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Turkey Aviation

Turkish Airlines adds more destinations, as Stockholm becomes key market

Unal Basusta  Sep 03, 2008

ISTANBUL, Turkey (eTN) - Turkish Airlines is rapidly expanding its number of departures to Stockholm. It will offer two flights from Turkey and back on Sundays beginning September 7.

Turkish Airlines has flown one daily round trip between Istanbul and Stockholm for a long time. But as it has expanded the role of Istanbul as a hub for travel to the Middle East and East Asia, demand also increased.

In February, as an experiment Turkish Airlines, started offering two Istanbul to Stockholm round trips on Mondays. As early as April 3, the airline added a second round trip on Thursdays, and this coming Sunday, September 7, it will also begin providing two round trips on Sundays.

To make Turkish Airlines an even more attractive alternative, the airline is offering passengers who change aircraft in Istanbul a free sightseeing tour or stay at a day hotel if their waiting time on the same day is more than seven hours for business class passengers or ten hours for economy class passengers.

Turkish Airlines flies modern aircraft such as the Airbus 320/321 and Boeing 737-800. Last year 19.6 passengers flew on the airline to and from 140 destinations in 69 countries. Since April 2008, Turkish Airlines has been a member of the world’s largest airline alliance, Star Alliance.

The airline has also formally expressed interest in purchasing Austria’s shares in Austrian Airlines, the country’s soon to be privatized flag carrier, according to a report published by the AFP news agency. Despite the fact that Austrian Airlines finds itself in a difficult financial situation, the Central European legacy carrier has managed to attract four serious bidders, including Lufthansa, a Russian company called S7, Air France-KLM and now Turkish Airlines.

Two factors may, however, make it difficult for Turkish Airlines to acquire the state’s 43 percent stake in the carrier. First, European Union regulations place limits on foreign ownership of carriers based within EU member states. This simply means that firms and investors within the EU must own the majority of these carriers.

The second obstacle that Turkish Airlines will find itself up against is the fact that Austrian authorities are widely believed to favor a Lufthansa bid. As such, even Air France-KLM, an European Union firm, will have difficulty purchasing the state’s stake in the airline.

Despite these challenges and Austrian Airlines’ admittedly precarious financial state, Turkish Airlines indicated that it takes this bid seriously and sent a formal letter advising the Istanbul Stock Exchange of the firm’s current plans. Austrian authorities are likely to make a decision on the carrier’s privatization within the next two months and the Central European country’s government hopes that the process will be completed by December.

Continuously expanding its reach, the Turkish airline has also began flights to India and Thailand as well.

with wire inputs

Turkish Airlines adds more destinations, as Stockholm becomes key market
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