Turkish Airlines is the national flag carrier airline for Turkey and it is based at Ataturk Airport in Bakirkoy, Istanbul. It has services to 302 destinations in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe and it is the fourth largest carrier in the world by destinations served. In fact it served more non-stop destinations than any other European airline, flying to 120 countries which is more than any other.
The airline was established in 1933 when it was called State Airlines Administration and was a department of the Ministry of National Defence. Back then it had five planes which seated between four and ten people. In 1935 it was turned over to the Ministry of Public Works and renamed General Directorate of State Airlines and in 1938 became part of the Ministry of Transportation.
After the war there were changes too. The carrier had been set up for domestic use and so it was now able to get back into this role. It expanded its flights to Ankara-Istanbul-Athens and then soon added Nicosia, Beirut and Cairo but domestic flights were its mainstay until the 1960’s. It also had a name change and joined the International Air Transport Association. British Overseas Airways Corporation took up a share and supplied technical support. New aircraft were also added to the fleet, including a jet in 1967 and then three more in 1971.
During the 1980’2 and 1990’s there were problems though. It got an image for poor customer service and delays and there were a series of accidents as well as hijackings. When the new government came into power in 1983 they recognised the importance of the airline as an ambassador to the country and begin making over the airline. It improved security and improved it fleet. It also had a new technical center which maintained aircraft and by the mid 1980’s it had a fleet of 30 aircraft and it was the country’s biggest source of foreign currency. In 1987 and 1988 it made losses due to the purchase of Airbus A310s which allowed flights to Singapore and new York City.
Following the Persian Gulf war and the subsequent global aviation crisis they suffered and did not manage to break even until 1994 but soon after business boomed again when more North American destinations being added. In 2000 a new terminal opened for the airline at Istanbul Ataturk Airport and they extended their reach by making agreements with other airlines. After the September 11 attacks they laid off 300 management staff and 400 part-timers as well as cutting wages by 10% but managed to survive by cutting loss making routes. In 2003 some routes were closed due to the Iraq war and the SARS epidemic caused routes to be closed to Asia. In 2004 they expanded their fleet and spent more on their technical and training facility at Sabiha Gokcen International Airport. Despote facing competition as the market liberalised, tourism was booming some of the shares of the company were publically traded to earn money for the government. There were problems following the 2016 Turkish coup d’eat attempt when flights from Turkey to USA were banned and losses were announced as well as cuts in services.
The airline won the Skytrax award for Europe’s best Airline and the World’s Best Premium Economy Class Airline in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and retained title as top European airline in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Despite being such a successful airline in terms of customer service there are still sometimes problems such as delays, cancellations and overbooking which effect customers. It is worth knowing that you can claim up to 600 euros in compensation if you are effected by any of these.
As the airline is based in the EU then it is subject to the EU regulation 261/2004 which refers to compensation. It is quite complicated as compensation can only be given in certain specific circumstances. However, it is worth finding out whether you qualify. Basically, when it comes to delays, if your flight arrives more than three hours later than scheduled then you could get compensated for this by the airline. If the flight is cancelled due to a fault with the airline, then you should get a refund or alternative tickets and you could also be able to get compensation. If the flight is overbooked and you are forced off, then you could also get some. The amount that you are compensated will depend on the length of the flight and how long the delay was but it could be up to 600 euros per passenger so it is worth looking into. It does not have to be a recent flight either, you can claim back to flights that you took five years ago. However, some delays or cancellations do not have to be compensated for, it all depends whether it is seen as the fault of the airline or not.
So if you have arrived late after a flight was delayed, cancelled or you were forced to not fly by the airline, then it is worth finding out whether you are due some compensation and how much. It is fairly simple to do this, although some people do have to go to court to get their money, but this is rare. If you have a clear case, then you should be able to get what is owed to you and it will be able to get the compensation that you are owed due to the hassle and stress caused by the delay. There are very specific circumstances though as to when compensation can be claimed and it is worth checking to make sure that you fit that criteria before you apply for it.