Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told his ruling party that he and German
Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to establish "joint management" of
Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. What that phrase means has not yet been
specified, but an article in Tuesday's Financial
Times Deutschland, which quoted highly placed sources at Lufthansa, claimed
it would involve cross-shareholdings plus joint ventures on selected routes—but
not a merger.
remains Europe's—and the world's—largest carrier in terms of international
passengers, Turkish Airlines is one of the fastest-growing. According to the
Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, the Istanbul-based airline's passenger traffic
and seat capacity both have grown 40 percent during the past two years. This
success partly reflects a fast-growing domestic economy in Turkey and also demonstrates
how Turkish Airlines, similar to Gulf carriers, is tapping into the market for
a connecting hub for passengers flying between Europe, Africa and Asia. CAPA
figures show that Turkish Airlines operates more direct flights between Europe and
Asia than any carrier with the exception of Lufthansa.
Airlines now is the eighth largest carrier in the world for international
flights and 19th overall, according to CAPA, placing it ahead of Qatar Airways
and Etihad and behind Emirates. Qatar Airways recently announced it will join the Oneworld alliance, whose members include British Airways. Etihad announced codeshare
agreements with Air France/KLM and Airberlin. Aviation analysts said Lufthansa's
lack of a strong partner in or near the Middle East had left it strategically
Airlines is 49 percent owned by the Turkish government. Like Lufthansa, it is a
member of the Star Alliance.