Turkish Airlines showcased its new inflight menu with great fanfare on May 11, 2023, during an event held at the Esma Sultan, a restored palace in the center of Istanbul.
The Turkish flag carrier is redoubling its efforts to be a leader in the field of inflight catering, in a bid to become “the first Michelin star airline out of Istanbul”.
Turkish Airlines already stands out in this arena, thanks to its policy of having dedicated onboard chefs to cater to business class passengers on all long-haul flights longer than seven hours. This program is run by the airline together with inflight catering company Do&Co as a 50-50% business venture.
A representative for Do&Co told AeroTime that there are currently 350 specially trained chefs deployed on Turkish Airlines long-haul flights. These chefs undergo a double training program, first as chefs and then participating in specific training alongside cabin crew members. Most of the food is prepared on the ground, but the role of the chefs is to boost the passenger experience by providing an extra layer of personalization. For instance, this might involve tweaking dishes to best fit the preference of passengers or preparing some refreshments on demand.
The onboard chef program will continue to be part of the Turkish Airlines premium cabin experience, but from this week onwards the airline will also progressively be rolling out an entirely renovated gastronomic offering. This will be across all cabins and routes, from the more basic offering on domestic economy all the way to the luxury of long-haul business class.
Turkish Airlines is focusing its communication efforts about this new inflight food offering on the freshness and local Turkish origin of many of the specialties that will be served onboard. Dishes and culinary styles from other parts of the world, from India and East Asia to Europe, are also represented, though.
The unveiling of the new menus was also an occasion for Ahmet Bolat, chairman of Turkish Airlines, to talk about some of the growth projects that the carrier is currently working on, some of which were previously revealed in April 2023.
Turkish Airlines expects to double the size of its fleet over the next ten years, and to this end, Bolat hinted at an upcoming aircraft mega-order that could include up to 600 planes. It will likely be split between Airbus and Boeing, keeping the existing balance in the fleet between the two manufacturers.
Likewise, the number of destinations Turkish Airlines serves will also be increased to over 400. In this regard, Bolat confirmed that in December 2023 the airline expects to launch flights between Istanbul (IST) and destinations in Australia, thereby covering all inhabited continents.
Bolat also mentioned that the airline was planning to make free internet available to all passengers in all service classes sometime in the near future, with the carrier on a quest to up its game in terms of passenger experience.