ISTANBUL – Oscar-winning actor and director Kevin Costner has arrived in Turkey on Sunday to take part in a 60-minute commercial for Turkish Airlines.
He attended a press conference on the same day with Turkish Airlines executive board chairman Candan Karlıtekin and general director Temel Kotil.
Karlıtekin said it was a very important day for THY and that they had agreed with Costner to make the THY commercial because “we recently leased three Boeing 777s that have first class cabins and these will be used for sometime until we buy the main aircrafts by tender. The aim of this commercial is not to highlight the first class cabins, but the focus is on highlighting THY’s business class product in the international arena.”
Karlıtekin said the reason they had chosen Kevin Costner was that he was a very good actor and that he was very famous and handsome.
Kotil said Turkish Airlines was a shining star and added that these two big brands, Costner and Turkish Airlines, would launch 2009 as the year of aviation.
Costner has not flown with Turkish Airlines before, but said, “I have received commercial proposals before. What is important is to work with a company that gives importance to its clients. That is why I have chosen Turkish Airlines.”
As to whether US actors came to Turkey to get to know the country better, Costner said: “I started playing music three years ago. Turkey was the first country that invited me and my music to come. I was very surprised, I had never thought of coming. This was a very important step in my life. That is why I have accepted this commercial proposal and I think my other friends have had the same idea.”
Following the press conference, Turkish Airlines officials presented Costner with an Elite Plus card, given to Turkish Airlines’ best customers.
Turkish Airlines’ 60-second commercial will focus on the company’s services that make passengers feel like a star. The commercial will be shot in an aircraft at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport over two days. Fredrisk Callingaard, director of photography who has worked with the likes of Madonna and Kylie Minogue, will direct the commercial that will be broadcast in 70 countries.
Costner said the continuation of relations with Turkish Airlines was more important than the terms of the agreement. “The reason I came Turkey for a second time because of the way I was welcomed in and that he had felt like a king on both occasions,” Costner said. “Working with THY is a very important step in my life.”
While other airlines are reporting decline in traffic, Turkish Airlines said it had a net profit that represented an increase of 244 percent increase over last year’s figures. In the first nine months of the year, sales jump 24 percent to 4.42 billion lira (US$2.8 billion).
Turkish Airlines’ Star Alliance membership has contributed much to rising brand name and ridership. THY has one of the youngest fleet in Europa with the average age of six years and it’s getting younger with each new airplane they are receiving. Seat capacity at 21,588 so far, expected to rise to 22,150 in 2009. Since 2004, seat capacity had increased by 72 percent as of July 2008.
The carrier operates a network of scheduled services to 123 international and 32 domestic cities, serving a total of 155 airports, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the United States.
The Turkish flag carrier has embarked on an ambitious expansion program to become one of Europe’s leading airlines, with plans to buy up to 105 wide-bodied and single-aisle aircraft from Boeing and Airbus over the next few years. The airline is also seeking acquisitions in the region and purchased 49 percent of the shares of Bosnia’s flag carrier, Air Bosna.