The New York Times - Which European or Middle Eastern airline flies to the most destinations nonstop from a single airport? The answer is Turkish Airlines (THY), which offers direct flights to 189 destinations from Istanbul — 15 more than Lufthansa offers from its giant hub in Frankfurt.
According to anna.aero, an airline route-tracking web site, THY is not just adding destinations at a rapid clip, it is adding passengers, too. Over the 10 years to 2010, it tripled the number of air travelers carried, with increased traffic to North America and Asia playing a large role. Turkish Airlines’ growth is yet another example of what some in the industry are calling the aviation industry earthquake.
“Look at the whole globe and see we always have countries or economies that are growing,” said Horst Findeisen, Vice President of business development for the Star Alliance, of which THY is a member. “Turkey sits in an area where growth is still occurring, and it is developing routes to accommodate that traffic,” he said in a phone interview.
Half of THY’s customers are flying in between 43 domestic airports dotted around Turkey, a country of 72-million people with 775,000 square kilometers of land.
In 2012, THY will open a new, 372,000 square-meter aviation services complex at Sabiha Gokcen Airport, 30 kilometers from Ataturk Airport. It will run its maintenance and repair station in this new location and intends to enter the aircraft-seat manufacturing business there as well. The growth of the airline and of these and other related businesses means the company must add workers at a rate of 10 percent a year and add 250 pilots annually, according to CEO of THY, Temel Kotil.