Takeoff Time For Aviation
Ninety-three years is a long time. Turkey’s first airplane designer, builder and engineer pilot Vecihi Hürkuş built Turkey’s first plane
Ninety-three years is a long time. Turkey’s first airplane designer, builder and engineer pilot Vecihi Hürkuş built Turkey’s first plane, the “Vecihi K-6” in 1925, 93 years ago, using engines he accumulated during the war years, and the aircraft flew over the nation’s skies.
In 1936, the single-engine NuD-36 carried the abbreviations of the name Nuri Demirağ, the builder of the airplane. One of Turkey’s first aviation engineers Selahattin Reşit Alan carried out the technical works of the plane. Every part of the aircraft, except the engine, was locally manufactured. In 1938, a twin-engine, six passenger model, the NuD-38, roared into the skies. The new plane was capable of flying at the speed of 270 km (167 miles) per hour and reaching a height of 5,500 meters (18,150 feet.)
The spirit of the young Turkish Republic encouraged the nation’s first airplane builders to establish an airplane assembly plants.
It was the Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who said: “The future is in the skies. The nation’s that can’t protect its airspace can’t be certain of the future. ”
Now Turkey once more is seeking to build the nation’s first airplanes, for both civilian and military use. Turkish Aerospace Industry (TAI) produced a modern training airplane in 2013 and named it after Veçihi Hürkuş. TAI plans to mass produce the plane starting in 2020.
The Turkish government, benefitting from local airline companies, led by Turkish Airlines (THY, becoming global carriers, has given the start for Turkey’s first “national” regional passenger jetliner) Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who introduced the project in 2015, and plans are underway to make it operational in 2019. Secrecy shrouds the engine and technology of the aircraft that would be completely designed by Turkish engineers. But the target is that all spare parts of the 70-passenger jetliner would be locally produced by 2023.
In the past 10 years, the Turkish civil aviation sector has grown faster than the world averages. And this trend is continuing. In 2015, Turkish-flagged airlines grew three times faster than their European counterparts.
The total fleet of Turkish carriers stood at 486 jet liners. Turkish Airlines (THY) is the biggest player in the field. But Pegasus and Atlas Global are also expanding. Airlines, such as Corendon, have grown with tourism.
Istanbul’s third international airport, scheduled to open in 2018, is expected to accelerate the growth of the sector. But Turkish carriers don’t seem to be waiting for its opening at all. By 2017, the passengers of Turkish carriers on foreign lines are expected to reach nearly 100 million, while passengers on domestic lines are projected to exceed 100 million highly.
“We didn’t start Turkish aviation but we are the ones who changed it,” said Ali Sabancı, Chairman of Pegasus Airlines. “In the past decade, we’ve made many changes to the aviation sector. Due to our innovative works, the Official Airline Guide named us the fastest growing carrier among Europe’s 25 biggest airlines and this was for three consecutive years. Pegasus Airlines has carried more than 128 million guests from 2005 to 2015. We flew 68% of these guests under $30 and 25% under $20.
Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, which we have chosen for our operational headquarters, for the past seven years has been named ‘Europe’s Fastest Growing Airport’ by the Airports Council International Europe. This is a success story that shows how important it is to discover the potential of Turkey.”
According to Mr. Sabancı, this potential will further emerge in the coming period. “We are carrying out connecting flight between Turkey and Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. We are in the geographic area where aviation is growing the most. Turkey is located between Europe, which has 28% of the global aviation market and the world’s fastest growing markets of the Middle East and Asia, and has a natural connecting position. It is in an optimum distance in transit transportation connecting Europe and the Middle East and Europe and Africa. The market share of low cost airlines in Europe is 40%, but it is only 15% in the Middle East.
In 2016, the Middle East (aviation market) grew 12%, despite all of its problems. In the coming years, the growth of low cost airlines will take place the most in the Middle East and Asia. As a low cost airline company, we will benefit favorably from this growth because of Turkey’s geographic position. The stable growth we have seen over the past decade is expected to continue, especially with the establishment of Istanbul’s third international airport and further aviation sector investments. In light of these developments, our faith is endless that Turkey will to show increasing its potential for discovery...”
“Turkey, it seems, will become a global transit center, with Istanbul’s third international airport,” argued Turgut Erkeskin, President of the International Transportation and Logistics Services Producers Association (UTİKAD).
“Multinational corporations are going to use it much more than they do now for the distribution of their products to the Middle East, the Caucasus and North Africa and other nearby regions. ”