BY AYSEL YUCEL
The flag carrier Turkish Airlines’ (THY) subsidiary Turkish Cargo grew by 31.2% in the first four months of 2021, compared to the same period of the previous year, while the global air cargo market expanded by 15.2% in the same period, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The international trade, which accelerated with the expansion of vaccines increased air cargo transportation. The total cargo traffic exceeded 1 million tons at Turkish airports in the first five months of 2021 including 198,240 tons at domestic terminals and 860,448 tons at international terminals, according to the General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMI). The total cargo traffic stood at 922,000 tons in January-May 2020. Turkish Cargo will become one of the world’s top three air cargo carrier after the company’s cargo facility SmartIST becomes operational, according to Ilker Ayci, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Turkish Airlines (THY).
Carried 742,000 tons cargo in January-May
Turkish Cargo carried 742,000 tons of cargo and post in the first five months of 2021. The total cargo volume rose by 29% in January-May compared to the same period of 2019 and by 27% compared to the same period of 2020. “The global air cargo market grew by 15.2%, while Turkish Cargo caught a 31.2% growth in January-April 2021, compared to the same period of 2020. These figures show that we delivered a growth performance above the market average,” said Ayci.
THY, which organized 8,563 flights with cargo aircrafts alongside of 2,900 flights by converting airliners to cargo aircrafts, carried over 1.5 million tons of cargo in total. Turkish Cargo raised its global market share to 5% while 1 out of each 20 air cargo in the world is carried by the company. “12 units of Boeing 777 and Airbus 330 airliners continue to serve to Turkish Cargo. Alongside of them, we also evaluate the cargo capacity of THY airliner fleet transporting passengers alongside of 25 cargo aircrafts,” Ayci added.
Aims to be among top 3 air cargo firm
Turkish Cargo aims to be one of the world’s top three air cargo carriers as well as one of the world’s top three ‘air bridges’, according to Ayci. That’s why the company will continue to expand its fleet. “We plan to keep the existing capacity in 2021,” he noted.
Turkish Cargo plans to relocate to its cargo facility SmartIST located at Istanbul Airport by this year, while construction works of the facility continues. Ayci said SmartIST will make a major contribution to the company’s goal to be among the world’s top three air cargo companies. SmartIST will have 2-million-ton capacity at the first phase, and it will reach a total capacity of 4 million tons on an area of 340,000 square meters when the second phase is completed.