Turkey : millions of tourists and huge works planned

Turkey was widely acclaimed by European customers this year. It is obvious, unless there is a problem, that this destination will continue to grow in 2019. Turkey will soon host one of the largest airports in the world. And Istanbul adds a fully automated metro line.

Turkey a popular tourist destination

Over 37 million international passengers arrived in Turkey in 2017. In Germany, some TOs have seen the figures rise to 50% compared to 2017. It is therefore to be expected that Turkey will return to being one of the major summer destinations. Hoteliers estimate that the numbers are expected to reach 40 million tourists in 2018. Russians are the main tourists, followed by Germans, English, Iranians and Georgians… The departures of French people to Turkey have increased by 58% but the figures are still low compared to the countries mentioned above.

Politics seems not to disturb tourists

Turkey suffered a sharp drop in tourists, particularly during the bombings in Syria. It seems that only attacks can keep foreign visitors away. The mini attempted coup d’état and the numerous arrests, decided by President Erdogan, did not have a significant impact on tourism. We can sometimes be moved by it, but our job is to make customers travel. No? No?
Finally, Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident journalist who was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, is unlikely to have any impact
on tourism. It may even serve the interests of Turkey, which is closely linked to Iran and Qatar (Saudi Arabia’s pet peeve).

Automated metro in Istanbul

Traffic will improve for Istanbul residents and tourists. The second phase of Istanbul’s first automated metro on the Anatolian side was inaugurated a few days ago and will serve 700,000 passengers per day. By 2023, the total length of the city’s metro lines is expected to exceed 1,000 kilometres.

The Üsküdar-Yamanevler line came into service in December 2017. With the addition of the Üsküdar-Çekmeköy metro line, the total length of the lines in Istanbul currently reaches 170 kilometres and there are currently 169 stops. The length of the metro in Istanbul will reach 355 kilometres very quickly and, when all projects are completed, the length will exceed 1,000 kilometres by 2023.

Erdogan’s major works are gradually advancing

The new Istanbul airport will not be fully open until the end of this year, despite an official ceremony on 29 October. The airport is one of the key components of President Erdogan’s construction programme.

In particular, construction was delayed by demonstrations by workers working on the site. According to several media reports, these workers had appalling working conditions. The demonstrations were severely repressed (as usual).

A gigantic airport for 200 million passengers

Some domestic flights are scheduled for the end of October. The major transfer from Atatürk Airport to this new airport is expected to take place at the end of the year, if all goes well. The new airport, estimated at nearly €10 billion, will be huge. The first phase will have a capacity of 90 million passengers per year, further steps to further expand the airport. It is planned to eventually accommodate 200 million passengers per year. There should be 143 boarding bridges, a 42-km baggage handling system and a parking lot for 25,000 vehicles.

A design to compete with emirates

The airport is also full of symbolism. The transit room has the shape of the Bosporus Strait. The control tower is surprising
in the form of a tulip that would be the symbol of Islam and Istanbul. From a commercial point of view, the airport’s main objective is to help Turkey distinguish itself from the United Arab Emirates as a hub for Eurasian transit.

Turkish Airlines should take this opportunity to evolve further

The Turkish national airline is reported to have carried more than 57 million passengers on domestic and international flights in the first nine months of 2018.

The total number of passengers carried by the airline has increased by 12% year-on-year over the past nine months, the company announced in a press release. During the same period, the airline’s seat occupancy rate increased by 3% to 82%.

Hiring announcement of 500 new pilots

At a ceremony, Bilal Eksi, the head of Turkish Airlines, announced that 500 pilots, including 41 captains and 286 first officers, would be trained by the company. The Turkish company should quickly have at least 1100 pilots, a very large majority of whom are Turkish. According to Bilal Eksi, the national airline will have more than 500 aircraft by 2023. Turkish Airlines has already confirmed a major order for 60 wide-body aircraft from Boeing and Airbus. The airline will have a new long-haul fleet with the addition of 30 Boeing 787-9s and 30 Airbus A350-900s. Turkish Airlines will start receiving its first six aircraft next year.

Serge Fabre

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