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November 28, 2009

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Turkish Airlines eye more flights

TURKISH Airlines plans to launch more direct flights between China and Turkey as it aims to tap the booming trade and tourism flow between the two countries.

The airline is expected to pick Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, as its destination but it is still waiting for an agreement which will facilitate the two countries to grant airlines more routes.

"Turkish Airlines raised capacity by 21 percent last year and planned to spend US$3 billion in buying 105 new aircraft to develop more markets, especially China," Temel Kotil, chief executive officer of the carrier, said in an interview with Shanghai Daily.

The carrier also hopes it can operate direct cargo routes linking Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou with Istanbul, confident that trade between the two countries will keep growing. Trade volume between China and Turkey reached US$12.5 billion last year, rising 7 percent from 2007 despite the global economic recession.

By the end of March, the two countries had signed economic cooperation agreements worth US$5.2 billion, and Turkish companies have invested US$103 million in 261 projects in China, according to the General Administration of Customs of China.

The proposed Guangzhou route is part of Turkish Airlines' ambition to expand markets in Asia. It recently signed an agreement with Asiana Airlines of South Korea to operate code-share routes in Asia, including China.

The carrier now flies direct to Beijing and Shanghai, and it aims to increase frequency on the Shanghai route as the 2010 Shanghai World Expo nears.


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