Turkish Airlines continues to grow globally and now serves more destinations than any other airline. The company is increasing its presence in the U.S., adding new gateways to its network across North America.
Turkish Airlines (TK) is keen to expand its US network: as of October 25, 2015 it is going to inaugurate direct flights from Istanbul to Miami on daily basis. Furthermore, from May 16, 2016, it will launch Atlanta flights. There are no official decisions yet, but the next expansion could be in Dallas, Memphis and Seattle. TK's current US gateways include: New York, Chicago, Dallas,Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin and Houston.
“The opening of our Atlanta gateway means that we will now be connecting the World’s Busiest Airport to the World with only one connection, Istanbul. We believe that the level of award-winning service and amenities we provide will continue to add a significant value to the passenger experience and what travelers have come to expect from long-haul international flights.” said Ahmet Olmustur, CMO of Turkish Airlines.
The load factor on flights to the US is more than 90 per cent which is an exceptionally good industry number. "We have a very strong demand, but we need to work out a good and appropriate business plan for each new destination, once it is solid, the plans will be published. Very often aircraft and crew availability is the most important factor for our expansion to new destinations.", says Levend Arisoy, General Manager Hungary.
The Turkish Airlines hub at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport is a geographically attractive, “natural” transfer point that offers connections to over 140 cities within a 3-hour flight. From this airport passengers can easily reach the Middle East, CIS Central Asian countries and Africa. These areas have no strong transportation option to the US and the airline can serve as a bridge between the already existing US gateways and its strongholds. Turkish Airlines argues it has the largest global network as it offers more destinations than any other airline. "Actually one can fly to more than 276 cities in the world with TK, among them Khujand, the second city of Tajikistan, Erbil in Iraq or Sepha in Lybia, just to name a few, which are not even on the map of the traditional carriers."- the General Manager added.
According to Skytrax around 20 million customers voted Turkish Airlines the Best airline in Europe last year and the airline is proud to be number one for the fifth consecutive year. The manager believes this is the best proof that Turkish Airlines offers better service than its European competitors.
"Hungarian customers traveling to Far East often fly first to London or Amsterdam. We thought why not to offer the same system to passengers searching for US destinations. We advise them to fly to the US via Istanbul. The overall flight time to US destinations is just a little bit more than the competition can offer, but the lower price, the increased number of destinations and the better service compensate. Most large airlines do fly to New York, Washington or Chicago, but only a handful offer niche destinations like Houston or Boston, as we do", he argued.
Business travelers are keen to have advantages. Turkish Corporate Club (TCC) has many added values, like a small discount in tariffs, but the most popular features are the free changes, usage of CIP lounges for economy class travelers and added access baggage allowance of 10 kilos. A new on board mail order system has been introduced, where items may be ordered using bonus miles earned as well as regular shopping options.
"We constantly improve our inflight service, our award winning Turkish Do&Co Catering company is constantly training more and more inflight chefs, so many of our larger narrow body aircraft have this service now too. On long-haul flights we provide a fully flat bed, free of charge WIFI and live broadcasting of Turkish Premier League Soccer games.", Levend Arisoy added.
The Atatürk airport is also home to Turkish Airlines’ award-winning lounge, opened five years ago, which caters to virtually every passenger need whether it’s to sit quietly or find activities that help pass the pre-flight time. The lounge concept provides a wide range of activities and services that will bring additional satisfaction to customers with diverse requirements.
Customers reaction to the lounge service has been unbelievable as most of them spend much more time before their long-haul flight than earlier, without having a chance to visit an exclusive facility like this in the Turkish capital. The two-floor lounge occupies 6,000 square meters in a state-of-the-art building and offers all modern services which are available on the market: private rooms for sleeping, massage, shower rooms, fine dining, golf simulator and IT-facilities.
"We opened our first international lounge in Moscow last year. As the CIP lounge concept is very successful we are considering opening more in busy airports around the world. We think we can start with cities where we have several daily departures with high business and frequent flyer volume. Large cities will definitely be targeted. However, these are very costly investments, so we carefully examine the possibilities before we jump", the manager emphasized.
Turkish Cargo has a new terminal in Istanbul and a gateway in Chicago. The airline constantly modernizes its facilities, but Istanbul Atatürk Airport is getting overcrowded. A real expansion is planned once the new Istanbul Airport opens by 2018.
Benefiting from Star Alliance
TK also benefits from its membership in the Star Alliance, a strong group of leading European, Asian and American carriers. Complementing the network expansions, member carriers are deepening their bilateral cooperation by signing code-share agreements. TK has such an agreement with the US member, United Airlines and some other partners in this group, including EVA Air. In parallel to this organic network growth, the Alliance continues to monitor market developments and will seize opportunities for membership expansion if they arise.With customer service improvement at the very heart of its activities, the member airlines are looking for joint initiatives that will deliver a better experience – often by introducing new behind the scenes technology to improve transactions among the carriers.
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