Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Turkey Flies Toward a Logistics Base in Air Cargo

Underlining that Turkey being among the first 10 countries in the world in terms of the number of the spots in its flight network has grown in air cargo by 250% for the last 9 years, Bilal Ekşi, Director General of Civil Aviation, says that Turkey will be a regional base in the air cargo transport field with the new airports to be inaugurated, cargo villages to be established, and the increased numbers of spots and flights.

bilal_eksiIn Turkey, the air cargo sector continues growing without slowing down. Having increased its total capacity of air cargo in the domestic and international lines by 250% for the last 9 years to 2 million 229 thousand tons, Turkey also harbours the potential that will make it one of the leading logistics centres of the world. Bilal Ekşi, Director General of Civil Aviation, says that the first steps to make Turkey a regional base in the air cargo transportation were taken and all kinds of transport connections were established with the airports for this objective. Stating that more liberalization for the airports other than the airports with high volume of traffic is planned in terms of traffic rights in order to increase the cargo, Ekşi also underlines that the works for establishing cargo villages in the regions that are near the other airports are ongoing.  Ekşi says, “Our country that has the task of being a bridge between Europe and Asia will arrive at very important positions in the future years in the air cargo transportation sector. Within this scope, the agreements containing the cooperation with the countries in the Mediterranean, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Black Sea in civil aviation made by DGCA are important in terms of air cargo transportation. These agreements that make the investments possible for our airway and terminal operators and the organizations of ground services are also important regarding the possibilities of cooperation in air cargo transportation with the other countries.”
Specifying that in the first three months of the year, total 416 thousand kg of cargo traffic  occurred, being 137 thousand kg in the international lines and 278 thousand kg in the domestic lines, Ekşi lists the prominent destinations as China, Hong Kong, Germany, America, India, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Switzerland, Georgia, England,  Iran, Iraq, Israel, Holland, Russia, Lebanon and Kazakhstan. Ekşi states that they are expecting about 20% growth in air cargo in terms of tonnage this year.

2 mln tons was exceeded in Q1

Would you inform us about the size reached by the air cargo transportation sector in Turkey?
The amount of cargo that became 189 thousand tons in the domestic lines,  775 thousand tons in the international lines, total 964 thousand tons, grew by approximately 250% and became total 2 million 229 thousand tons in 2011 being 611 thousand tons in the domestic lines and 1 million 617 thousand tons in the international lines. If we compare it with the 2 million 21 thousand tons of total cargo amount realized in 2010, in 2011 10.3% increase was realized. Total cargo capacity of our cargo aircrafts was 302 thousand kg in 2003 which became 1 million 207 thousand kgs by the end of 2011. In parallel with the developments in our aircraft fleets, our cargo capacity grew in the mentioned period by 298%. When the cargo capacities of the other aircrafts with big fuselages for passenger transport are included, this figure becomes more and more.
3 of the 16 airway enterprises authorized by the Civil Aviation Directorate General to carry out the scheduled flights in the domestic and international lines provide services in the air cargo transportation field.  With THY authorized to carry out the passenger and cargo transportation, we have 4 air cargo enterprises. The cargo capacity of the cargo aircrafts that are in the fleet of MNG, ACT, ULS, and THY is 1 million 253 thousand kilograms as of 2012 April. When this figure is added the cargo capacity of the passenger aircrafts, it becomes more than 2 million kg.
There are 135 air cargo agencies authorized by our Directorate General. Total 237 certificates of authorization were drawn up for these cargo agencies. Some of these agencies have certificate of authorization in a single airport and some in multiple airports. On airport basis, 128 in Ataturk Airport, 51 in Adnan Menderes Airport, 32 in Esenboğa Airport, 15 in Adana Airport, 10 in Antalya Airport, 1 Samsun Çarşamba Airport, totalling to 237 Air Cargo Agencies have active Certificate of Authorization.

Turkish air cargo sector expands its flight network each passing day. How many countries with which Turkey has mutual agreement covering air cargo transportation are available today?
In parallel with the mutual aviation agreements executed by our Directorate General, a substantial development was experienced in the international flight network of our country. Turkey that had mutual air transport agreements with 51 countries worldwide in 2002 became a country that has mutual aviation agreements with 124 countries. Therefore, our airlines are able to provide cargo flights to 124 countries. In 2002, our domestic airway enterprises were flying to 60 international spots while they are able to conduct flights to 175 international spots. Our country is among the top 10 of the world regarding the number of the spots in its flight network.
Within the framework of the mutual air transport agreements there are unlimited cargo possibilities in Europe; with Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Norway, Romania, Russia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Ukraine, in Middle East; with the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Jordan, in America; with the USA, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, in Africa; with Ethiopia, Ivory Coasts, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Union of the Comoros, Nigeria, Ruanda, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Madagascar, and in Asia; with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Laos, Maldives, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan. Moreover, in the mutual aviation agreements with Germany, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Holland, England, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Latvia, Luxemburg, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Greece, Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Bahrain, Australia, and New Zealand, there is no restrictive regulation. The frequencies that might be applied with the other countries with which we have mutual aviation agreement are defined in the agreement.  

