Turkish Airlines Breaks Occupancy Record

On July 15th, Turkish Airlines announced it broke occupancy record by carrying more than 260,000 passengers in one day, marking the busiest day in its history. Let’s have a look at the Turkish flag carrier’s strong recovery.

Turkish Airlines set on full recovery mode

The COVID-19 crisis seems a distant memory for Turkish Airlines, whose traffic is following a strong recovery trend.

On Friday 15th, the airline carried more than 260,000 passengers, with an exceptional occupancy rate of over 87%, and operated 1,543 flights, for a total of 600,944,060 Available Seat Kilometers (ASKs). This represents an increase in capacity of 12% compared to the same period (Friday, July 12th) in 2019. According to OAG, on July 15th, the airline capacity, measured in seats, was deployed as follows:

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  1. Domestic flights: 62,322 seats
  2. International flights: 176,914 seats

Turkish Airlines recovery is following a strong positive trend, with capacity overcoming that of July 2019. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

The most domestic capacity was deployed on the Istanbul to Antalya route (3,979 seats), whereas, for international services, Antalya to Moscow offered the highest number of seats (2,612 seats). In the same period in 2019, the domestic route with the mosts available seats was Istanbul to Ankara, with a total of 3,749, while, for the international services, Tel Aviv to Istanbul dominated the rank, with 1,808 seats. Consequently, it is evident from this data that Turkish Airlines is increasing capacity compared to pre-pandemic times.


According to Saber, in the first five months of 2019, the airline carried 5,054,159 passengers on domestic flights, and 11,656,322 on international services. In the same period in 2022, domestic and international passengers grew by 14% and 8%, respectively. However, in the first five months of 2022, domestic and European operations have both witnessed a reduction of the average base revenue, of 15% and 6%, respectively. On the other hand, intercontinental services yielded 14% more revenues than in 2019.

Turkish Airlines Fleet and Network

According to Cirium, Turkish Airlines currently operates a fleet of 337 aircraft, 184 by the European manufacturer Airbus, and 153 by the American Boeing. The fleet is split as follows:

Master Series In Service On order Storage Total
A319 6 0 0 6
A320 11 0 0 11
A321 64 0 1 65
A321neo 33 55 0 88
B737-800 58 0 0 58
B737-900 14 0 1 15
B737 Max 8 20 2 0 22
B737 Max 9 5 0 0 5
A330-200 22 0 1 23
A330-300 37 0 0 37
B787-9 15 10 0 25
B777-200 8 0 0 8
B777-300 33 0 0 33
A350-900 9 15 0 24
A310 2 0 0 2

Of the total number of aircraft, 317 are used for carrying passengers, while the remaining 20 are destined to cargo operations. In the first two quarters of 2022, Turkish carried a total of 943,158 tonnes of freight, down 13% compared to the same period in 2019.

Such a large fleet of aircraft allows Turkish Airlines to be the carrier that offers the highest number of destinations in the world. According to Cirium, Turkish Airlines currently flies to 274 destinations covering six regions. When it comes to the airline’s network, it is important to highlight the strength of its geographical position, which allows the airline to fly to all of Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, and North and East Africa with its fleet of narrowbody aircraft. Indeed, 55 countries are within 3.5 hours of flight from Istanbul.


Turkish Airlines operates one of the world’s largest fleets, split between Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying.

Besides Europe, which is the region with the highest number of destinations (141), the second most-covered region is Africa, with 49 destinations. This is of particular interest, given the strong growth the African aviation industry is expected to forego in the next 20 years. Indeed, the Boeing Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), which covers a time span until 2041, forecasts an annual growth of 6.1% for domestic traffic flows in Africa, and a 3.4% growth between Africa and Europe. Turkish Airlines will progressively benefit from this projected growth, especially if one considers that, in 2019, it carried 979,916 passengers between Europe and Africa, ranking first among the feeder carriers for this Origin & Destination (O&D) pair.

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A top class airline

In 2021, Turkish Airlines was ranked 6th best airline in Europe by Skytrax. Moreover, in the same year, the carrier was awarded prizes for Best Airline in Southern Europe, Best Business Class Lounge in Europe, Best Economy Class in Europe, and it also received the COVID-19 Airline Excellence Award.

Simple Flying reached out to Turkish Airlines for further comment. We will update the article with any additional announcements from the airline.

Do you think Turkish Airlines recovery will continue to follow this positive trend? Let us know in the comment below!

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