorporated in 1933 and is headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkish Airlines was established on 20 May 1933 as Turkish State Airlines as a department of the Ministry of National Defense. The airline's initial fleet consisted of two five-seat Curtiss Kingbirds, two four-seat Junkers F 13s and one ten-seat Tupolev ANT-9. In 1935, the airline was turned over to the Ministry of Public Works and was subsequently renamed General Directorate of State Airlines. Three years later, in 1938, it became part of the Ministry of Transportation.
Several Douglas DC-3s and Douglas C-47s were phased in during 1945. Being initially set up as a domestic carrier, the airline commenced international services with the inauguration of Ankara–Istanbul–Athens flights in 1947; with the DC-3s and C-47s enabling the carrier to expand its network.Nicosia, Beirut and Cairo were soon added to the airline's international flight destinations. However, domestic services remained the carrier's primary focus until the early 1960s.
In 1956, the Turkish government reorganized the airline under the name Türk Hava Yollar? A.O. . It was capitalized at TRY 60 million. The airline joined the International Air Transport Association shortly thereafter. In 1957, British Overseas Airways Corporation began supplying technical support after acquiring a 6.5 percent shareholding, which it held for about 20 years.New aircraft including Vickers Viscounts, Fokker F27s and Douglas DC-3s were added to the fleet in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Turkish Airlines began operating their first jet, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, in 1967. This was followed by the addition of three Boeing 707 jets in 1971. Other aircraft operated in the early 1970s included the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and the Fokker F28 which were put into service in 1972 and 1973 respectively.
1980s and 1990s
The airline was plagued by several issues in the 1980s and 90s. It developed a reputation for poor service compared to competitors and flight delays, with 47 out of 100 flights not departing on time. It also endured hijackings and suffered seven accidents between 1974 and 1983. The most notorious was the 1974 crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 981, when an aircraft design flaw led to a faulty cargo door breaking off in flight near Ermenonville, France, resulting in the deaths of 346 people.
A new government came to power in 1983 which recognized THY's importance as Turkey's gateway to the world, beginning the airline's makeover into a modern operation. It would go on to maintain one of the youngest fleets in the world. Security was intensified, causing one shipper to compare it to Israel's El Al, at least in terms of delays.THY built a new, state-of-the-art technical center at Ye?ilköy Airport in 1984. The airline was capable of both light and heavy maintenance on many different aircraft types. The technical staff then made up one-quarter of the airline's 6,000 employees, according to Air Transport World. In 1984, the company's capital was raised to 60 billion TL as it was classified as a state economic enterprise. Three years later, the capital was raised again, to 150 billion TL.
By the mid-1980s, THY had a fleet of 30 aircraft. It was flying approximately three million passengers a year to 16 domestic destinations and three dozen international ones. The airline was Turkey's largest source of foreign currency. Turkish Airlines began operating Airbus A310s in 1985, allowing the addition of flights to Singapore in 1986. A route to New York City via Brussels was added in 1988.The company posted losses in 1987 and 1988, largely due to high payments on its dozen new Airbus A310s, according to Air Transport World. The fleet also included 11 Boeing 727s and nine Douglas DC-9s. THY ended the decade with 8,500 employees.The airline ordered five Airbus A340 aircraft with option for five more in 1990 to be able to fly to North American and East Asian destinations. The first A340 was delivered three years later, in 1993.The company suffered in the global aviation crisis following the Persian Gulf War and would not break-even again until 1994. However, the business was again booming in the mid-1990s, with the greatest growth coming from North American destinations. THY launched a nonstop flight to New York City in July 1994.
The company's capital continued to be raised, reaching 10 trillion TL in 1995. During that year, the airline also converted three of its Boeing 727s to dedicated freighters. The DC-9s had been sold off. The company posted a $6 million profit on revenues of $1 billion for the year. While profitable, THY had to contend with Turkey's exorbitant inflation, making capital improvements difficult.
The domestic market was deregulated in 1996, allowing new scheduled competition from charter airlines. At the same time, larger international carriers were providing stiff competition on routes to Western Europe. THY entered into marketing agreements with other international airlines to enhance their competitiveness. The company teamed with Japan Airlines to offer service to Osaka and Tokyo in 1997 and 1998. Other jointly operated flights soon followed with Austrian Airlines, Swissair, and Croatia Airlines.
A new terminal opened in January 2000 at Istanbul's Istanbul Atatürk Airport. Turkish Airlines continued to extend their international reach, forging marketing agreements with Asiana Airlines, American Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Czech Airlines and Cathay Pacific in 2000. On 29 October 2000, THY withdrew from the Swissair-led Qualiflyer alliance to help attract a strategic investor for their privatization. The airline had been part of the alliance's frequent-flyer program since November 1998. An Antalya-Frankfurt route was added in 2001 through a code-sharing agreement with Sun Express.
Turkey underwent an economic crisis throughout most of 2001, leading to a reduction in traffic on domestic routes in particular. THY managed to survive after the September 11 attacks on the United States without a government bailout or mass layoffs, although 300 middle management positions were eliminated, 400 part-timers were laid off and wages were cut 10 percent. Turkish Daily News credited the airline's survival to entrepreneurial management, which was quick to get rid of loss-making routes at home and abroad.In 2003, the war in Iraq prompted Turkish Airlines to close some routes in the Persian Gulf, while flights to Asia were suspended during the SARS epidemic. However, the airline soon recovered, increasing traffic on existing routes and adding service to Delhi after an 11-year lapse.
