Turkish Airlines flight delays and cancellations
Turkish Airlines lose strike ban protection to avoid delays
Based in the Turkish General Management Building, in the grounds of Ataturk Airport (IST) Istanbul, Turkish Airlines is the fourth largest according to the number of destinations that it flies to, over 240 in more than 100 countries. The airline also owns a small fleet of cargo planes that fly to 47 airports. This is in contrast to its modest beginnings in 1933, when it consisted of five planes, two Curtiss Kingbirds, two Junkers F.13s and a Tupolev ANT-9, and was a department of the ministry of defence. The airline developed as a domestic carrier when it was taken over by the ministry of public works until 1947 when an influx of Douglas DC-3s and C-47s enabled a modest expansion into the international market. Today Turkish Airlines transports over forty eight million passengers a year, travelling a combined total of ninety two billion kilometres. It is now one of the fastest growing carriers in the world.
Airline past tarnished by poor service and delays
During its history, Turkish Airlines has suffered from a reputation of poor customer service, cancellations and delays. This was compounded by a series of high profile hijackings in the 70s and early 80s. Since then Turkish Airlines have waged a major publicity campaign to raise the company’s reputation and profile. Part of this strategy was to ally itself with universally recognised sports stars, culminating in a viral video that starred Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi; that was viewed by more than 101 million viewers. In a similar move, an endorsement by Manchester United soccer team boosted the company’s level of followers on Facebook so that it now ranks in the top five airlines in the World on the social media site.
Turkish government backs down on airline strike
In 2012 the Turkish parliament passed laws that seriously the rights of aviation workers to go on strike, causing massive delays and cancellations. The previous year, industrial action had resulted in over 200 flights being cancelled, affecting in excess of 100,000 passengers, which cost Turkish Airlines almost $2 million. However, protests have since lead to these laws being rescinded, leaving the way open to further delays and disruption as the company negotiates with a belligerent workforce.
Service improvements but compensation claims are still an issue
Despite a poor reputation that will take many years to shake off, Turkish Airlines has been working hard to improve not only its image but its service as well. Their 20 busiest routes during the two month period from mid-June to mid-August, had the following outcomes: 71% flights arrived on time, 14% were classed as late, 6% very late and 6% were excessively late, with zero cancellations according to FlightStats. Although this still leaves room for improvement, and a number of passengers keen to exercise their right to compensation for travel delays, it puts them ahead of most of their competition. In fact, in Turkish Airlines has won the Skytrax Award as Europe’s Best Airline four years in a row, along with a number of other prestigious customer service and catering awards.
Most popular routes
Turkish airlines are rapidly expanding their list of destinations around the world, but these are the countries that currently have the highest numbers of airports that the company flies to. Germany comes top with 13 airports receiving Turkish Airline planes, including Frankfurt (FRA); Russia is next with 10 airports, amongst which is Moscow Sheremetyevo (SVO), Naples (NAP) is one of the nine in Italy, and Saudi Arabia has seven destinations, of which, King Fahd International (DMM) is the busiest.