Strengthening position in the European market

What kind of role does Turkey have in the European air cargo market as for the position it has reached today?
In Turkey, Ataturk, Adnan Menderes, Esenboğa, Sabiha Gökçen, Antalya, and Adana airports are the airports where most cargo transportation is carried out. Most of the air cargo transportation is carried out to Europe from these airports as well. The diversity in the flight network of the airline enterprises and the increase in the numbers of the aircrafts in the fleets as well as the number of the flights ensured a significant advantage for our country in Europe that is in a crisis period. Especially, in parallel with the improvements in our airport substructure, Turkey’s position in the European air cargo market is being stronger gradually. The fruit and vegetable export to the European countries is still being carried out by way of land transportation. However, if air transportation is carried out, the products will reach at the consumer in a fresher and unspoilt manner which will increase our competitive power. In the commerce carried out with the European countries, it is known that sea transportation has a substantial share. Especially the increase in the aircraft fuel prices creates a situation that airway is less preferred compared to the seaway in the cargo transportation for Europe. THY’s market share is 8% as the presented capacity and  7% as the cargo carried and we can mention 15% share together with the share of the private sector.”  

What are the strong and weak points of Turkey in the air cargo field? What kinds of objectives were designated in order to strengthen the current position for the year of 2023 and which works are being carried out within this scope?
Among the decisions taken at the end of the 10th Transportation Assembly held by the Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications with “Target 2023” slogan in 2009, regarding our aviation sector, proclamation the airports that are suitable for air cargo transportation as a ‘free zone’ is available. Activities regarding the development of Sabiha Gökçen Airport, which is the nearest gate opening to the world within an hinterland covering the areas like Bursa, Gebze, İzmit, Sakarya, and Yalova, the heart of Turkey’s industry and Istanbul’s rapidly-growing Anatolian Side, in terms of cargo transportation are ongoing.  In addition, there are two more important resolutions of the assembly that will provide contribution to the development of the air cargo sector. These are the targets of building 3 airports in our country and realizing at a structure of 750 aircraft for the Turkish Civil Air transportation fleet having 100 large fuselage, 450 narrow fuselage, and 200 regional aircrafts by 2023.
It is clear that the 3rd Airport Project planned within this scope to be implemented in Istanbul will contribute the development of the cargo transportation substantially. It is thought that the 3rd Airport planned to be constructed will provide a substantial acceleration in the cargo transportation thanks to both its domestic and international line connections. In addition, Çukurova Regional Airport harbouring important export potential that will provide services to Adana, Mersin, Tarsus region and Zafer Airport Projects that will cover Kütahya, Afyon, and Uşak provinces are crucial in terms of air cargo transportation.
Increasing the service quality presented in the airports is an important factor of attraction in the air cargo transportation field. With the projects implemented by our ministry through the Build-Operate-Transfer Model, a point that is above world standards was reached in the construction and management of our airports and the investors of our country have investments in many parts of the world in this field.

Even though IATA attracts attentions to the fact that the cargo markets in the Asia-Pacific region are safe, Ekşi reminds that the profit of the airlines in this region was reduced last year by 47% due to high oil prices and weakening in the cargo market according to the Asia Pacific Airlines Association, and says, in the region, in 2011, cargo revenues suffered 1.4 % fall and became 22 billion dollars.
Underlining that preference is set to purchase of big-sized goods due to the increasing sea freight rates in  Asia economies and the low levels of air cargo Ekşi says:  “Within this scope, it is estimated that in the second half of this year, a  moderate-level recovery in the air cargo sector will be encountered. In the Far East China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Shanghai stand out in terms of cargo transportation. Nearly 20% of the total cargo we carried in the export sector goes to the Far East. This figure was realized as 15% last year. In Asia, there are unlimited cargo agreements with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Laos, Maldives, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, and there is no restrictive regulation regarding Australia and New Zealand. In the Far East, especially the countries applying closed economy may restrict frequencies in line with their foreign trade policies. Our Directorate General revises the mutual air transport agreements and works especially for the elimination of the frequency restrictions regarding cargo. Steps are taken toward increase and liberalization of the frequencies in the event that the current frequencies are not sufficient for demands by bringing the issue in the in the mutual aviation negotiations. In addition, in the mutual aviation agreements, we attach substantial importance to the availability of the flights with 5th Traffic Right. Within the framework of this right that we can summarize as the constitution of the interim spots, flights with connections that are also important for air cargo can be carried out.”  
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