Security concerns push Turkish Airlines into massive loss

Sunday 08/05/2016
Difficult environment

ISTANBUL (Turkey) - Turkish flag carrier Turkish Airlines on Tuesday posted a massive loss as concerns over security in Turkey and the region took their toll on the ambitious airline.

Turkish Airlines said its net loss in the first quarter amounted to $421 million, compared with a net profit of $153 million in the same period last year.

Sales were $2.188 billion, down 1.4 percent from the first quarter last year, it added.

"The political and economic instabilities... and increasing perceived global and regional risks in Turkey and Europe have a negative impact on aviation demand and placed additional pressure on yields in a seasonally low quarter," it said.

Tourism to Turkey is down this year with a succession of attacks in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities blamed on Kurdish and Islamist militants hitting visitor numbers.

But Turkish Airlines -- which is now the country's biggest exporter -- will despite the loss "continue to manage its healthy and profitable growth," the company promised.

The airline said it was planning to take delivery of 43 new aircraft in 2016 and will reach a market share of 2.1 percent by the end of the year, making it the 10th largest airline in the world.

It added that despite the difficult environment, it had realised a capacity growth of 19 percent in the first quarter which saw the launch of new routes to destinations including Atlanta and Panama.

The airline had in recent quarters been able impress markets with high profitability, posting full-year net profits topping $1 billion for the first time in its history in 2015.

Turkish Airlines has grown exponentially in the last decade. In 2005, it carried 14.1 million passengers but in 2015 took 61.2 million passengers.

The government used to entirely control Turkish Airlines but share offerings over the last decade have reduced its stake to 49 percent.