THY lays out plans for expansion, new destinations


Turkish Airlines (THY) expects to add 15-20 new destinations over the next three years, THY Chairman Candan Karlitekin said yesterday. He said THY is looking to extend its service to more destinations and provide Turkish customers access to destinations all around the world. Saying that THY has maintained sustainable growth in the global aviation market over the past few years while increasing its customer base, Karlitekin added that the company hopes to firm its grip on the market. Istanbul 's prominent location in international air traffic has also helped THY's success, he said. Karlitekin said THY places a heavy emphasis on modernizing its fleet in addition to training professional staff. Touching on the global economic crisis, he said, "In a downturn environment, THY has managed to raise its capacity by 16 percent and its number of passengers by 10 percent. The company posted a profit in the first half of the year. The profit is lower than previous years, but amid the tough conditions of the global crisis, pricing concessions are inevitable. We're certainly expecting to see more of an upturn in the second half of the year." He said THY is determined to expand in global markets and will soon decide on new destinations. "Our main goal is to connect Turkey to every single country with THY flights. We will add 12 new planes to our fleet," he said. Among the new destinations THY is considering are Congo , Cambodia , Vietnam , Tanzania and Sri Lanka , he said, adding, "We may add two local destinations each in China and India . We're also making plans to fly to Los Angeles and Washington ." Expected new destinations in Europe by 2012 include, he said, Bologna , Italy ; Glasgow , Scotland ; Podgorica , Montenegro ; Tallinn , Estonia ; Bratislava , Slovakia ; and Vilnius , Latvia . He added that THY plans to introduce a new class between the economy and business classes, as part of its effort to diversify its services. "We may call it premium or comfort. We're still studying the details,” he said. Asked whether the company will hire new pilots, he said THY currently has more than 1,500 pilots and is considering hiring foreign pilots in the near future. "We don't want to meet our pilot demand from the domestic market," he added. "If we do so, most pilots from other carriers will flock to THY. We have a flight academy and expect to hire new crew members from there." On THY subsidiary Anadolu Jet, which serves only the domestic market, Karlitekin said they expect to expand its fleet to 12 planes.