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Turkish Airlines Signals Confidence In SL

In a sign of confidence in Sri Lanka, Turkey’s national carrier, Turkish Airlines is to fly daily to Katunayake from Istanbul by the end of this year. The daily flights will be via Male, Maldives.
“We always look at the long-term picture and not necessarily at short-term gains. We look at our network strategically and once the investments are made, we will wait for the returns, knowing very well that they will come,” said President and CEO of Turkish Airlines, Temel Kotil.
He made these comments during a meeting with a group of visiting Sri Lankan journalists at the head office of Turkish Airlines in Istanbul, Turkey last week.
“No airline should be running at a loss. We go to places few even consider.
But we are very strategic in our approach and patient enough to build those markets, sometimes from scratch. But the dividends have always come and that is why while we have consistently expanded our network, we are also profitable.”
The affable CEO who exudes iconic status added, “Those airlines that do not make a profit and have been running at a loss for years really should not be flying at all.”
Turkish Airlines, which has seen a remarkable turnaround under Kotil’s watch, has been growing aggressively expanding its network to nearly 240 destinations, the most by any airline. The airline flies to over 100 countries and carries over 39.1 million passengers a year using a fleet of more than 220 aircraft. The fleet which has an average age of just six years, is the youngest among all international airlines in Europe.
The aircraft fleet will be bolstered by a further 208 passenger aircraft on order and 68 options, most of which Kotil says are likely to be exercised. This includes two recent orders for 82 A320 family aircraft and 35 options as well as 70 Boeing 737s with a further 25 options.
What makes Turkish Airlines’ growth remarkable is its financial performance. Its operating revenues have increased annually by about $1 billion for the past five years. While profits have fluctuated, they have consistently been positive since the last loss in 2000. The airline’s net profit in 2012 was TL1.13 billion ($625 million).
The company began its current expansion in 2003, which coincidentally was the year Kotil joined the airline. Despite the global economic crises, the airline has continued to investing heavily in infrastructure, on new routes and these investments are now showing handsome returns by way of increasing numbers of passengers, a huge global network and steady profitability.
Its financial development has seen operating revenues rise from $1.96 billion in 2002 to $8.12 billion in 2012, and the airline forecasts the 2013 figure to rise to $9.75 billion. Similarly, during that period, yearly passenger numbers have risen from 10.4 million in 2002 to 38.5 million in 2012, and the airline predicts a further rise to 46 million in 2013.With nearly 16,000 employees, Turkish Airlines is well on its way to being an international aviation giant.
This growth has been matched by significant gains in service quality. Skytrax, the global organisation that ranks airline quality, has given Turkish Airlines a host of awards in recent years. These include recognition as Europe’s Best Airline, Southern Europe’s Best Airline, Best Economy Catering as well as garnering recognition for Turkish Airlines’ new Comfort Class seat.
Turkish Airlines already flies three days a week to Colombo.

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