How Turkish Airlines Quadrupled Its Market Share In A 20-Year Period

The airline saw a 3x increase between 2020 and 2022.

The world’s largest carrier by destinations serviced, Turkish Airlines has quadrupled its market share in the last twenty years. The airline has been on a mission to grow its fleet, expand its network, and acquire a greater piece of the tough aviation market.

The airline operates from its hub at Istanbul International Airport (IST) in Turkey. The country’s geographical location provides an added advantage to the airline in expanding its services westward towards Europe and the Americas, southward in Africa and eastward in the Middle East and Asian subcontinent.

The flag carrier currently operates scheduled services to over 360 destinations in 128 countries. The 2022 financial data shows that the airline made a revenue of $19.7 billion, with profits approaching $2.8 billion. This article explores Turkish Airlines’ market share growth in the last two decades. Market share is generally calculated as a percentage of the available seat kilometers (ASK) offered by an airline over a period of time.

Turkish Airlines market share growth

Just over twenty years ago, in 2002, Turkish Airlines had a global market share of 0.6%, offering 24 billion ASK. The airline began the rapid expansion journey regarding its network and fleet. Five years later, in 2007, the airline nearly doubled its ASK to 42 billion and saw an approximately 20% growth in global market share.

In the following five years, Turkish Airlines would succeed greatly in many aspects. The airline saw a 105% growth in its fleet in this relatively short time. As such, the airline offered more services and recorded an ASK of 96 billion in 2012. This development enabled the airline to double its global market share to 1.4%. The growth further continued with the addition of new aircraft in its fleet and network expansion.

In 2017, the airline almost doubled its ASK to 173 billion, resulting in a global market share of 1.8%. In 2019, the pre-pandemic year, Turkish Airlines grew its ASK to 188 billion while keeping the market share constant at 1.8%.

COVID-19 made 2020 a rough year, especially for the global aviation industry. Despite its solid growth and vast network, the airline saw a severe decrease in ASK. The airline recorded 75 billion ASK, a 60% decline from the previous year. Still, the airline maintained its market share at 1.6% in 2020. In the last couple of years, Turkey’s flag carrier saw a relatively quick recovery from the pandemic-related downturn, increasing its ASK to 128 billion in 2021, acquiring a 2.4% market share.

Surpassing 2019 numbers

Many global airlines were still struggling with demand due to travel restrictions and uncertainties, resulting in airlines like Turkish acquiring a more significant market share. The airline continued its solid recovery path in 2022 and recorded 202 billion ASK, surpassing 2019 numbers. That gave the airline a market share of 2.7% last year. The increased ASK and a greater market share are also attributed to the airline’s network expansion in the Americas and Europe beginning in 2021.

Flights to Seattle, Newark, Dallas, and Vancouver are examples of Turkish Airlines’ new scheduled services. Similarly, the carrier began servicing Palermo, Bergamo, Krakow, and Tivat in Europe. In the first half of 2023, Turkish Airlines has recorded 111 billion Ask, with a current market share of 24%. The airline aims to surpass the ASK numbers from 2022.


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