Turkish Airlines to sponsor Borussia Dortmund

Turkish Airlines announced on Thursday that it would sign a three-year sponsorship agreement with German football club Borussia Dortmund, which has just thrashed powerhouse Madrid in a key European match.

"Turkish Airlines is a natural partner for Borussia Dortmund, combining excellence in sports with excellence in aviation and service," THY said in a statement.

According to the deal, THY will fly the team around the world via Istanbul and organise joint activities that were not specified.

THY did not disclose the amount of the agreement struck with the Dortmund club, which has lifted the German championship cup eight times.

On Wednesday, Dortmund crushed Real Madrid by a score of 4-1 in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final contest, raising the possibility of an all-German final for the title on May 25.

Bayern Munich hammered another high-profile Spanish team, Barcelona, by 4-0 on Tuesday in the first leg of the other semi-final match-up.

On Thursday, THY chairman Hamdi Topcu was quoted as saying that "Turkish Airlines and Borussia Dortmund share a similar success story."

The airline had already decided not to extend deals with Barcelona and Britain's Manchester United this year.

Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke praised the budding partnership as well, saying his club was happy to have THY as a "strong partner to realise their goals."

Dortmund stands for "tradition, regional identity, hard work and success," values that THY also strives to achieve, the airline's statement said.

Germany, the biggest European economy, is also home to a community of around three million people of Turkish origin.

As part of an aggressive expansion policy, THY has recently placed orders with Airbus and Boeing to double its current fleet of 217 aircraft, with a goal of carrying 90 million passengers a year by 2020.

Last year, it carried 39 million passengers and the airline expects to reach 46 million in 2013.