Although the aviation industry took a hard hit in 2020, Turkish Airlines distinguished itself with a relatively impressive financial performance. According to CAPA, Turkish Airlines was the busiest aircraft carrier in Europe during the pandemic, and one of the top five airlines in the world. This was achieved by a series of astute maneuvers, which allowed the airline to maintain liquidity, keep costs at a manageable level and adapt to the “new normal”.
Turkish Airlines successfully ended the fiscal year 2020 with 6.7 billion USD revenue, which accounts for 50% of the preceding year’s level, with a net loss of only 836 million USD. During these uncertain times, the airline was also able to maintain its robust route network. According to Eurocontrol, in April 2021 Turkish Airlines operated an average of 685 flights per day – almost double the number of the closest competitor in Europe, Lufthansa. In 2020, Turkish Airlines flew 28 million passengers with an impressive load factor of 71%. The new Istanbul Airport also stayed on top: even with a 68% loss of traffic, it was still Europe’s most successful airport in December 2020.
This success is based on cost cutting activities, capex reduction and active capacity management. In fact, Turkish Airlines achieved such performance without relying on any governmental cash injections. Furthermore, agreements with Boeing and Airbus on fleet growth will further decrease the aircraft financing needs of Turkish Airlines by around 7 billion USD in the coming years.
“Our success as the best performing flag-carrier airline in Europe is not coincidental. Apart from the multiple measures we took, we owe this success to our dedicated staff. Its exceptional sense of unity is what sets Turkish Airlines apart: together as a family, we decided that no member of the Turkish Airlines family would be left behind during this crisis.”, says Turkish Airlines’ Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, M. İlker Aycı.
Turkish Airlines also turned the pandemic into an opportunity to increase its cargo operations. In the past year, the airline reconfigured 50 of its passenger aircraft to increase its cargo fleet capacity and become the 6th largest air cargo company in the world. This allowed Turkish Airlines to deliver 50,000 tons of medical supplies, including more than 45 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, to destinations all over the world.