This year will see significant milestones for both Türkiye and the country’s flag carrier, Turkish Airlines.

Turkish Airlines aircraft tail at night
Photo: Aermedia | Shutterstock

Just 20 years ago, Turkish Airlines had 60 aircraft in its fleet. Today, it is the ninth-largest airline in the world in terms of fleet size, operating a total of 391 aircraft and flying to more destinations worldwide than any other carrier.

And there is still further growth to come – Türkiye’s flag carrier will shortly take delivery of its 400th aircraft, in the same year that the country will celebrate its 100th birthday. By the end of 2023, the size of the airline’s fleet is expected to reach 427 aircraft.

Turkish Airlines’ CEO, Ahmet Bolat, celebrated the impressive expansion, saying,

“As THY, we were flying to 53 countries, 104 cities, and 106 destinations in 2003. With the capacity expansions we have made, there are currently 129 countries, 337 cities, and 342 destinations in our flight network. With this network, we continue to grow as the airline that flies to most countries in the world. We procured our one-hundredth plane in 2006, our 200th in 2012, and we took delivery of our 300th plane in 2016. On the 100th anniversary of our republic, we will have our 400th plane.”

Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-300

Photo: Vladimir Zhupanenko | Shutterstock

Growing passenger and cargo operations

Turkish Airlines carried 71.8 million passengers in 2022, reaching 96.7% of its pre-pandemic levels. This figure is set to increase to 88 million for 2023 – a significant rise from the 10.4 million passengers the airline saw in 2003.

The airline’s cargo operations have experienced similar exponential growth. In 2003, the airline transported just over 100,000 tons of cargo. By 2022, this figure had risen to 1.6 million tons, and thanks to the airline’s new cargo facility, it will soon have an annual cargo capacity of 4 million tons.

Turkish Airlines Cargo Airbus A330

Photo: EvrenKalinbacak | Shutterstock

A young, efficient fleet

The most common narrowbody aircraft in Turkish Airlines’ fleet is the Boeing 737-800, of which there are 84. When looking at the most numerous widebody aircraft, the airline boasts 37 Airbus A330-300s, followed by 33 Boeing 777-300ERs.

The Star Alliance member airline prides itself on flying a young and efficient fleet – according to data from, the average age of Turkish Airlines’ aircraft is just 8.9 years old. The carrier’s ongoing fleet renewal strategy will ensure that this trend continues, as highlighted by Bolat, who said,

“As we take delivery of new planes, and planes that have completed their operational life abandon the fleet, we will both increase this rate and reduce our fleet age.”

Turkish Airlines aircraft on the ground at Istanbul Airport

Photo: Markus Mainka | Shutterstock

In addition to receiving its 400th aircraft, this year will see another significant event for Turkish Airlines. The carrier is now the official sponsor of the UEFA Champion’s League, and in June 2023, Istanbul will host the final of the sporting event. To celebrate the partnership, the airline will soon debut a special livery on one of its Airbus A330-300s.

Have you flown on Turkish Airlines? If so, which route and aircraft did you fly on? Do you envisage further growth for the airline in the future? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below.

  • Turkish Airlines A330

    Turkish Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Istanbul Airport

    Year Founded:

    Star Alliance

    Bilal Ekşi



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