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Airline doubles flights to Turkey

TURKISH Airlines launched five direct flights a week from Shanghai to Istanbul yesterday to take advantage of growing demand.

An A340 jet will depart from Shanghai at 10:45am every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and arrive at Istanbul at 5:45am local time.

The service will double the number of the carrier's flights between the mainland and Turkey each week. It launched Beijing-Istanbul flights in 1999 and extended to Shanghai in 2000.

The carrier said passenger demand had kept growing since the first flight in 1999.

"Istanbul's excellent location makes it an ideal transfer point to continental Europe, Northern Africa, as well as the Middle East," said Orhan Sivrikaya, the carrier's executive commercial vice president.

He expected the 2010 Shanghai World Expo to be another factor that will lead to rapid growth for the new route. Round trips cost 2,870 yuan (US$420) during a promotional period.

Last year, the airline carried 63,000 tourists from the mainland to Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines bucked the downward trend in the aviation industry last year to report a 26 percent growth in profit to US$874 million.

It has ordered 105 new planes this year to increase its current fleet size of 130.


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