Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s national carrier, announced Thursday that it is launching a new route connecting Tel Aviv with Izmir, which will begin operating on May 29, on a four-flights-per-week basis, Globes reported.
With a total population of nearly four million people, Izmir – often called the “Pearl of the Aegean” – is Turkey’s third-largest city after Istanbul and Ankara (deleted comma) and the country’s second most important port. Turkish Airlines will operate the flights on Airbus 320 on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, taking off at 22:00 and landing at 23:40.
Turkish Airlines, the biggest foreign carrier in Israel, operates ten flights daily on the Tel Aviv-Istanbul route. The city has become a major transfer point for Israelis. With the Passover holiday approaching, Turkish Airlines will also offer five direct flights weekly to Antalya, starting on March 31. These flights, too, are aimed at vacationers.
The major presence of Turkish Airlines in Israel comes despite troubled relations between Turkey and Israel in recent years.
In 2017, Turkish Airlines carried more than a million passengers to and from Israel. It is part of the world’s largest global airline alliance, Star Alliance. The Israel Airport Authority said Turkey topped the list of countries with 133,714 passengers, constituting 9.56% of the country’s total international passenger traffic.
More than 85% of Israelis traveling on Turkish Airline connect to other flights, most often on the same carrier. The international Atatürk Airport in Istanbul is considered the biggest base for connecting flights to North America, Europe, and East Asia.
[Photo: Raimond Spekking / WikiCommons ]