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Turkish Airlines (THY) resumes flights to Occupied Thessaloniki after 10 years May 30, 2011

Posted by Yilan in Turkey, Yunanistan.
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Turkey’s rapidly growing national flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) on Friday resumed flights to the occupied city of Thessaloniki in its northwestern neighbor, Greece, after an interval of 10 years.

THY’s Thessaloniki flights were cancelled in 2001 due to economic difficulties the company was facing at the time. While seeing passengers off with flowers at İstanbul Atatürk Airport on the first THY flight to the Macedonian city in 10 years, THY CEO Temel Kotil commented that there is tremendous demand for the route, particularly from transit passengers. After Athens, Thessaloniki is now THY’s second destination in Greece. “We will make İstanbul the most easily accessible city worldwide before 2023,” said Kotil, referring to the centennial of the Republic of Turkey.

Explaining the significance of the flight number given to the İstanbul-Thessaloniki route — TK 1881 — Kotil said Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was born in Thessaloniki in 1881 and it was he who also founded THY almost 80 years ago. “This is something we owe to him. Atatürk founded THY in 1933 and gave it to people as a gift. Now we are making him a star in the sky,” he said.

THY flights to Thessaloniki will take place four times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Flights will depart at 10:00 (GMT +2) from İstanbul and at 12:25 (GMT +2) from Thessaloniki. Until March 31 of next year, THY will offer its passengers a reduced price of 164 euros with all taxes included for a round-trip flight.

Contribution to Turkey-Greece trade

Following the landing of the first THY plane at the Thessaloniki airport, THY Chairman Hamdi Topçu held a press conference together with Greek Regional Development and Competitiveness Alternate Minister Socratis Xenidis, Periphery of Central Macedonia Vice Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas and Thessaloniki Mayor Yiannis Boutaris, as well as Turkey’s Ambassador to Greece Hasan Göğüş. “These flights will bring the two sides of the Aegean Sea closer,” said Topçu at the conference. He noted that THY had decided to resume flights to Thessaloniki after a decade to further to contribute what he described as growing political, economic and cultural relations between Turkey and Greece. THY’s goal is to carry 10,000 passengers on this route.

Also speaking at the same meeting with Turkish and Greek journalists, Xenidis emphasized that THY’s flights between İstanbul and Thessaloniki will contribute to both trade and tourism between the two neighbors. “That this route has been reopened is vitally important for the economies of the two countries and the improvement of relations between their peoples,” Xenidis said.

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