Posted on 04 February 2010
Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s flagship carrier saw passenger volumes grow in 2009, making it one of a only a few airlines to see growth in what will surely be known as one of the most difficult years for international aviation since the advent of the budget carrier.
Not only that, but THY’s growth was particularly strong at 12.3% and enough to move it 3 places up the Association of European Airlines chart, from carrying the 4th largest number of passengers in 2009, up from 7th in 2008. This is according to recently-released AEA 2010 traffic data.
This new announcement could prove to be very beneficial to Turkey, which has already had a string of airlines open new routes in recent months and years, but can always benefit from further expansion, especially from AEA members including:
Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, AeroSvit, airBaltic, Air France, Air Malta, Alitalia, Austrian, BMI, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cargolux, Croatia Airlines, Cyprus Airways, Czech Airlines, DHL, Finnair, Iberia, Icelandair, Jat Airways, KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, Luxair, Malev, Montenegro Airlines, Olympic Air, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, SWISS, TAP Portugal, TAROM, TNT Airways, Turkish Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways.
"After the United States Turkey is the most important market outside the European aviation area for European carriers, with passenger flows amounting to more than 25 million per year," said AEA Secretary-General Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus in a statement.
"Istanbul is the ninth-largest airport hub in Europe and, serving as European Capital of Culture in 2010, is set to consolidate its position further this year. We significantly expect more visitors to this beautiful city. Turkey is already a destination for 23 AEA member airlines, all of whom have an interest in minimizing any barriers there might be to accessing this high-achieving market," he said.
Schulte-Strathaus did say however, that the Turkish administration must be more proactive in order to capitalise on this potential for growth from Istanbul’s status as European Capital of Culture
"We have ‘open skies’ with the U.S. and Canada, and a comprehensive agreement with Morocco. Traffic will increase if the conditions are right, and that includes reducing administrative burdens for airlines and travelers. This is particularly true if citizens are to be encouraged to visit the European Capital of Culture," he said.