Turkish Airlines has launched a third daily flight to Istanbul from London Gatwick as it introduces a service to Sabiha Gokcen airport, located on the Asian side of the Turkish city.
The service will start as three times weekly, until June 1 when it will go daily, departing Gatwick North Terminal at 1420 and arriving in Istanbul at 2015. The route will be served by a B737-800, one of the smallest aircraft in the Turkish fleet (to see a seat plan, click here).
Turkish hopes the route will prove a big advantage to people living in the eastern part of the city, as well as business and leisure markets headed to Istanbul. Turkish also hopes to offer good connections to Ankara, Izmir, Bodrum, Antalya and northern Cyprus.
It takes around an hour by taxi to reach the centre of Istanbul from the eastern airport, as opposed to half an hour from Istanbul Ataturk, according to Google maps.
The launch was marked by a champagne reception for departing guests, with traditional Turkish food and two large chocolate cakes, with each passenger receiving a slice.
Turkish launched services from Gatwick to Istanbul Ataturk in December 2011 (see online news) with a similar event, and has since increased this service to double daily.
The carrier already flies several times a day between London Heathrow and Istanbul Ataturk, as well as operating services out of Manchester and Birmingham. BA also flies from London Heathrow to Ataturk.
Easyjet also fly to Sabiha Gokcen from London Luton and Pegasus Airlines fly from Stansted to Sabiha Gokcen double daily.
For more information visit turkishairlines.com
Report by Scott Carey