Turkish Airlines (THY) yesterday operated its first flight from the newly inaugurated Istanbul Airport to Azeri capital Baku. The departing TK 1132 scheduled flight took off at 9:30 a.m. local time with 121 passengers on board and landed at Baku's Heydar Aliyev International Airport.
Daily service to Baku from the massive new airport, whose first phase opened on Oct. 29, will be offered through Dec. 31.
The new service takes the number of weekly flights from Istanbul to Baku to 38, including 28 from Atatürk Airport, seven from Istanbul Airport and three from Sabiha Gökçen Airport. In the first 10 months of this year, Turkish Airlines carried 337,000 air passengers to Baku with a 77 percent seat occupancy rate. Meanwhile, the first international flight from Istanbul Airport was made to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Oct. 31. At full capacity - with the completion of all four phases with six runways - Istanbul Airport is set to become a major global aviation hub. It will host more than 100 airlines and flights to over 300 destinations around the world. The 6 billion euros ($7.2 billion) first stage of the airport, which was built in nearly three years in public-private partnership, officially opened on Oct. 29.
The airport is one of a series of mega-projects planned for Turkey's 2023 centennial.