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9. Turkish Airlines

Fleet Size: 174
Hub: Istanbul, Turkey

Entering the top 10 for the first time, Turkish Airlines won three awards at the 2011 World Airlines Awards, including the title of Europe's best airline.

Founded in 1933, the Istanbul-based airline has been undergoing considerable transformation since the government shed more than half its stake in the carrier in 2003. It's now Europe's third-largest airline by passenger numbers, overtaking British Airways last year. The airline won the award for the best premium economy seats and has been commended for its on-board Turkish meals.

Turkish airlines has adopted an aggressive marketing strategy in recent years. Television ads for the airline have featured some of the world's most recognizable faces, including superstar athletes such as NBA player Kobe Byrant, the Manchester United soccer team, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, as well as Hollywood actor Kevin Costner.

To maintain its competitive edge, the airline has introduced special discounted student fares, and over the last month it launched 11 new routes, taking its total global destinations to 180.

Photo: Turkish Airlines