Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil resigns

Bilal Eksi will replace him, leaving his position at the country's civil aviation authority

Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil resigns

By Ismail Ozdemir


Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil announced his resignation Friday to become the head of an aerospace company.

Kotil, who led Turkey's flag carrier from April 2005, is moving to Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). He will be replaced by Bilal Eksi, head of the country's civil aviation authority, Turkish Airlines announced in a statement.

Eksi served as the airline’s deputy director general before moving to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in April 2011.

In his farewell message to Turkish Airlines employees, Kotil said the company had reached then target of flying to the most destinations in the world in 2013. Its 300 aircraft fly to 116 countries.

“At the beginning of my stint as general manager in 2005, Turkish Airlines was an airline that flew to 102 destinations, operated 2,000 weekly flights, carried 12 million passengers per year and had a fleet of 73 aircraft,” he said. “We ranked 40th among the world’s biggest airline companies. Now, we rank 10th.”

Kotil pointed out that the company's annual income increased from $2 billion to $10 billion over a decade.

“The number of pilots in our company rose from 640 to 4,500, while crew members increased from 1,700 to more than 10,000,” he added.

He also stressed the company’s focus on increasing African destinations. “We’ve become the only airline that connects Somalia to the rest of the world by operating safe flights to and from Mogadishu for the last six years,” he said.

Earlier Friday, the airline added the Tanzanian city of Zanzibar to its list of destinations, becoming the company’s 293rd destination and its 50th in 31 African countries.

The airline carried 42.7 million passengers to domestic and international destinations between January and August, according to a company statement released last month.

Turkish Airlines was named Best Airline in Europe in 2016 by U.K.- based consultant Skytrax for the sixth consecutive year.

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