Bold, brave moves are fast becoming the hallmark of Turkish Airlines, one of the world’s fastest-growing carriers. Since 2003, when Turkey deregulated its airline industry, Turkish Airlines has nearly quadrupled its passengers, tripled its aircraft, and doubled its number of destination cities. Its fleet is half the average age (6½ years) of its European competitors.

Some analysts have begun to compare Turkish Airlines to Gulf carriers Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, which pride themselves on customer service. In 2010 it unveiled a slick global marketing campaign featuring stars such as Kobe Bryant and Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi. The airline’s investments appear to be paying off: In the first nine months of 2012, Turkish Airlines’ profit climbed 665%, to about $482 million, on sales of $6.2 billion.

Photo Credit: Turkish Airlines at the gate at Kayseri Erkilet Airport in Turkey. LWY / Flickr