Turkish Aviation Sector Takes Off with Strategic Investments and Resilience

Turkish aviation sector continues to grow with investments made in this field.

The rapid recovery of the Turkish aviation industry compared to its competitors after the Covid-19 epidemic, with infrastructure and new fleet investments, has enabled the country to become a dominant player in the European market. Turkiye’s diaspora living abroad and the tourism sector also contributed to this growth.

Turkiye’s status as an aviation center for the European, Middle East, Caucasus and North African markets was also among the important elements of the development in the sector.

According to the AA correspondent’s compilation of International Air Transport Association (IATA) data, last year’s global international passenger capacity was 12% behind 2019, the year when the Covid-19 epidemic started. As of the same period, THY continued to be one of the leading airlines in the sector with a 27% increase in this data.

Istanbul Airport is the leader airport in Europe

As a result of Turkiye’s investments in aviation infrastructure, Istanbul Airport has become the airport offering the most flights in Europe.

According to the data of the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (Eurocontrol), Istanbul Airport ranked first among the busiest airports in Europe last year, as in 2022.

While Istanbul Airport became the busiest passenger airport in Europe, it also ranked among the top globally in hub connections.

The average number of daily flights at Istanbul Airport in 2023 increased by 19% compared to the previous year, reaching 1375. Istanbul Airport also broke the airport network record with 1684 flights on June 22, 2023.

Istanbul Airport was followed by Amsterdam Schiphol with an average of 1255 flights per day, London Heathrow with 1251 flights, Paris Charles de Gaulle with 1247 flights and Frankfurt airports with 1179 flights.

Last year, the average number of daily flights across the country reached 3,026. Turkiye became the country with the highest increase in the number of average daily flights in Europe in 2023, with an increase of 16%. The average number of daily flights in Turkiye last year was 8% above 2019.

Istanbul Airport hosted 17 million 671 thousand 971 passengers in the first 3 months of this year. During the January-March period, 3 million 558 thousand 813 passengers used domestic lines and 14 million 113 thousand 158 passengers used international lines at the airport.

Istanbul Airport hosted 16 million 237 thousand 909 passengers in the same period last year. Thus, the number of passengers of the airport in question increased by approximately 9%.

Turkiye’s flag carriers flew millions of people through the years

Turkish Airlines (THY) and Pegasus Airlines carried 115 million passengers last year, an increase of 10% compared to 2019.

Despite global geopolitical tensions and macroeconomic uncertainties, THY reached an all-time record number of 83.4 million passengers last year, thanks to its wide flight network and the highly qualified workforce it maintained during the Covid-19 period.

While THY’s domestic passenger capacity increased by 23.5% last year compared to 2022, the number of passengers increased by 19%, reaching over 30 million.

While the capacity increase in international lines approached 16%, the number of passengers increased by 14%, reaching 53 million. The increase in the number of passengers abroad, especially in European countries where Turkish citizens live densely, exceeded 20%.

The world’s 4th largest air cargo carrier

Providing air cargo services at 364 points in 133 countries with 24 cargo and 416 passenger aircraft, THY increased the amount of paid cargo it carried last year by 16% compared to 2019.

Turkish Cargo, which has increased its market share in cargo transportation by more than 3 times in the last 10 years, continued its success as the world’s 4th largest air cargo carrier in 2023, according to IATA data.

THY, which aims to have a fleet exceeding 800 aircraft in 2033 within the framework of its “100th Year Strategy”, added 46 aircraft to its fleet last year, despite the supply problems in the global aviation industry and the bottleneck in production, and increased the number of aircraft to 440 with an increase of 12%.

18.5 million passengers in 3 months

The number of THY’s passengers, which was 17 million in the first quarter of last year, increased to 18.5 million in the same period of this year.

While the number of international-to-international transfer passengers was 6.9 million in the January-March 2023 period, it reached 7.6 million in the same period this year.

Pegasus also attracted attention with its recent performance.

The number of Pegasus passengers reached 31.93 million last year, an increase of 19% compared to 2022. The company’s occupancy rate increased by 1.1 points compared to the previous year, reaching 84.8% in 2023.

The company’s domestic passenger number increased by 10% to 11.98 million, and its international passenger number increased by 24% to 19.95 million.

Source: Trthaber / Prepared by Irem Yildiz

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