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27 September, 2006 - 12:43 By Staff Reporter

Turkish Airlines opens up Eastern market to Stansted

Turkish Airlines has started a daily service between Stansted and Istanbul, opening up the East of England business community to the possibilities of significantly more efficient Far East and Middle East connections.The chance for new long-haul services out of Stansted comes just days after low-fares airline, flyglobespan, announced it was to launch a direct daily service to Toronto’s Hamilton International Airport, Canada, due to begin in May 2007.

Turkish Airlines began flying from Stansted in June last year and has slowly increased routes, culminating in its latest decision to provide a daily service to its Istanbul hub, which is firmly established as a transit gateway to the Far East, Middle East and America.

The airline now operates with 102 aircraft, serving 103 destinations on its international route network with Beijing, Hong Kong, Peking, Singa-pore, Bangkok and Japan just some of the long-haul connections now available from the Essex gateway. Return fares range from between £444 to £497 including tax.

Turkish Airlines is also a member of the Star Alliance and through its Frequent Flyer Programme passengers earn miles on all Turkish Airlines flights and on code share agreements with airlines such as American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Points can be redeemed for free tickets, upgrades and discounted car hire. Members also able to take advantage of priority check-in, priority boarding and private lounge facilities.

Nick Barton, business development and planning director for Stansted Airport, said: “Our long-haul networks are growing at a tremendous pace.”

Web-based airline, flyglobespan, says prices for its Canada connection will start from as low as £99 one way including taxes.

The new service will make flyglobespan the third airline to operate a daily transatlantic route from London Stansted following the launch of Eos and MAXjet last year.

flyglobespan will offer three fare bands: Economy, Economy Premier Service Upgrade and Business Class.

With Economy Premier Service Upgrade prices starting at £144 including taxes and Business at £204 including taxes, the company expects a high demand on upgraded seats.

The service will be the second connection between Stansted and Canada in recent years, following Zoom Airlines’ 2004 summer service to Vancouver, which it later dropped in favour of a single route from London Gatwick Airport.

flyglobespan chairman, Tom Dalrymple, said: “There are very strong links between the UK and Canada and we look forward to a lot of activity on what I am sure will prove to be a very popular route.

“In addition to our growing short-haul programme, this will be our first daily long-haul service from Stansted. I think the local people appreciate the type of service we are bringing to their doorstep and I look forward to their continuing support.

“We will also be bringing tourism and significant business traffic into the airport, which can only be good for the area.”

As well as the Stansted programme, the airline will fly daily from both Glasgow and Manchester from next May and will also have weekly flights from Edinburgh, Birmingham, Newcastle, Doncaster’s Robin Hood Airport, Exeter, Belfast and Liverpool’s John Lennon International.

• The success of the low cost airlines that is driving expansion at both Luton and Stansted Airports is also the engine of the global aviation sector, according to travel and transport information firm, OAG.

The Dunstable-based company found that budget airline capacity had more than doubled in the last four years and that low cost growth was up 14 per cent, compared to world air transport, which was just two per cent.

This month, budget airlines plan to operate more than 46 million seats on over 323,000 flights, compared to 22 million seats on 169,000 flights in September 2002.

Around 14 per cent of all flights now are operated by low-cost carriers, accounting for 17 per cent of all seats on sale worldwide.

Europe and the US are both showing the balance of budget flights as 18 per cent, a figure which has been static in the US for the last three years.

Europe as a whole continues its upward trend, with 15,000 more flights – up 18 per cent year on year, with the EU countries accounting for more than 11,000 of these new flights.

China, which is very new to the budget airline phenomenon, is showing a rise of almost 2,000 more flights, which represents a huge increase year on year of more than 4,000 per cent.

“We can only speculate on the future impact China and India will have on the low cost sector,” says Duncan Alexander, managing director of business development at OAG.

“From a tiny base of just 48 low cost flights within China this time last year, the jump to more than 2,000 is remarkable.

“Equally impressive is India’s fledgling market, which has leapt from 600 flights and 28,000 seats in September 2004 to more than 12,000 flights and more than 1.1 million seats in just two years.”

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