The elections in Turkey are over and the result is really no surprise to most of us. How life will continue there remains to be seen. The election has so far not affected Turkish Airlines Cargo and their plans for the future. They continue to march ahead despite recent discussions in Istanbul to spin off Turkish Cargo into a separate company.
Fleet expansion continues unabated
Turkish have successfully created a mid-Eastern passenger and cargo hub in Istanbul and will along with all other carriers operating out of Ataturk Airport, move over to the new Istanbul Airport at the end of October this year.
The carrier in the meantime operates an impressive fleet of both passenger and cargo aircraft, whereby the belly and all cargo capacity they offer grows continually.
In total, TK has more than 320 short, medium and long-haul aircraft on their books. The cargo fleet is impressive when compared to that of some of their rivals in the area. Eighteen freighters, which include three leased B747Fs are presently in use. A further three B777Fs are on order which will eventually probably replace the aging three Airbus A310Fs and the remaining A300F. The backbone of the cargo fleet will then be made up of nine modern A330 freighters along with five B777Fs. In addition, the passenger fleet, of which there are 277 aircraft, offers considerable cargo capacity in the bellies of their 35 B777 and 62 A330 long haul fleet.
Plenty aircraft need plenty work
Whereas many other carriers are still mulling the importance of eCommerce for their operations, Turkish Cargo has taken steps to ensure that they can become an important player in this ever-growing market segment.
It will be important for TK Cargo to ensure that the new airport becomes an attractive eCommerce transit point in the area. In this respect they are in close combat with their colleagues in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The new Istanbul Airport will offer plenty of opportunities for eCommerce handling in the future as it will give present and fu-ture users ample space to expand on the cargo side. As TK’s fleet continues to grow, the carrier will need to fill more and more belly space in the years to come.
Joint-venture with ZTO Express paves the way
Forward thinking was surely a factor when back in 2016 the Turkish Post joined with Hong Kong-based GSA PAL Express in order to launch a B2C postal express service.
Plans have moved ahead in this region whereby Turkish Airlines, Pal Express and China’s large express delivery outfit, ZTO Express, have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a joint venture integrator company with its base in Hong Kong. The company which will be named Global Ekspres will according to reports out of Hong Kong, concentrate on door-to-door delivery, warehouse management and supply chain management. Turkish Cargo aims to be an important player in this future J/V and wants to be instrumental in making the venture work. It is interesting to note that Alibaba and their logistics arm, Cainiao were taking a 10% share in ZTO Express, valued at US$1.38 billion. The circle closes.
In this respect, TK’s chairman, Ilker Ayci is reported to have said that Turkish Airlines is willing to commit its cargo fleet to the venture and he does not rule out that TK cargo’s fleet could expand further to accommodate future eCommerce demand. There are plans in Istanbul to spin off Turkish Cargo into a separate company in the near future.
The Turkish managers will be keeping their fingers crossed that the economy gets back on a firm footing and that the Turkish Lira does not continue to decline further. Aspects which are important if future plans are to be successful.
John Mc Donagh