How Much More Can Turkish Airlines Grow?

Turkish Airlines is managing a really successful feat. The airline offers more destinations to its passengers than any other air carrier out there. That’s impressive, but with such an extensive network, where is the room for Turkish Airlines to grow?

Turkish Airlines A321neo
Where else can Turkish Airlines grow? Photo: Airbus

64.6% of the world’s countries visited

Turkish Airlines proudly flies to more countries in the world than any other airline. The carrier operates direct flights to 126 countries and over 317 destinations. That’s no mean feat! But with such amazing growth since its inception in 1933, where else can Turkish Airlines branch into?

Well, the truth is that Turkish Airlines has not covered every single destination on the planet. Where there are still airports with slots, Turkish Airlines still has the opportunity to invest. Let’s start by taking a look at its route network.

Turkish Airlines’ strategic position in the world means that it is able to access practically all countries without significant effort. However, it would appear that Australasia really is just that bit too far. Turkish Airlines has not invested at all in this area. Thankfully for the airline, it codeshares with airlines that can get passengers to Australia and New Zealand, for example, Air New Zealand and Malaysia Airlines.

Could Turkish Airlines make the leap into Australia? Or even to Chile? Photo: Great Circle Mapper

Further expanding into Australasia

But if it’s already got that infrastructure set up, why would Turkish Airlines be interested in setting those connections up within its own airline? Well, if the interest is there it might be better for Turkish Airlines to directly profit from the service. It would develop the network even further and also allow its passengers a more seamless and consistent service.

That said if Turkish Airlines continues to codeshare it could still benefit from offering its passengers more destinations around Australia and New Zealand. At the moment it offers just eight destinations including, Wellington, Christchurch, Sydney, and Melbourne.

But it’s not just in Australasia that the airline could develop. It operates in only four countries in South America; Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil. When it comes to Central America, Turkish Airlines only flies to Panama and to Cuba in the Caribbean islands. Turkish Airlines appears to be doing well at offering destinations in Africa which other carriers find less profitable but it could still make the most of the above-mentioned more popular holiday destinations.

Fleet expansion

But will it make the leap? Turkish Airlines has always remained conscious of its sustainability. Announcing the addition of Mexico City to its route network back in August 2019, Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee at Turkish Airlines, M. İlker Aycı said in a press release:

“We continue to expand the borders of our flight network within the framework of our growth strategy.”

The airline wants growth but it wants it sensibly and sustainably. Regardless, if Turkish Airlines did want to invest in some of the aforementioned destinations, it would need the aircraft.

Boeing MAX aircraft with Turkish Airlines livery
The MAX grounding has negatively affected Turkish Airlines. Photo: Boeing

Since the grounding of the Boeing MAX, Turkish Airlines has been slightly hampered incurring debt and rendering defunct 11 of its fleet. That’s in addition to the aircraft that it has on order. But, when those aircraft arrive it will be able to tackle some of those new destinations. But not only abroad. With the help of the narrow-bodied aircraft like this and the A320 family, Turkish Airlines could invest more heavily in its own domestic operations as well as further expanding in the region.

A350-900, Turkish Airlines
The A350 could help Turkish Airlines make up the difference and fly into destinations requiring long-range. Photo: Airbus

And when it comes to fleet expansion, the delivery of Turkish Airlines’ A350s makes things more interesting. It’s already announced 4 routes to London, Dubai, Los Angeles, and Seoul. But these are only the first of some 25 A350 aircraft expected to arrive at the airline. And, with long-range capacities, could we see Turkish Airlines targetting some of those South Pacific or South American destinations? What do you think?

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