Air Logistics

Turkish Airlines’ budget carrier, cargo service to continue as separate firms


In a major shift, Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) is about to enter a new path as its two subsidiaries, a budget carrier and an air freight transporter, are set to continue operations as separate companies, according to the company’s CEO. The airline has also established a technology company.

“THY Cargo is becoming a completely separate company. We plan to incorporate AnadoluJet. We are flying these companies to grow faster, pave the way for potential partnerships and acquisitions in the future,” Ilker Aycı told reporters as he evaluated the coronavirus pandemic ravaged-2020 and plans for 2021.

“We will have wings flying separately. This is a new era for THY,” Aycı stressed. “New partnerships and acquisitions will not come as a surprise. We are already getting a partnership offers.”

“We have turned the pandemic crisis into an opportunity,” said Aycı. “We have paved the way for our companies to make a 360-degree move.”

The CEO said they would decide on the matter of the companies’ initial public offerings (IPO) “on the way.”

The airline industry suffered an unprecedented year in 2020 amid rolling global travel restrictions that brought the movement to a near standstill.

Yet, Turkish Airlines’ air cargo brand, Turkish Cargo, emerged as a bright spot as one of the fastest-growing air cargo brands, maintaining operations relentlessly in order not to disrupt the global pharmaceutical supply chain.

To gain ground at a time when most air passenger operations had ground to a halt, the company turned its passenger aircraft into cargo planes. It delivered everything from delivered food, aid materials, medicine, masks and medical equipment worldwide.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data, Turkish Cargo managed to rack up a 0.4% rise in air cargo in January-October 2020, while the global market volume nosedived 20.8%.

Turkish Cargo’s market share climbed to 4.7% in the 10-month period, from 4.1% in January, rising to sixth place in 2020, up from eighth in January-October 2019.

According to figures from World Air Cargo Data (WACD), Turkish Cargo’s income market share grew to 5.3% in January-November, up from 4.6% at the beginning of last year.

Aycı also said THY managed to rank sixth in cargo transport in the world in 2020. It ranked third in medical equipment transport, he added.

“In response to the increasing demand, we have turned the crisis into an opportunity and put 25 cargo aircraft as well as 50 passenger aircraft into operation for freight transport. We also took advantage of our extensive flight network,” he noted.

Having the world’s largest direct cargo plane network, Turkish Cargo reaches more than 300 destinations, 95 of which are direct cargo.

The flag carrier subsidiary transported one out of every 20 air cargoes delivered around the world in 2020, said Aycı. It aims to enter the top three in the world by 2023 as it looks to transport one out of every 10 cargoes in the world.

Carrier with least damage

Aycı said the aviation industry has left what he said was the worst year in the industry’s history, pushing the sector back 20 years.

“THY has been an airline company that overcame 2020 with the least damage,” he said.

The airline posted a net loss of TL 946 million in the third quarter, compared with a profit of TL 3.71 billion a year ago.

Analysts expected the company to log a net loss of TL 1.42 billion for the period in question.

According to analysts, deferred tax revenues and grant loan revenues related to increased aircraft and engine purchases were effective in the loss that was below expectations.

Aycı said new financial data they will be announcing in March would indicate that the company had a better year than its peers.

He stressed they particularly managed their cash flow well, noting that they ended 2020 with a cash level near to the one before the 2020…



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