The Chief Executive Board of Star Alliance has voted to accept the membership application of Turkish Airlines. This now clears the way for Turkish Airlines to begin the integration process which will subsequently see the airline become the alliance’s 21st member carrier.
With its fleet of 101 aircraft and network covering destinations in the USA, Europe, Asia and Africa, Turkish Airlines will allow the Star Alliance network to offer customers more than 17,500 daily flights serving 927 airports in 162* countries. Turkish Airlines’ home base, Istanbul, will in future become Star Alliance’s foremost hub at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and act as gateway to various new destinations in Turkey and new connections especially to Central Asia and the Middle East.
“With Turkish Airlines joining Star Alliance, we can offer our customers a wider choice of flight options while at the same time expanding our network reach to areas previously not served. Here specifically, Star Alliance will be in a unique position to offer flight connections through, what has historically been, the gateway to both Asia and Europe,” said Jaan Albrecht, Star Alliance CEO.
For Turkish Airlines, Star Alliance membership will allow the carrier to expand its customer offer in terms of network coverage, frequent flyer benefits, lounges and alliance fare products. At the same time, Turkish Airlines will participate in all Star Alliance initiatives aimed at reducing costs, while at the same time improving customer service, such as collocation at airports, joint lounges, electronic ticketing or joint media purchasing, to name a few.
Dr. Candan Karlıtekin, Chairman of the Turkish Airlines, stated that becoming a Star Alliance member is one of the most important steps in Turkish Airlines’ 73 years long history. Candan Karlıtekin explained that the goal of Turkish Airlines, the rising star in the world aviation sector, is to become more effective in the global market with its vision, experience and service quality.
Candan Karlıtekin said: “Our goal is to become a global brand in the world aviation sector. We believe that we have an important place in the international competition. We are successfully earning a position to compete with the world’s giants. For this reason, being a member of Star Alliance network is a historical milestone for Turkish Airlines. We will add new aircraft to our current fleet of 101. In 2007, we will be the most important brand to represent Turkey in the world.”
Candan Karlıtekin emphasised that the membership of Star Alliance will also add a great value to Istanbul, the home base of Turkish Airlines. Mr. Karlıtekin said “Istanbul, which has been the gateway between Asia and Europe for centuries, now will also be the ‘Bosphorus Bridge of global aviation”. Istanbul’s becoming Star Alliance’s foremost hub at the crossroads of Europe and Asia will contribute greatly to Turkish Airlines and Turkey’s promotion in the world.
Dr. Temel Kotil, the CEO of Turkish Airlines, emphasised that they have shown a much bigger growth than the level of the growth occurred in the aviation sector recently. He stated that Turkish Airlines is the 27th airline company in the world in terms of fleet and it is the airline company showing the greatest growth in Europe during the first nine months of 2006. Temel Kotil further explained that Turkish Airlines has increased its global aviation market share from 0.59% to 1.1% in 2006. He said “Turkish Airlines will bring additional value to both the company and the customers by its membership in Star Alliance. Being a member of the alliance, we will provide many opportunities and advantages to our passengers such as wider flight network, special passenger programmes, worldwide utilisation of lounges and participating in the alliance fare products”.
The integration teams at Star Alliance and Turkish Airlines will now begin the integration process, which should be completed within the next 16 months.