LONDON – According to data from, Turkish Airlines (TK) will serve up to 80 destinations by December this year, as it continues to grow during the pandemic. Out of the 80 destinations, 70 are non-stop with 10 being one-stop, offering over 370 weekly frequencies from its hub in Ankara.

Even with the substantive portfolio, the carrier has 15% fewer widebody destinations as well as 52% fewer flights compared to the same period last year.

Photo: Casey Groulx

Accommodated with New Aircraft

The carrier received its first Airbus A350-900 on October 22 (TC-LGA), which was over a year since the airline received its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (TC-LLA).

With the first two A350s received, TK will serve Dubai (DXB), London Heathrow (LHR), Buenos Aires (EZE) via Sao Paulo as well as Manila (MNL). As for the existing fleet of 14 787s, the most recent destination was Tokyo Haneda (HND), which replaced Tokyo Narita (NRT) and will begin services to Vancouver (YVR) with the aircraft on January 3 next year and Osaka (ITM) too by March.

On top of this, widebody aircraft will be used on services to Berlin Brandenburg (BER) and Tunis (TUN) due to continued increases in demand.

Photo: Roberto Leiro

Continued Focus on Widebody-based Demand

With the need for widebody aircraft needed in the TK fleet, it is understood that such aircraft will accommodate around a third of total operations for the December period.

41% of flights will be operated by the airline’s flagship Airbus A330-300 aircraft, with 26% on the Boeing 777-300ER and 23% on the 787-9. And even on destinations closer afield compared to the long-haul destinations, such routes are going to be serviced heavily.

Services to Amsterdam (AMS), Beirut (BEY), Izmir (ADB), Kiev (KBP) and LHR are serviced with 14-weekly flights, showing huge growth across the board.

Photo: Roberto Leiro

Continued Strength Despite A Global Pandemic

Even in the midst of a global pandemic, TK has done very well to keep things under control operationally. Following its announcement of hygiene measures in April, the airline was named the busiest by EUROCONTROL by June.

Flights to the United States were back in the air by June and has been signing codesharing arrangements with the likes of Air Serbia (JU), conveying the view that the airline has been un-phased by this pandemic.

This, however, may have come with the assistance of the Turkey Wealth Fund, who at one point was in talks with the airline over being supported during the pandemic to cover any costs attributed to the virus.

Either way, the airline has shown similar strength to the likes of Qatar Airways (QR), Emirates (EK) and others who have been launching routes on either a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Photo: Luca Flores

The Next Steps

The next steps for Turkish Airlines consist of continuing to grow the network near enough to a point of where it was before the pandemic hit. On top of this, TK has to ensure that it is sustainable and is producing positive revenue streams and high load factors in order to make this work.

It will be interesting to see how the airline will behave in 2021, especially with considerable route expansion plans coming and with that, more deliveries of aircraft.

Featured Image: Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER seen at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Photo Credit: Luca Flores