Turkish Airlines (THY) plans to again double in size over the next five years as part of an ambitious new five-year business plan.

The carrier’s chef executive, Temel Kotil, says its new five-year plan envisions THY carrying 40 million passengers and generating $10 billion revenues in 2012 with a fleet of about 200 aircraft.

In its last five-year plan, which ran from 2003 through 2007, the carrier’s traffic doubled to 20 million passengers and revenues jumped from $1.8 billion to $3.7 billion.

Kotil says in the new five-year plan, which the carrier has been working on since late last year, THY will continue to grow at 15% to 20% per annum.

The carrier now operates 102 aircraft and is currently committed to taking another 20, including 18 aircraft this year and two more aircraft early next year. This means the carrier will need about 80 additional aircraft to meet its new five-year business plan.

This will primarily consist of narrowbodies – THY already has a predominately narrowbody fleet with 50 Boeing 737s and 33 Airbus A320 family aircraft.

But Kotil says THY is also looking to acquire within the next two years nine additional long-haul aircraft, which would give it a fleet of 25 Airbus A330/A340s. It currently operates seven A340s and five A330s and is committed to leasing two more A340s this year and two more A330s early next year.

THY is also looking at acquiring by the end of this year 15 70- to 90-seat aircraft for a new regional operation. The airline’s smallest aircraft is now the 124-seat A319 and Kotil says smaller aircraft are needed to support higher frequency services to destinations in Russia and other neighbouring countries.

“Within the five year plan we are considering smaller regional aircraft,” he says. “There is a market there. For certain destinations having high frequency with the machines we are using is not so logical.”

While near-term delivery slots for most regional aircraft types are available, Kotil acknowledges at Airbus and Boeing nearly all delivery slots for the next five years are already taken. But he insists he is not concerned he will have trouble securing the additional narrowobides and widebodies needed to fulfil the carriers’ five-year plan and believes the aircraft can be secured through several lease deals.

He also acknowledges securing widebodies in particularly difficult due to delays in the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 programmes. But he says THY’s plan to expand its widebody fleet to 25 aircraft should be achievable.

“I think we can find several because there is a downturn and in a downturn some carriers lessen their long-haul flights. There are several examples from Europe already,” Kotil says. He hopes to acquire the nine additional long-haul aircraft by the end of next year but it “depends on how big the crisis is on the market”.

The airline has also been evaluating ordering new A350s or Boeing 787s to meet its long-term widebody requirements. Kotil says the board is now looking at this and no decision has yet been made.

Source: flightglobal.com's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news

Source: Flight International