By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey's national flag carrier Turkish Airlines carried 50.7 million passengers from January to August, the company announced Friday.
The total number of passengers carried by the airline rose 13.1 percent year-on-year in the eight-month period, the airline said in a statement.
Turkish Airlines noted that the increase in number of domestic and international passengers is 14.7 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively.
This January to August, the airline's seat occupancy rate — passenger load factor — surged 3.4 percentage points to 81.8 percent.
"Number of landings (passenger aircraft) of 310,285 for the period of January-August 2017 increased by 7.5 percent to 333,670 in 2018," the airline said.
"Cargo/mail carried during the period of January-August 2018 increased by 25.5 percent to 897,521 tons from 714,875 tons in 2017," it added.
Turkish Airlines stated that it achieved the highest monthly load factor for August in its history with 85.6 percent.
"During the period of August 2018 passengers carried increased by 2.4 percent, to 7.6 million passengers from 7.4 million passengers for the same period of 2017," it said.
"On top of the strong base effect of August 2017, growth in the number of passengers, revenue per kilometer and load factor, is an important indicator of the continued growing interest in Turkey and Turkish Airlines."
Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933, flies to more than 300 destinations in over 120 countries. By the end of August 2018, the airline had 326 aircraft — 92 of them wide-body along with 216 narrow-body aircraft and 18 cargo planes.
Last year, the airline carried 68.6 million passengers with a 79.1 percent seat occupancy rate.
According to the airline's year-end targets, the company expects to carry 75 million passengers — including 33 million on domestic routes, 42 million on international routes — with around an 81-percent passenger load factor.
The airline earned some 24.4 billion Turkish liras ($5.9 billion) of total revenue in the first half of this year while the company had nearly 25,000 staff, including more than 4,500 pilots.
A total of 50.88 percent of the airline's stocks are publicly traded on Turkey's stock exchange Borsa Istanbul while the rest are owned by the Turkiye Wealth Fund.
Turkish Airlines has a nearly 25.3 billion Turkish lira ($4.2 billion) market value, based on stock exchange market figures, as of 4.30 p.m. (1330GMT) Friday, Sept. 14.