Interview of Fineko/abc.az with the head of the Baku office of Turkish Airlines Seyfullah Ilyas.
-How do you assess the activities of Turkish Airlines in 2018? How many passengers were carried since the beginning of the year?
- In 2018, Turkish Airlines achieved a significant increase in passenger turnover. So, while in the period of January-May of 2017 the company carried 24.6 million passengers, in the first five months of the current year we already served 29.3 million passengers, which is equivalent to almost 20% growth. It should be also noted that about 50% of them are transit passengers.
-What are the destinations that Turkish Airlines flies to and are there any plans to expand the network this year?
- Turkish Airlines currently flies to 304 worldwide destinations in 122 countries in Europe, Asia, Middle-East, The Americas and Africa. Our latest newly opened destination is Comoros Union and within this year and/or in the beginning of the next one we plan to open flights to Banjoul (Gambia) and Marrakech (Morocco) in the near future.
- It is known that the new Istanbul airport (Istanbul Yeni Havalimanı) will be opened on October 29. So how this event will affect the activities of Turkish Airlines?
- The opening of the new, the largest airport in the world, will have a positive impact on the activities of Turkish Airlines, will simplify and modernize passport and luggage control procedures, landing and debarkation of passengers. We also plan to increase the number of flights and, of course, the passenger turnover. The operating Ataturk Airport annually serves up to 80 million passengers, after the complete commissioning of the new airport, 200 million passengers will be carried in a year. Turkish Airlines is also distinguished by the quality of services rendered to passengers, both on land and in the air, the new airport and the conditions created there will make the services attractive for every passenger, especially in Turkish Airlines Lounge zone.
- How the plans for expanding the network of flights and increase of the number of passengers will affect the company's fleet renewal?
- Turkish Airlines fleet updates constantly. Right now, the company's fleet consists of 325 aircraft and we aim to increase the number of airliners to 500 by 2023. The Turkish Airlines fleet consists of Airbus A330, Boeing 777, orders for the purchase of wide body aircraft Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and Airbus 350-900 have already been implemented.
- How do you evaluate the activity of Turkish Airlines in Azerbaijan, and are there any plans to expand operating flights?
- Turkish Airlines has already been operating in Azerbaijan for 28 years, and this destination is one of the priority given the existing positive bilateral relations. And the company's activity in the country is constantly developing. At present, 4 flights are being operated between our countries. by Turkish Airlines. Passengers mainly use our services for business and medical tourism, students and other passengers are also our active users. The flights are carried out to Baku airports, as well as twice a week to the airports of Ganja and Nakhichevan.
Also, sponsorship of Turkish Airlines of the local football team "Neftçi" is yet another proof of the beneficial cooperation and activities in Azerbaijan.
The main source of economic growth in Azerbaijan still is the oil and gas sector. Although the government has already focused on diversifying its economy in the recent years, the pandemic in combination with the oil price crash showed how fragile the economy still is.
The audit sector also supports these measures. Supporting the measures taken in the country, the Chamber of Auditors recommended member audit organizations and independent auditors to delay the execution of audit contracts as much as possible and to work remotely as appropriate in order to prevent the risk of coronavirus.
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