Turkish Airlines' quarterly loss more than doubled on higher costs

The carrier aims to carry 80 million passengers this year

FILE PHOTO: A Turkish Airlines Airbus A321neo plane lands at the city's new Istanbul Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, April 6, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo
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Turkish Airlines' first-quarter losses more than doubled, hit by higher fuel prices and other costs.

The Turkish flag carrier, which operates flights to 306 destinations in 124 countries, reported a loss of $229 million in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $86m in the same period a year earlier.

Analysts said the loss was wider than an average forecast. That reflected higher oil prices due to currency volatility and increased unit costs due to staff and marketing expenses, analysts said.

"Net loss is even way higher than the lowest estimate in the street," Yatirim Finansman Securities, Instanbul-based brokerage firm, said in a note, adding a loss on fixed asset sales also weighed on the results.

But the carrier maintained its targets for the year, suggesting an expected recovery in the high season that starts at the end of May, JP Morgan said.

The company said it targets to carry 80 million passengers this year.

The airline moved its hub last month from Istanbul's old Ataturk Airport to the new Istanbul Airport to the north of the city. Completing the hub move ahead of the high season is expected to help the company achieve its targets, JP Morgan said.

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