Djibouti flights make THY world’s largest destination network airline

September 06, 2012, Thursday/ 15:36:00/ MUSTAFA GÜN

Turkish Airlines (THY) CEO Temel Kotil said on Wednesday that with the advent of flights to the Republic of Djibouti, THY's destination countries have increased to 87, making the carrier's destination network the world's largest.

As Kotil explained to Today's Zaman, “THY flew to 86 countries, along with Air France, but with the beginning of the Djibouti flights we have reached 87 and rank first.” The first flight to Djibouti took off from İstanbul on Wednesday, with a stopover in Somali capital of Mogadishu. The flights to Djibouti are scheduled to leave İstanbul on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while return flights will operate on Wednesdays and Fridays every week. THY flies to 201 destinations worldwide, with 21 of them in Africa alone.

THY Chairman Hamdi Topçu also informed media of a tender to be opened by the end of the year for the purchase of six new large aircraft. He said, “Due to lack of capacity and high traffic at İstanbul Atatürk Airport, a tender will open at the end of September for the construction of a third airport in İstanbul, which will be ready to serve in three to four years.” He added, “The aircraft models Airbus 380 and Boeing 747 will be used for the flights at the third airport,” also commenting that THY has received offers of different aircraft models but has rejected them in preference for larger planes.

THY posted a profit of TL 164 million ($90 million) in the second quarter of the year, a 142 percent increase over the same period last year. The country's flag carrier served 18 million passengers in the first six months of this year, with the occupancy rate for its flights increased by 5.7 percentage points to 75.2 percent in the January-June period. The carrier operates 5,107 weekly flights to domestic and international destinations.

THY has been associated with acquisitions outside Turkey in the past, including of Serbia's JAT Airways in 2010. The carrier currently holds a 49 percent stake in Bosnia and Herzegovina's BH Airlines, its only partnership thus far with a foreign carrier. In addition, Topçu had previously stated that the national carrier was laying the groundwork for the eventual acquisition of Poland's troubled carrier LOT Polish Airlines; however, the talks ended in June.

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