Turkish Airlines expands Middle East presence


Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier of Turkey, will “fly to 31 destinations in the Middle East’’ by the end of this year.
The airline which currently operates to 28 destinations in the region has enjoyed good tourist traffic from the Middle East over the last three years and is now keen to introduce new destinations in Turkey to tourists from Qatar and the region.

“We are very focused on developing this tourist flow as Turkey shares similarities in traditions, cuisine and origin with the Middle Eastern countries,” Murat Bas, Turkish Airlines’ vice president, marketing and sales (Middle East and Cyprus), told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the Middle East Tourism Exhibition and Fair (Metex) which concluded for visiting delegations yesterday.

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The exhibition’s last day today is earmarked for local participants.

“Our presence at the summit is to network with travel industry professionals to better serve our customers and to convince them to market green zones like Trabzon, Izmir, Bolu as well as Antalya,” he said.

“Tourists can enjoy the warm hospitality of the people of Turkey as many of our provinces are a mix of cultures due to the presence of Germans, Britons and Russians in Antalya and Izmir,” he explained.

He said since many provinces in Turkey have lower temperatures during the hot summer months in the Mideast , this aspect would be highlighted in attracting more tourists.

“Both Qatar and the UAE are important markets for us among the GCC states, so our airline is committed to offer high quality services at competitive prices for tourists,” he said.

“The strengths of our airline is the competitive pricing, the special prizes we offer to our passengers, a very useful loyalty programme and one of the best facilities for business class travellers,” he added.

Mehmed Kursad Caymaz, Turkish Airlines’ general manager in Qatar, expressed his appreciation with the growing number of tourists from Qatar.

“The first quarter of this year has been encouraging as we achieved 10% growth in tourist traffic from Qatar over the same period last year. In the second quarter, I expect a growth of about 15% due to the political unrest in some parts of the region, compelling tourists to holiday in Turkey,” said Caymaz.

Presently, the airline which is the seventh largest in the world for network coverage, operates daily flights to Istanbul seven days a week from Qatar, but the management is aspiring to enhance the frequency to double daily within two years.

“A decision on increasing the frequency of flights will be made depending on market growth,” said Bas.

The airline which won the Skytrax award after being adjudged Europe’s best airline in 2010 is also a member of the Star Alliance network. Currently, the airline has a fleet strength of 180, with a mix of both Airbus and Boeing aircraft.