ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkey s flag carrier Turkish Airlines, which has grown exponentially in the last decade, said Wednesday its net profit more than doubled last year and was targeting 15 percent growth in passenger capacity in 2015.
Turkish Airlines said in a statement that its full year net profits in US dollar terms for 2014 were $845 million, up 137 percent from last year s figure of $357 million.
Total sales rose 12.6 percent to $11 billion from $9.8 billion the year earlier, it added.
It said that in 2014, Turkish Airlines recorded passenger capacity growth of 16.3 percent, significantly above the industry growth rate of 5.6 percent for the same period.
The company indicated that it was planning to carry on its fast growth in 2015, targeting an increase in its passenger capacity by 15 percent.
A string of new destinations are set to include Bogota and San Francisco in the Americas, Manila in Asia, Juba in Africa and Porto in Europe.
The new routes by Turkish Airlines, which flies to more destinations than any other carrier, will bring the total number ofdestinations to 273 in 2015, it said in a statement.
With the passenger load factor expected to be above 80 percent, the total number of passengers carried is targeted to reach to 63.2 million in 2015.
The airline carried 54.7 million passengers in 2014 which was itself up 13.3 percent and making it the second largest carrier in Europe according to passengers.
Turkish Airlines is now carrying some five times the number of passengers it did just 10 years ago. In 2004 it carried 11.9 million people.
The company has over the last decade become one of Turkey s success stories with fast expanding growth from its Istanbul hub under the rule of former premier now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The government used to entirely control Turkish Airlines but share offerings over the last decade have reduced its stake to 49 percent.
The airline said in documents published for investors that its current fleet of 261 planes is expected to expand to 293 aircraft in 2015. By 2021, the airline projects having 435 aircraft.
Board chairman Hamdi Topcu said in Istanbul that the company, including subsidiaries, plans capital expenditure of $3.7 billion in 2015.
However he doused speculation that Turkish Airlines may be about to purchase or lease an A380 super jumbo aircraft from Airbus, saying there was no board decision on this issue.
“Turkish Airlines will not be operating an A380 aircraft in 2015,” the company quoted him as saying.
But he added the company “has the talent to include any type of aircraft to its fleet and there are ongoing negotiations for all types of aircraft.”
He confirmed the severe effects of last week s snowy conditions in Istanbul which resulted in the cancellation of 1,268flights.
The cost to the company was estimated to be 26 million euros ($29.5 million), he added.