Turkish Airlines recently marked the tenth anniversary of its first flight from Istanbul to Shanghai with a gala celebration at the Shanghai Radisson New World Hotel.
Since its inaugural flight in 2000, Turkish Airlines' Shanghai operation has expanded dramatically, with ambitious plans for future development.The airlines' development in Shanghai has mirrored the strong economic growth and expanding bilateral trade between Turkey and China and the increasing importance of Shanghai and Istanbul as hubs of commerce and culture.
When Turkish Airlines began its service to Shanghai, the company offered three weekly a week from Istanbul via Beijing. Today, it offers five direct flights weekly from Istanbul to Shanghai and is to expand its flights to China in the near future.
Gayret Yuksel, the director of the Turkish Airlines Shanghai office, expressed his enthusiasm about Turkish Airline's progress in Shanghai, and its prospects for further growth in the city.
"For the past decade, Turkish Airlines has provided an integral link between these two great cities. We aim to strengthen this link by providing more frequency and options as well as specially-tailored services for Chinese travelers going to Istanbul, and onward to Europe, Africa and the Middle East," said Yuksel.
Since the opening of a direct service between Istanbul and Shanghai in July 2009, more than 28,000 passengers have flown with Turkish Airlines from Pudong International Airport, and more than 1.6 million kilograms of cargo have been shipped. Flight capacity had increased by a third, and the airline reports that despite the economic downturn its average load factor was a 78%. With Expo 2010 in Shanghai the airline expects this trend to continue.
The Turkish ambassador to China, His Excellency Murat Salim Esenli, and the district governor of Jingan District, Lu Xiaodong, also presided over the ceremony and presented speeches of congratulations.