PHUKET, 6 February 2017: Turkish Airline will start flights connecting Istanbul and Phuket this July.
According to the airline website, the new service will operate with four weekly flights starting 17 July from Istanbul. The return flight to Istanbul will departsPhuket 18 July.
The airline will use an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, configured with three cabin classes.
The airline is struggling with losses after a coup and terror attacks that have not only cut tourism to the country, but also discouraged passengers who previously used Istanbul as a gateway to connect with other destinations in Europe.
The Phuket flight has considerable risks for the airline financially as Phuket’s low season runs from May through to October, when heavy monsoon rain hits the west coast resorts of the island.
Usually airlines would launch a Phuket service in November to get off to a strong start with the hope it could build up enough interest to see it through the low season months usually on the back of cheap holiday offers.
Turkey has been hit by a spate of attacks blamed on Islamic extremists and Kurdish militants, while tourists were further spooked by the attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the 15 July failed coup and the subsequent crackdown.
Turkish Airlines’ hub at the country’s main airport in Istanbul was the scene of recent terror attacks.
Up until 2015, Turkish Airline was a rising star in aviation, turning a profit on the geographical location of Istanbul promoted as the preferred gateway to Europe from Asia. Today, it faces heavy losses with no end in sight.
The airline sells a roundtrip promotional fare, inclusive of all taxes, fees and surcharges, ex-Phuket starting at THB23,400 to Istanbul.
The deal is similar to what Middle East airlines offer with a stop in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha and links to most major cities in Europe.
Booking must be made by 15 February for travel 17 July to 30 September this year.