Turkish Airlines' “Silk Road in the sky”
Turkish Airlines' President, Temel Kotil, recently attended a ceremony held in China on the occasion of Air China's and Shanghai Airlines' induction into the Star Alliance.
In a press conference he held with local and foreign journalists following talks with Chinese officials, Kotil said that Turkish Airlines currently flies to China seven times a week and is aiming to increase those numbers. He added, “Because of this alliance, we are now going to be able to fly independently to both Beijing and Shanghai and thereby reduce the burden on our passengers who used to go through customs at Beijing and proceed from there to Shanghai. This was an inconvenience for passengers in the past. By starting direct flights, our Company has not only improved the quality of its service, it has also taken a step towards its goal of 21 flights a week in 2009.” Kotil underscored the fact that for Turkish Airlines, which flies 200 times a week to Germany, and between 30 and 50 times each to England, France and Italy, seven flights to a big country like China was too few and that flights between the two countries need to be increased. “Civil aviation authorities from the two countries,” Kotil said, “are discussing the subject and pursuing their efforts. Following the agreement, we are going to increase Turkish Airlines' weekly flights to 14 in 2008 and 21 in 2009. The historic Silk Road that once joined our two lands will be realized again, this time by air. Turkish Airlines has an important place and capacity in the Asia-to-Turkey passenger potential.” Kotil went on to say that Chinese Prime Minister Ven had remarked that aviation rests on a three-way axis: flight safety, quality and good value for the money. “Our Company, which aims to increase its flights to Egypt, Syria, Russia and Europe as well as China in 2008, will become a full member of the Star Alliance in March, thus bringing its flight destinations up to 800. We are going to make it possible for our passengers to reach many more cities and countries in the world.”