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Turkish flag carrier expects much better season next year

Flag carrier closes 2020 with success thanks to its strategies such as cost-reducing activities, chairman says

Turkish Airlines’ chairman of the board acknowledged the challenges stemming from the Delta variant of the coronavirus, but expressed hope that the “next season will be much better” for the airline.

Speaking to CNN International, Ilker Ayci said that there is a hope as more people get vaccinated, doctors will have more information about the virus and people will be more informed about how to deal with that virus, according to a press release issued by the carrier on Friday.

“We will get over this one way or another,” Ayci added.

Underscoring Turkish Airlines’ success in the last year, he said that the firm continued to maintain its strong network during the deep global crisis due to the pandemic measures.

Ayci said the carrier performed very well in 2020 compared to its competitors without taking any cash assistance from the Turkish government.

He also said that receiving government funds is unfair, and noted:”Most important thing is using your own resources and getting more credibility.”

“At Turkish Airlines, we closed the year 2020 with a revenue of $6.7 billion and an EBITDAR [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and restructuring or rent costs] of $1.9 billion … this corresponds to 50% of 2019,” he said in the press release.

Thanks to strategies such as cost-reducing activities, reducing investment expenditures, Ayci noted that the carrier is positively distinguished among European network carrier airlines in terms of occupancy rate, revenues and profitability.

The firm carried 28 million passengers with a load factor of 71% and became one of the top five airlines in the world, he recalled.

According to EuroControl data, the carrier was among the top five airlines in the world as Europe’s busiest network carrier in 2020 based on the number of flights.

Turkish Airlines also carried 49.7 million passengers during the first eight months of this year, up from 26 million in the same period last year.

“Total revenues reached $4 billion in the first half of 2021, about 67% of 2019 levels,” the press release read.

Ayci stressed that the carrier’s success as Europe’s best performing flag carrier is not a coincidence.

“While other airline employees are facing layoffs, we have not parted ways with any of our employees during this process and we have decided not to lay off staff in order to provide better service and a faster recovery than other carriers,” he added.

Touching on the firm’s cargo operations via Turkish Cargo, he said it also played a significant role in this success, and noted the firm’s market share in total global cargo revenues increased from 0.6% in 2019 to 5.1% in 2020.


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