Turkish Airlines likely to hit 60 pct of targeted passenger traffic this year - chairman

National flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) has said that it might take years for the airlines to regain its pre-pandemic passenger traffic and it expects to attain only 60 percent of its passenger target for 2020.

“We foresee a 55 percent decrease in available seat-kilometers and 60 percent decrease in the number of passengers,” THY chairman İlker Aycı was quoted as saying by Diken news website on Monday.

According to Aycı, the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the passenger air travel may last a few years.

In its statement in January the flag carrier aimed at 81-82 percent passenger load in 2020, mostly on international routes, while seeing an 8.5-10 percent rise in total available seat kilometers (ASK).

The impact of the pandemic on the balance sheet of the company, which was affected by flight bans in April and May, would be felt more seriously in the second half of the year, Aycı said.

The chairman also said that the company took a series of measures to deal with the financial effects of the pandemic.

“We aim to save at least 1 billion dollars, including operational expenses, capEx (capital expenditure) reduction, deferred payments, and tax revenues,”  Aycı said.

THY worked on the sale and leaseback of the company owned 25 Boeing and Airbus aircraft models, Aycı said, adding that the flag carrier is seeking auxiliary engines and wide-body aircrafts.