February 27, 2018 By Victoria Saffa
Turkish Airline-with a BOEING 737 -has started flying to Freetown, its 52nd destination in Africa.
The inaugural ceremony of the Turkish maiden flight to Freetown was done last Saturday at the Lungi International Airport.
According to Chief Executive Officer, Bilal Eksi, the occasion marked another milestone in their international expansion, with the launch of flight in Freetown.
He said with existing services to city–hubs of Accra, Lagos, Bamako, Conakry, Dakar, Abidjan, Cotonou, Douala, Yaounde, N’Djamena, Ougadougou, Niamey, Cape Town, Johannesburg and a lot more, Turkish Airlines has now added flights to Freetown, its 52nd destination in Africa.
He said Turkish Airlines will operate its Freetown flights two times per week – Tuesdays and Saturdays, adding that the service would be providing a link between Istanbul Atatürk International Airport and Lungi International Airport via Ouagadougou.
Established in 1933 with a fleet of five aircrafts, Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines is a 4-star airline today with a fleet of 330 (passenger and cargo) aircraft flying to 301 destinations worldwide – with 252 international and 49 domestic.
According to the 2017 Skytrax survey, Turkish Airlines, having bagged six consecutive years of “Best Airline in Europe” award between 2011-2016, has also been chosen as the “Best Airline in Southern Europe” for the ninth consecutive times.
Having won the “Best Economy Class Onboard Catering” award in 2010, Turkish Airlines was also awarded as the World’s “Best Business Class Onboard Catering” in 2013, 2014 and 2016, and 2017.
It won the “World’s Best Business Class Lounge” award in 2015 and 2017 and also picked up the World’s “Best Business Class Lounge Dining” award for the third consecutive years.
According to the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard B. Koroma, during the height of Ebola in 2014, Sierra Leone had only 2 Airlines flying into the country – Royal Air Maroc and Brussels Airlines – noting that twelve other Airlines have since joined, including Turkish Airlines.
“This is the highest number of Airlines we have ever had in Sierra Leone and we are expecting more. Whilst we are bringing in Airlines, we are also looking for quality customer service, on time arrivals and departures, employment of Sierra Leoneans in line with our local content policy and competitive fares, which Turkish Airlines is known for,” he said.
He called on airline operators to reduce their fares, improve their customer service, make their airports friendlier to Sierra Leoneans on transit and make Sierra Leoneans on long transit hours more comfortable.
“We are willing to provide the incentive and enabling business environment to encourage Turkish Airlines to station several air crafts at Lungi International Airport for sixth freedom rights flights to several International destinations,” he stated.
Minister Koroma added that Sierra Leone also needed an airline partner to introduce direct flights to London, North America, China, Dubai, and Brazil in South America.