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Growing hub

Helen Massy-Beresford talks to Turkish Cargo about its growth plans – and the impact a new airport in Istanbul, a gateway between east and west, will have on its operations

Turkish Airlines’ cargo business, like its passenger activities, is growing – and the operator is making use of growing belly hold capacity, as well as revamped infrastructure, to fuel that growth. Further ahead it is looking forward to the day when a third airport in Istanbul will make it one of the world’s logistics hubs.


The airline, which flies to more than 290 destinations, is looking forward to steady growth on the cargo side, says Halit Anlatan, Turkish Cargo’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing.


“Tonnage-wise, we realised for the first quarter around 8% increase, the market is still steady, we forecast the rest of year will be the same level as last year,” he says.


Turkish Cargo is expanding its dedicated freighter fleet – it currently has eight Airbus A330F and three A310F aircraft and from January will be adding another A330F.


The operator added five new destinations over the summer – Billund in Denmark, Barcelona in Spain, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia – and plans to operate these routes in the winter as well.


The operator has also been looking into the feasibility of adding more new routes in the winter season, Anlatan says.


But increasing bellyhold capacity as passenger routes develop is also key, he explains. “Bellyhold capacity is the critical supporter of Turkish Airlines’ cargo capacity. We offer bellyhold cargo capacity to enrich our cargo network. For instance, in America, we offer cargo capacity with passenger wide bodies in addition to the dedicated freighters. This business model prevents capacity bottlenecks and increases service quality.”


Like any cargo operator, Turkish Cargo is experiencing surges in demand thanks to political and economic factors in different corners of its network. “For example,” says Anlatan, “in Vietnam, cargo demand has increased because of the manufacturing shift from China.” That rise, as manufacturing costs in China force companies to look to shifting their manufacturing capacity to developing economies such as Vietnam, was behind Turkish Cargo’s decision to add a freighter route to Vietnam’s economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City, Anlatan says.


“Cambodia is another market in which cargo demand has increased… so we planned Phnom Penh in summer 2016 and we will increase the weekly frequency in July,” he adds.


“America is another critical region for us. As Turkish Cargo, we started to operate the scheduled cargo flights to North America in the summer 2015 season with Chicago O’Hare cargo flights. After getting into the North American market successfully, we started New York JFK and Atlanta cargo flights. On the passenger side, our operations with widebody aircraft to Miami have also started in the winter 2015 season.”


Closer to home, Turkish Cargo is planning to increase cargo capacity to some European destinations. “And in the Middle East, due to the demand, especially of America, there is increased import demand, so this region is critical for us to meet the import demand,” Anlatan says. “In Africa, we serve both the export and import destinations. So, from this region, we offer cargo to the European destinations, and in this region we provide import cargo capacity from other destinations.” >>

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