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1 Billion & Counting: Turkish Airlines Hits a Huge Passenger Milestone at Istanbul’s New Airport

The flag carrier of Türkiye is celebrating an incredible milestone this week. Turkish Airlines, which marks its 90th birthday this year, carried its one billionth passenger from Istanbul Airport to Adıyaman Airport. The airline is known for flying to most countries of any airline worldwide and began with just five aircraft in 1933.

As of this month, Turkish Airlines has 342 destinations in its flight network and intends to grow its passenger network to 400 destinations by 2033, supported by a fleet of 800 aircraft. Today the airline announced its next objective is to fly its two billionth passenger in 2031, only eight years from now.

A welcome ceremony and a million points.

In celebration of flying its one billionth passengers, the airline hosted a special ceremony at its hub of Istanbul Airport. The billionth passenger, Mustafa Balcı, arrived on a flight from Adıyaman in the country’s southeast. An Airbus A321 generally operates the 924km (574 miles) journey and takes just under an hour and a half to complete the flight.

Upon arrival, the passenger was greeted at the gate with the special ceremony and gifted one million miles. Speaking at the event, Mustafa Balcı declared their excitement to be part of this historical moment:

“It is a great honour for me to be the one billionth passenger of Turkish Airlines and to be rewarded with a special gift for it. This experience will be an unforgettable memory for me.”

Adiyaman Airport is close to one of the regions worst affected by a severe earthquake earlier this year. It has been the arrival site for many of the evacuation and relief flights to the area. Turkish Airlines has operated over 1,500 evacuation flights to the affected regions, carrying in tonnes of supplies and even capping or eliminating fares to support the flow of humanitarian aid to the area.

999,999,999 passengers within 90 years.

The airline started its operations with a fleet of five aircraft in 1933 and became a member of the Star Alliance in 2008. The carrier uses its megabase at the new Istanbul Airport to leverage it uses its strategic location by offering connections to and from Europe and beyond.

Turkish Airlines has grown at an increasing rate over the past 20 years. The airline went from just 60 aircraft in its fleet in 2003 to its one-hundredth plane in 2006, the 200th aircraft in 2012, and took delivery of its 300th plane in 2016. The carrier received its 400th plane in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the republic later this year. The annual celebrations start at 13:00 on October 28th and continue for 35 hours.

It currently possesses a fleet of 411 aircraft, comprising 278 narrowbodies, 111 widebodies, and 22 freighters, making it the world’s 9th largest airline based on fleet sizeThe airline’s current fleet includes Airbus A319, A320, A321, A330, and A350, and the Boeing 737, 737 MAX, 777, and 787 Dreamliner. The airline’s fleet is expected to reach 435f aircraft by the end of 2023. Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee Ahmet Bolat, expressed pride in the airline and announced its goals for the coming years:

“Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933, carried its one billionth passenger today. We are filled with great pride and happiness for carrying our one billionth dpassenger. Our brand, which has reached one billion passengers in 90 years, aims to reach its two billionth passenger in 2031, 8 years from now.

“I would like to thank all our passengers who have shared this joy with us and all my colleagues who have contributed to this success.”

The airline hopes to double its current capacity of 85 million passengers annually to 170 million passengers by 2033, with an annual average growth rate of 7%.

Source : Simple Flying