Turkish Airlines has been at the forefront of the push to make Birmingham a truly global city.
The principal sponsor of the Birmingham Post Business Awards was established in 1933 with just five aeroplanes.
It now has a young fleet of 233 aircraft flying to 239 cities around the world.
With hubs in Istanbul and Ankara Turkish Airlines offers Birmingham passengers the chance to join a global network.
The Star Alliance member increased its flights to Istanbul from seven to ten a week in April, providing onward connections to 221 destinations worldwide, helping Birmingham Airport passenger numbers reach nine million this year, after enjoying the second busiest month in its history in August.
The increase in flights – double the number two years ago – will transport more than 150,000 people from Birmingham to Istanbul this year, despite first launching at the airport at the start of the recession.
As one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, Turkish Airlines holds a strategic position between east and west.
Flights from Birmingham to Turkey – one of the world’s most rapidly-growing economies – have increased amid strong demand from business and leisure travellers.
Istanbul is tipped to become one of the world’s major financial centres, with Olympic bids and £12 billion infrastructure plans in the offing, and the service has proven popular with business people travelling there, and to the Middle East and South Asia.
Selim Ozturk, general manager for Turkish Airlines in Birmingham, estimated about half of passengers were flying for business but said the city’s multicultural population had also helped.
“We started a few years back with five a week and last year it increased to seven and now we are saying 10,” he said.
“There is big demand in the Midlands. We have confidence in the Midlands and hopefully we will be making it double-daily in the future.
“Birmingham has a big ethnic population. There are a lot of Pakistani people and people from India, some other Middle East countries, as well as some from Africa – Somalia and Kenya. Geographically, a location like Istanbul allows you to reach the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa easily within four hours.”
Plans are afoot to make Istanbul the world’s largest airport, capable of holding 150 million passengers at a time.
The country is keen to build on strong growth. Its economy grew by more than eight per cent in both 2010 and 2011, although that fell to 2.2 per cent last year.
Paul Noon, regional director for Government exporting body UK Trade & Investment West Midlands, said: “An increased number of flights to Turkey from Birmingham is great news.
“Turkey is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and more than 2,000 British companies are already doing business, to the value of £9 billion.
“With its large, young and well-educated population of nearly 77 million, Turkey presents significant business opportunities in education, creative industries, advanced engineering, financial, business services, ICT, energy, sport and leisure, construction, rail and ports.
“While the size of the domestic market offers immense opportunities, Turkey is also a springboard for companies seeking to enter central Asian and Middle Eastern markets.”
Back in Birmingham, Aston Villa has agreed a deal with Turkish Airlines to make the growing firm its official airlines partner for the 2013-14 season in an undisclosed deal.
In order to keep its brand equity alive, the four-star airline invests in its quality of service, in-flight entertainment systems, comfortable seats, gourmet cuisine and its employees.
It is also at the forefront of the latest technological advances and innovations in the aviation industry and boasts one of the youngest fleets.
As the airline expands its routes and number of aircraft, continuous training of its employees is of the utmost importance in ensuring the safety of its passengers.
Turkish Airlines regards flight safety and service quality as indispensable and consistently strives to secure a five-star ranking. Furthermore it maintains its goal of becoming a regional leader and a prominent global airline, preferred for its unparalleled service, superior quality, trustworthiness and reliability.
In addition to Europe, Turkish Airlines is also strategically expanding its network into Russia, central Asia, far east Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North and South America.
One of the fastest growing airlines, it has received several Passenger Choice Awards from the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX).
In 2013, Turkish Airlines, for the third consecutive year, was named Best Airline in Europe by customers at the 2013 World Airline Awards Skytrax.
A winner of the World’s Best Economy Class On-Board Catering award, Turkish Airlines was also the recipient of the Skytrax Best Business Class Catering award in 2013.
The global airline won the SkyTrax Award, known as the Passengers’ Choice Awards, for the Best Airline in Southern Europe in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
And in 2012, Skytrax named Turkish Airlines Best Premium Economy Seats in the world for its Comfort Class seats.
True to its tag line Globally Yours, Turkish Airlines flies to more countries in the world than any other airline, 104 countries in over five continents, according to UMB’s Official Airline Guide.
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