By Ajong Mbapndah L
With its geographical proximity to Africa, Turkish Airlines considers the continent as one of its most important and convenient destinations ,says Erkan Erdogan, General Manager of the Washington, DC, Office.
Speaking during a recent interactive workshop in Washington, DC, Erkan Erdogan said Turkish Airlines is today the largest non-African Airline operating in Africa with 54 destinations in 34 countries. In addition to flights to ethnic important hubs like Addis Ababa, Asmara, Freetown, Kigali, Mogadishu, Lagos, and Yaoundé, amongst others, Erkan Erdogan said Turkish Airlines also takes pride id servicing exotic destinations like Kilimanjaro, Seychelles, Zanzibar and South Africa.
With Freetown, Sierra Leone, as its newest African destination since February 2018, Erdogan disclosed that the growing popularity of Turkish Airlines with the international traveler saw the company start the year with a record load factor in the company’s history.
To meet the increasing demands of the deluge of passengers transiting through the main hub in Istanbul which has been in full capacity use for several years now, a new airport is in construction, Erkan Erdogan said.
“In its first phase, the new airport will have a capacity to handle 90 million passengers annually and when the final phase is complete, it will have the ability to handle 200 million passengers which would make it one of the largest airports in the world,” said Mr Erdogan.
In addition to running a successful airlines company, Turkish Airlines is also very committed to social responsibility, Mr Erdogan said. From the construction of schools, and clinics to drilling of water wells, in countries affected by drought, the social programs of Turkish Airlines benefit as many as 24 countries, Mr. Erdogan said. Citing the example of the recent drought and famine situation in Somalia, Mr Erdogan indicated that Turkish Airlines ferried in plane loads of supplies like food, water, medicine, and other essential supplies to Mogadishu.
Established in 1933 with 5 aircraft, Turkish Airlines today flies to more countries in the world than any other airlines. With flights to 122 countries, 332 aircrafts, and 305 destinations, the airline carried almost 69 million passengers in 2017. The aim is to carry about 120 million using 500 aircraft by 2023, Erkan Erdogan said.
The Airlines has won numerous prestigious awards and recognitions in the aviation industry. In addition to its fabled lounge in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines has its lounges in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Washington, DC at the Dulles Airport.
Organized in partnership with the Africa Travel Association ATA, the event was attended by a number of African Ambassadors, media, and people from the business community. It was spiced with exquisite Turkish cuisine and a broad presentation on the luxuries that go with traveling via Turkish Airlines by the Regional Marketing Manager Manuel A.Fernandes.