DALLAS – Turkish Airlines (TK) has taken delivery of its 400th aircraft, an Airbus A350-900. To commemorate the milestone, the airline has placed special titles on the aircraft on the rear section of the fuselage.
According to information from flightradar24.com, the jetliner (TC-LGH · MSN 596) was delivered on February 24, 2023, and entered into service on March 4, with a flight from its home base in Istanbul Airport (ISL) to Vancouver (YVR). Before its first revenue flight, it served a special scenic flight, to Izmir, carrying onboard families affected by the recent earthquake in Turkey.
Turkish Airlines has 12 A350-900s in service, with the first arriving in October 2020. Of these, three are leased from AVIC Aviation. Four jets, delivered in July 2022, were originally built for Aeroflot (SU) but not taken up because of the economic sanctions imposed on Russia due to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war. TK has eight of the type pending delivery.
Pre-COVID Passenger Numbers
TK has reported in its 2022 year traffic results, a 97% recovery of passenger numbers pre-COVID-19 pandemic at 71.8 million passengers. The airline projects to reach 88 million passengers by the end of the year.
This is the biggest ever figure in Turkish Airlines’ and European aviation history. Thanks to the strategies implemented during the pandemic, we projected the boom in the travel demand after the pandemic, and set our plans accordingly. Maintaining our workforce provided us a great advantage when travel restrictions were lifted.
Istanbul Airport has the capacity for over 120 takeoffs and landings an hour. The new airport was a must for our growth. Passengers also preferred to fly with us due to the operational problems faced by European airlines, and this added to our profitability.Ahmet Bolat, CEO, Turkish Airlines.
According to IATA, international passenger traffic experienced year-over-year growth of 152.7% in 2022. The opening of borders and the lifting of travel restrictions has spurred the pent-up solid demand. Turkish Airlines also claims that the recovery in its passenger numbers was partly supported by the new Istanbul Airport opened in 2018.
Established in 1933, Turkish Airlines operates to 342 destinations on four continents. It currently serves 11 destinations in the United States: Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW), Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York City (JFK), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), and Washington, D.C. (IAD). It also flies to Montreal (YUL), Toronto (YYZ), and Vancouver (YVR) in Canada.
Featured Image: Alberto Cucini/Airways