By Andy Sambidge
Gulf carrier says it will launch services to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport from May
Qatar Airways on Tuesday announced its plans to start four-weekly passenger services to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport from May next year.
Sabiha Gökçen Airport will become Qatar Airways’ third destination in Turkey on May 22 after Istanbul Ataturk Airport, started in 2004 and Ankara, started in 2010.
The airline currently operates 10 flights-a-week to Istanbul Ataturk Airport and four-flights-week to Ankara.
With the addition of Sabiha Gökçen Airport, the number of flights to Turkey rises from 14 to 18 frequencies each week, the airline said in a statement.
The new route will be served by an Airbus A320, it added.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said: "Turkey’s aviation industry has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years and we are delighted to be part of this growth by launching additional capacity into this vibrant market.
"With increased government investment in the private sector and major infrastructure developments underway, we see huge market potential in adding more capacity to Turkey."
In 2013, Qatar Airways has launched 11 destinations to date – Gassim (Saudi Arabia), Najaf (Iraq), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Chicago (USA), Salalah (Oman), Basra (Iraq), Sulaymaniyah (Iraq), Chengdu (China), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Ta’if (Saudi Arabia) and most recently Clark Manila International Airport (Philippines).
Over the next few weeks and months, the network will grow further with Hangzhou, China (December 20), Sharjah and Dubai World Central, both in the UAE (March 1, 2014), Philadelphia, US (April 2, 2014), Edinburgh, Scotland (May 28, 2014) and Miami, US (June 10, 2014).
On October 30, Qatar Airways joined the oneworld Alliance, becoming the only major Gulf carrier to join a global airline alliance.