Turkey is Europe's fastest-growing civil aviation market and was home to Europe's second and fourth most profitable airlines in 2012. The industry has managed to register double-digit growth in recent years due to economic success. However, economic growth must be accompanied by a well-maintained nationwide aviation infrastructure and a sizeable domestic and international market.
The Turkish aviation industry has been undergoing a comprehensive transformation. Its recent success reflects not only the geographical location of the country, but also well-planned and coordinated initiatives, including environmentally conscious designs, better-quality services and increased transparency.
The aviation industry in Turkey has grown at an unprecedented rate in recent years and now employs more than 150,000 people and generates revenue of $15 billion. In order to meet rising demand for a highly trained workforce, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has signed a collaboration protocol with the Higher Education Council that is intended to establish higher standards for the training of civil aviation staff.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation's Green Airport Project aims to reduce the existing and future impact of airport establishments on the environment and on human health, with the ultimate goal of eliminating such damage entirely. Airline operators and service providers at airports that comply with certain requirements will be designated 'green companies' and will receive incentives of up to 50% off service tariffs.
The Regulation on Commercial Air Transportation, the secondary legislation governing the Turkish aviation industry, has recently been changed. Alongside the introduction of the new regulation, it appears that the Civil Aviation Authority intends to renew all aircraft fleets and will be intolerant of grounding for any reason. The new regulation raises a number of concerns for operators, including in relation to fleet age limitations.
In recent years, seaplanes have emerged as an alternative solution for inland and overseas transportation. Combining sea and air routes, they offer a variety of commercial roles and ways in which the limits of transportation can be expanded. The amended Regulation of Seaplane and Seaplane Operations recently came into effect in Turkey. As a result, it is predicted that the use of seaplane transportation will rise drastically.
Under the legislation on the operation of commercial airlines, as a pre-condition to transporting passengers and/or cargo for commercial purposes in return for payment, individuals and legal persons must obtain authorisation from the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication. Authorisation may be subject to certain conditions and will not be issued if national security or public order may be jeopardised.
Flight delays or cancellations are frequently experienced in air travel, resulting in material damages and inconvenience for passengers. However, the circumstances under which passengers can seek damages for delays or cancellations (eg, when resulting from unfavourable weather conditions, natural disasters or technical defects) are often called into question.
Aircraft leasing can be arranged as a wet lease or a dry lease. The holder of an air operator certificate issued by the Civil Aviation Authority that wishes to dry lease or lease out an aircraft under an agreement that will necessitate the transfer or acceptance of safety oversight responsibilities to or from another contracting state must submit an application to the Turkish authority and meet certain conditions.
Under a wet lease arrangement, the lessor (ie, an airline or aircraft operator) provides an aircraft, along with its crew, maintenance and insurance, to a lessee (ie, another airline or aircraft operator). Such agreements are regulated by the Civil Aviation Act and associated legislation, and are ideal and convenient for start-up airlines, when exploring new routes or during seasonal fluctuations and sudden peaks in demand.
Developments in civil aviation in Turkey are accelerating year on year. As a consequence, the number of licensed heliports has increased, with many high-rise and residential developments now required to include a heliport. Helicopters and air taxis are becoming the favoured method of transportation for businesspeople working in large cities and air taxis are used in the healthcare industry and for tourist group visits.
Due to technical developments and progress in international economic and political relations, air transportation has become the travel method of choice worldwide. However, despite these developments, the possibility of aviation accidents – and therefore liability for air carriers – is often still unavoidable. Air carriers' liability for death or bodily injury arising from aviation accidents varies for domestic and international flights.
Parliament recently passed an act which finally ratified the 1999 Montreal Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air. While the convention applies only to international carriage as defined therein, the ratification also signals a change to the rules applicable to domestic carriage by air.
Under a new financial lease law which came into effect on December 31 2005, financial lease transactions and cross-border agreements will now be reviewed by the Banking Supervision and Regulation Agency. This naturally includes all leasing agreements dealing with the lease of aircraft.
The Civil Aviation Act governs the registration and licensing of aircraft in Turkey, including for the purposes of operation and security. The aim of the law is to arrange - within a framework of national interest and international relations - the harmonious operation of civil aviation activities, giving priority to efficiency and security.