One of the leading European airlines, Turkish Airlines, has announced that it will be flying between Istanbul and Malta as of this summer. The announcement was made during a News Conference presided over by the Minister for Tourism, Culture and the Environment, the Hon. Dr Mario de Marco, held at Auberge d’Italie in Valletta.

When addressing the media, Minister de Marco welcomed the announcement of the commencement of operations by Turkish Airlines, adding that Government is investing in an effective tourism startegy that focuses on investment in tourism product, effective promotion and accessibility which have resulted in four record years in the past five years. “Routes to and from Malta have increased from 56 in 2008 to 81 in 2012 and more routes are being announced in 2013. Success in the tourism sector has strengthened our country’s economy generating commerce for tourism operators and local businesses while creating more employment opportunities,” concluded Minister de Marco.

Turkish Ambassador to Malta, H.E. Mrs Refika Nihal Cevik, said that Turkish Airlines’ flights to Malta will not only contribute in flourishing the economic, cultural and tourism relations between Malta and Turkey but will also have a key role in linking Malta with the other parts of the world namely Central Asia, Middle East and Far East.

In his speech, Malta Tourism Authority CEO Josef Formosa Gauci insisted that this exciting new service from Istanbul highlights the MTA’s commitment in investing in new opportunities for our tourism sector: “We are positive that Malta will prove to be an attractive destination for the Turkish people and we hope that this new route will give rise to new opportunities for the Maltese Islands.”

Malta Airport CEO Markus Klaushofer said that this new operation by Turkish Airlines is a result of the efforts taken by the airport together with MTA and Government to maintain a healthy business mix of legacy airlines, low-cost operators and charter within the airport’s airline portfolio. The addition of one of the leading European legacy carriers enables further accessibility of the Maltese Islands. “The tourism and business travel potential of such a connection will indeed increase the positioning of Malta as a credible offer in the global travel trade,” concluded Mr Klaushofer.

Turkish Airlines representative Muhammed Soner Aydin said that the airline will operate three (3) weekly flights to Malta (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays), linking Malta to the worldwide network of Turkish Airlines. The airline – which forms part of Star Alliance – flies to 217 cities, 219 airports. “In terms of destination countries, Turkish Airlines is the world’s number one airline,” He explained that Turkish Airlines scored a resounding success at the 2012 Skytrax World Airline Awards, with passengers voting it as the “Best Airline in Europe” for the second year running. We believe that this operation will make an easy way to reach both Turkey and Malta for passengers.”

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