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Turkish airlines loses $836mn in 2020; debt rises to $20.2bn

turkish airlines crew
Turkish Airlines is heavily in debt.

Turkish Airlines posted a net loss of $836 million for 2020, according to a report on financial results released on Monday.

The Turkish national airline, which is 49.12 per cent owned by the country’s wealth fund,  saw passenger revenues drop by two-thirds for the last quarter of 2020, to $876 million, Turkish Airlines did increase cargo revenue  by almost four-fifths in the fourth quarter to reach $841 million, but this was not enough to compensate a net loss of $50 million for the period.

Turkish Airlines has announced that it will spin off its freight subsidiary THY Cargo into a separate company. It will, on the other hand, incorporate Anadolujet, its regional carrier.

The improved cargo performance could not prevent the carrier posting an operating loss of $530 million for the full year, which was down from an operating profit of $585 million and net profit of $788 million in 2019.

Turkish Airlines passenger levels fell 62 per cent in 2020, to 28 million, as the pandemic disrupted air services. The airline was in part helped by activity in the Turkish domestic market, which accounted for roughly half its passengers last year, up 10 percentage points over 2019.

Its joint-venture leisure carrier SunExpress turned in a full-year loss of $198 million on revenue of $564 million, down from revenue of more than $1 billion in 2019 when the airline made a profit of $62 million.

The report noted that due to the impact of COVID-19 in 2020, global air traffic has significantly declined and stringent measures have been taken to slow the expansion of the pandemic.

Turkish Airline’s total debt, meanwhile, which was TRY 106.1 billion ($14.5 billion) at the end of 2019, increased to TRY 147.9 billion ($20.2 billion) as of the end of last year. There have been reports of Turkish Airlines receiving additional support from the Turkish Wealth Fund.

“Several constraints were imposed and restrictions continue to have a major impact on the global aviation industry,” the company said in a statement. the carrier hosted a total of 2 million passengers in January with an occupancy rate of 60.3 per cent.

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