Turkish Airlines Launches Non-stop Flights Between Houston and Istanbul

Apr 01, 2013, 22:21 ET from Houston Airport System

Europe's Best Airline Plans for Takeoff at George Bush Intercontinental Airport

HOUSTON, April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Turkish Airlines, one of the world's fastest growing airlines, is expanding its presence in the United States. Today marks the launch of its newest gateway in Houston, Texas. Houston becomes the fifth U.S. gateway, joining Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The airline will offer non-stop flights from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport (IST).

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130401/DC86593 )

"We're delighted that Turkish Airlines can now serve the Houston community and better connect them with our services to 220 destinations globally via Istanbul," says Hamdi Topcu, Turkish Airlines' Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Executive Committee. "Houston is a key point in the international aviation. We believe that these new flights will make international travel easier and more convenient for both business and leisure travelers in the area."

Members of the media, along with Hamdi Topcu, Turkish Minister of Economy Zafer Caglayan, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the Consul General of Turkey in Houston Cemalettin Aydin, President of the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT), Ilker Ayci, and Houston Airport System Director of Aviation Mario Diaz, attended the launch event at Terminal D at George Bush Intercontinental Airport before Turkish Airlines' inaugural flight. The event featured authentic Turkish cuisine, live entertainment, a ribbon cutting ceremony and speaker remarks by top officials from local government, the Turkish government, Turkish Airlines, and the Houston Airport System.

"The direct flights to Istanbul will strengthen trade, investment and tourism ties for Houston in Turkey," said Mayor Annise Parker. "I will lead a trade mission later this month to Istanbul to capitalize on the new air service and develop more economic relationships that will build a stronger bond between our global markets."

For the first time ever, Houstonites will be able to experience firsthand Turkish Airlines' unparalleled service, award-winning gourmet cuisine and amenities on the Boeing-777 aircraft en route to Istanbul. Houston service of Turkish Airlines will start with four frequencies per week: Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Beginning from July 3, 2013, the weekly frequencies of the mentioned flights will increase to six : Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

"This new route positions Texas with a new strategic advantage for international commerce since more than 300 Houston companies have business or trade ties with Turkey," said Mario C. Diaz, Director of the Houston Airport System. "In addition, Turkish Airlines offers outstanding connections from Istanbul, where a connecting passenger will have only three hours flying time to 50 different countries."

Thirty-nine million passengers flew with Turkish Airlines in 2012 and that number is expected to grow by nine million this year, resulting in a 20% increase compared to 2011. With Houston being the fourth largest city in the United States in terms of population and home to thousands of Turkish residents it was a natural choice for the airlines' next gateway. Houston is comprised of many different ethnic communities, many whom travel frequently to their homelands. Trade missions between Texas and Turkey have dramatically increased over the past few years and with the introduction of Turkish Airlines in the Houston market, investment opportunities will multiply.

Introductory fares from Houston to Istanbul start at $599. Tickets can now be purchased online at http://www.turkishairlines.com/.

About Turkish Airlines:
Established in 1933 with a fleet of only five airplanes, Star Alliance member, Turkish Airlines is today a four star airline with a fleet of 215 aircraft (passenger and cargo) flying to 220 cities around the world, comprised of  36 domestic and 184 international destinations. One of the fastest growing airline companies, Turkish Airlines has received several "Passengers Choice Awards" from the consumer  ranking group, Skytrax. Based on 2011 and 2012 results, Turkish Airlines has been chosen as the winner of "Best Airline Europe", "Best Premium Economy Seats" for its Comfort Class seats and "Best Airline Southern Europe". It has also received awards for its catering and holds a coveted 4-star designation, putting the airline in a small group of top quality carriers. Turkish Airlines was also given the Skytrax designation of "World's Best Economy Class On-board Catering" in 2010, and Skyscanner's "Best On-board Food 2011". Long haul Business Class passengers also enjoy the Flying Chef service on-board.

About Star Alliance:
The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognised by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, AviancaTaca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines ,Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAM Airlines, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United and US Airways. EVA Air have been announced as future members. Overall, the Star Alliance network offers more than 21,900 daily flights to 1,329 airports in 194 countries.

About Houston Airport System:
The Houston Airport System served 50 million passengers in 2012. Houston's three airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and Ellington Airport (EFD) contribute over $27 billion to the regional economy. Visit fly2houston.com and follow us @HobbyAirport and @IAH.

SOURCE Houston Airport System