In a major shift, Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) is about to enter a new phase as its two subsidiaries, a budget carrier and an air freight transporter, are set to continue operations as separate companies, according to the THY 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 Friday 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 partnership offers.”
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. It was named Europe’s best air cargo brand at the 2020 Air Cargo News Awards in November.
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 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 from January 2020 to October 2020, while the global market volume nosedived by 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 the January-October 2019 period.
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.