Another fleet expansion program kicked off in 2004, helping THY maintain one of the youngest fleets in Europe. In July that year, the airline announced a massive $2.8 billion order of 36 jets from Airbus, plus an order for 15 Boeing 737s.
THY was not just ordering new planes. It was planning to spend $350 million on a new technical and training facility at Istanbul's underutilized Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. The airline had built up a significant technical services operation, maintaining not just their aircraft but those of third parties. Turkish Technic employed 2,700 workers and was planning to hire another 2,000 by 2010. THY also had three flight simulators and offered flight training services.
The airline faced the entry of new competitors into the liberalizing Turkish aviation market. However, tourism was booming, with 20 million people expected to visit the country in 2005 versus 12 million in 2003. THY divested its 50% holding in Cyprus Turkish Airlines in 2005.
Although the company was publicly traded at this time, the government-owned 98% of its shares. The privatization program was revived in 2004 with a public offering of 20% of shares on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. The Turkish government-owned 75% of shares after the offering, which raised $170 million. Currently, the Republic of Turkey's Prime Ministry Privatization Administration owns a 49.12% interest in THY, while 50.88% of shares are publicly traded.On 1 April 2008, Turkish Airlines joined the Star Alliance after an 18-month integration process beginning in December 2006, becoming the seventh European airline in the 20-member alliance.In December 2011, the Turkish government unveiled plans to modernize the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, which became one of the newest flight destinations of the carrier in 2012. The rehabilitation project is part of Turkey's broader engagement in the local post-conflict reconstruction process. Among the scheduled renovations are new airport systems and infrastructure, including a modern control tower to monitor the airspace. In March 2012, Turkish Airlines became the first international carrier to resume flights to Somalia since the start of that country's civil war in the early 1990s.
By the end of 2013, Turkish Airlines had increased their number of flight points to 241 destinations worldwide .In the wake of the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt, the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily banned flights between Turkey and the United States. This posed a particular problem for Turkish Airlines as a key component of the airline's strategy was to deliver one-stop journeys between the US and hard-to-reach destinations in Africa, the Middle East, and India. This ban was lifted on 18 July, and Turkish Airlines resumed flights to the U.S. on 19 July after a three-day disruption.In August 2016, Turkish Airlines announced a profit collapse to a loss of 198 million Euros for the second quarter of 2016 while expecting an overall loss of 10 million passengers for 2016. The airline already announced significant reductions in operations for the upcoming 2016–2017 schedule period with frequency cuts to 45 European and 13 intercontinental routes. Turkish Airlines also announced an overall record loss of 1.9 billion Turkish Lira for the first half of 2016.The following year saw the airline recover, with financial results for 2017 showing an almost 35% increase in turnover, and a return to profitability.In February 2022, Turkish Cargo, the airline's freight subsidiary, relocated all cargo flights and operations from their former base at Istanbul Atatürk Airport to the new Istanbul Airport.
The mission of Turkish Airlines is to become a global brand by providing reliable, comfortable, and high-quality air transportation services to its passengers, while ensuring customer satisfaction, safety, and operational excellence. The company aims to achieve sustainable growth and profitability, and to contribute to the development of the aviation industry and the economy of Turkey. Turkish Airlines also strives to promote the country's cultural heritage and values, and to enhance its reputation as a leading nation in the world.
The vision of Turkish Airlines is to be the preferred airline for passengers from all around the world, recognized for its excellence in service, safety, and innovation. The company aims to expand its global network and increase its market share, while maintaining its commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Turkish Airlines also seeks to be a pioneer in the aviation industry, introducing new technologies and practices that improve efficiency, comfort, and convenience for its passengers. Ultimately, the vision of Turkish Airlines is to be a leading force in shaping the future of air travel, and to inspire people to explore new destinations and experiences.
Turkish Airlines' vision is to establish itself as a global leader in the aviation industry, known for its exceptional quality of service, innovation, and dedication to customer satisfaction. The company aims to achieve this by continuing to invest in cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art facilities that enhance the passenger experience and improve operational efficiency.
Furthermore, Turkish Airlines is committed to maintaining its position as one of the world's safest airlines, with a strong focus on safety and security measures that ensure the well-being of its passengers and crew. The airline also strives to operate in an environmentally sustainable way, with a goal of reducing its carbon footprint and minimizing its impact on the planet.
At the same time, Turkish Airlines seeks to be an active contributor to the economic and social development of Turkey and other countries in which it operates. Through its extensive network of destinations and partnerships, the airline aims to promote cultural exchange, tourism, and economic growth, while also supporting charitable and philanthropic initiatives that benefit communities in need.
Levent Konukcu (Chief Investment & Technology Officer)
Dr. Zekeriya Demir (Sr. VP of Accounting & Financial Control)
Mr. Mehmet Fatih Korkmaz (Head of Investor Relations)
Murat Bas (Sr. VP of Network Planning)
Mr. Ahmet Olmustur (Chief Marketing Officer)
Mr. Mehmet Akif Konar (Chief Commercial Officer)
Mr. Abdulkerim Çay (Chief HR Officer)
Recognition and Awards
Prof. Mecit Es (Deputy Chairman)
Mr. Bilal Eksi (CEO, Pres & Director)
Prof. Murat Seker Ph.D. (CFO & Director)