Flying high at the Bosphorus
By mid-2019 had become clear that most freight operators are flagging, compared to the strong previous year. The biggest exception to this trend is Turkish Airlines.
A rather symbolic series of events took place in southeastern Europe recently. Dobrila, an 18-month-old griffon vulture from the Uvac gorge in Serbia, clearly identifiable thanks to its banding, ran out of puff in the southern Turkish province of Sanliurfa, as it was on its way to its Serbian wintering region. It had already flown around 1,600 km when it was found, exhausted, by local farmers. They took it to an animal shelter, where it was found to be too drained to continue its journey. So the Turkish and Serbian authorities decided to help the rare bird of prey on its way home. Turkish Cargo, which has extensive animal-handling experience, was mandated to transport Dobrila from Turkey’s border with Syria to Belgrade, via Istanbul.
When others run out of puff
This is not the only context in which the airline is currently showing its strengths. In the World Air Transport Statistics for 2018 (Wats), published by Iata at the end of July, it once again shone. It recorded the highest growth rate of the world’s 25 largest freight airlines.
Many of Turkish Cargo’s competitors have faced a decline in business in 2019; the trend for the Turkish flag carrier’s freight unit, in contrast, has continued to point upwards. According to the analyst WorldACD, global airfreight volumes fell by almost 5% in the first half of the year, compared to H1 of the previous year. Turkish Cargo registered steady increases, however – in May it even grew by 7.1%. Turkish Cargo cited the Americas (+34%) as one of its largest growth markets, with the Far East (+19%) and its Middle East / South Asia region (+12%) in second and third places.