Qatar Airways launched yesterday direct flights between Doha and Turkey's western province of İzmir.
The inaugural flight had 95 passengers on board. They were greeted with flowers at a ceremony upon landing at İzmir's Adnan Menderes Airport. Initially, there will be three flights a week.
Turkey's Ambassador to Doha Fikret Özer said direct flights between Qatar and İzmir would play an important role, given the relations between the two countries have made significant progress, not only in the political sphere but also in economic and cultural fields.
Özer noted that Turkey has been helpful to the people of Qatar during the period of the embargo, which led to some economic returns for Turkey.
He pointed out that direct and indirect Qatari investments in Turkey have reached $20 billion. "This inauguration will be a new gateway in Qatar and Turkey relations. Our exports to Qatar will increase as a result of these flights. Tourists and businesspeople will be able to travel easily," he added.
Senior Vice President for Qatar Airlines Europe Sylvain Bosc said İzmir was their seventh destination in Turkey. "From now on, we are commencing our services between İzmir and Doha with 12-business and 132-economy capacity Airbus A-320 type aircraft three flights a week. Our flight points will bring investment and tourism opportunities," he added.
Turkish airport operator TAV Aegean Region Director Erkan Balcı, on the other hand, said these flights would make a significant contribution to İzmir and the Aegean Region. Some 36 airlines currently fly to 55 destinations in 30 countries from Adnan Menderes Airport. "In 2018, the airport hosted a total of 13.5 million domestic and international passengers," Balcı said.
In addition to its Izmir flight, Qatar Airways also flies to Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen Airport (21 times a week), Istanbul Airport (14 times a week), Adana Airport (three times a week) and Ankara (five times a week). Meanwhile, the award-winning airline will continue to provide seasonal services to Bodrum and Antalya, starting in May.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways Cargo is taking on a vital role in Turkey with cargo transportation to Adana, Ankara and Istanbul (Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gökçen). The airline also schedules cargo flights three times a week to Istanbul with Boeing 777 type aircraft. With flights to and from İzmir, Qatar Airways Cargo will be able to directly ship perishable items, such as fresh fish and fruit.
İzmir, Turkey's second largest commercial center, is one of the prominent contributors to the Turkish economy. Land transportation between İzmir and Istanbul will also be among the services to be offered. Qatar Airways Cargo's services to and from İzmir will reach over 50 tons per month thanks to cargo transportation and land transportation to be carried out three times a week. Cargo flights to Antalya will also be launched soon.