TURKISH Airlines has announced that it will start two weekly flights between Lusaka and Istanbul in December.
Turkish Airlines chief executive officer Bilal Eksi said the Turkish flag carrier would service the Lusaka route via Dar-es –Salaam with flight arrivals on Mondays and Thursdays beginning December 13, while departures from Lusaka would be on Tuesdays and Fridays.
This came to light during a meeting between Zambia’s ambassador to Turkey Joseph Chilengi and Eksi in Istanbul last Wednesday, according to the embassy’s Facebook posting.
Eksi said Turkish Airlines would gradually increase the frequency of weekly flights.
He said Turkish Airlines was willing to cooperate with airlines that were operating on the Lusaka-Dar es-Salaam route by signing a cooperation agreement in compliance with International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards of operation.
He also informed Dr Chilengi that Turkish Airlines would send an official to Zambia to hold meetings with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL) and the private sector on September 25 and September 26.
And Dr Chilengi commended Turkish Airlines for working towards starting a direct flight between Zambia and Turkey, noting it would boost trade and investment between the two countries.
Dr Chilengi observed that Turkish Airlines would have more leverage for clients travelling to Europe, the Middle East and Asia when the direct flight between Lusaka and Istanbul starts.
He further proposed that in an effort to generate interest in the Lusaka route, Turkish Airlines should consider working with the Zambian Embassy to disseminate information to potential business and tourism groups.
The establishment of the direct flight was part of the discussions during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s official visit to Zambia in July.