British Airways commences new service to Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen from Heathrow

British Airways has announced the launch of its new service between London Heathrow and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen

Located on the Anatolian side of the city, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG) is the gateway into Istanbul’s rich history, culture, shopping and dining.

The new route between London Heathrow (LHR) and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) will operate four times per week on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays on a mix of A320 and A321 aircraft. Return fares start from £368 in Club Europe (British Airways’ business class cabin) and £130 in Euro Traveller (economy).

British Airways’ Head of Corporate Sales in Europe, Elisabeth Ruff, said: ‘As we continue our investment programme into new products, services, and technology, we’re excited to open up even greater connectivity between two of the world’s leading cities, Istanbul and London.’

Berk Albayrak, CEO, Sabiha Gokcen Airport, said: ‘British Airways has become the 45th airline to operate to Sabiha Gokcen and now our passengers can benefit from its extensive global route network. British Airways serves 200 destinations in more than 65 countries and with their large fleet and renowned services, the addition of this route will undoubtedly further enhance the travel experience of our guests.’

Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen has become the latest destination to join British Airways’ network, with the inaugural flight landing on Thursday June 1, 2023. Sabiha Gokcen serves 154 destinations located across 51 countries via flights operated by 45 airlines.

Wizz Air commences direct flights to Istanbul from Luton and Gatwick

European regional airline Wizz Air has announced the launch of new routes from London Luton Airport and Gatwick Airport to Istanbul in Turkiye.

The new daily flights from London Luton Airport and Gatwick Airport commenced services on March 28, with flights from both airports operating to Turkiye’s largest city, Istanbul. Known as the cultural capital of the country, Istanbul is rich with historic sites, contemporary art museums and lively cafes.

Marion Geoffroy, Managing Director, Wizz Air UK said: ‘We are excited to announce the launch of two new routes to Istanbul from our bases at London Luton Airport and Gatwick Airport. With its striking architecture, buzzing markets and authentic cuisine, Istanbul is a unique city that offers something for every traveller. Together with our recently announced routes to Antalya and Dalaman from Gatwick Airport, today’s announcement demonstrates our continued commitment to serving the Turkish market as well as to offering improved connectivity, affordable fares and even more choice to our UK customers. Not only is Istanbul a new destination for Wizz Air, but it is also a brand new destination for London Luton Airport. We look forward to welcoming passengers onboard our young, efficient and sustainable aircraft.’

Stephanie Wear, VP Aviation Development, London Gatwick Airport said: ‘We are really pleased to welcome Wizz Air’s new route to Istanbul. It adds to the excellent range of destinations Wizz offers London Gatwick passengers and, as the first low-cost offer between Gatwick and Istanbul, provides more competition for people looking to visit this fantastic, historic city.’

The new routes build on Wizz Air’s continued expansion, with new routes from Gatwick Airport to Antalya, Dalaman, (Turkiye) and Verona, (Italy) and from London Luton Airport to Amman, (Jordan), Bydgoszcz, and Lodz (Poland).

Jonathan Rayner, Chief Commercial Officer at London Luton Airport said: ‘Istanbul is a vibrant and historic city that is sure to be a firm favourite with passengers flying from London Luton Airport. It’s always exciting to see a new destination appear on London Luton Airport’s departure boards and Istanbul is the first of several new destinations set to be introduced over the coming months, providing even greater choice as part of the simple and friendly passenger experience that we offer.’

easyJet launches first flights to Istanbul from Manchester

easyJet has announced a new route to Istanbul in Turkey, which will take off this summer from Manchester.

This is the first time the UK-based airline will operate to the Istanbul Airport in Turkey’s largest city. Spanning two continents, and famously known as the city where East meets West, Istanbul boasts a rich history and offers travellers a variety experiences. The city joins other destinations such as Bodrum, Antalya, Dalaman and Izmir on easyJet’s Turkey network.

Starting from June 9, flights will operate twice a week on Mondays and Fridays, providing a direct connection for customers from the North-West. Seats are on sale now at and via the mobile app, with fares from £51.99 one way, including taxes.

Ali Gayward, easyJet’s UK Country Manager said: ‘We are delighted to be adding the brand new destination of Istanbul to easyJet’s network. The new route from our Manchester base to this iconic city further expands the choice we can offer our customers from the North-West for both flights and package holidays, and promises to offer travellers a vibrant and culturally rich destination to explore, as well as providing greater connectivity to the city to support inbound tourism and business travel alike.

‘While this region has thankfully not been affected by the recent tragic earthquakes, we continue to collect donations onboard our flights for UNICEF’s emergency appeal. We would like to thank all of our customers who have already donated for their kindness and generosity in raising over £400,000, which will help UNICEF and their volunteers to continue providing a vital lifeline in the region for the children and families who have been affected by the earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria.’

Alongside the new route, easyJet Holidays has also announced the sale of new package holidays to Istanbul. Holidaymakers can make the most of city break packages starting at £437 per person, including hotel, flights and 23kg luggage. easyJet Holidays offers 13 hotels to choose from, including the 5* CVK Park Bosphorus Hotel Istanbul in the New City, the 5* Eresin hotels Topkapi in the Old City, and the 5* Wanda Vista Istanbul in Marmara.

Chris Woodroofe, Managing Director at Manchester Airport, added: ‘This new service is great news for travellers. easyJet has already announced that it will be basing an additional aircraft here at Manchester this summer, and the expansion of its route network demonstrates the strength of demand for leisure travel in our region, in spite of cost-of-living pressures.’

Turkish Airlines to expand its Birmingham-Istanbul service

Turkish Airlines is planning to increase its services between Birmingham Airport and Istanbul to twice daily, according to a report by Birmingham Post.

The airline has announced that it will move from 12 flights a week to double daily from the end of May. Initially, flights will increase to 13 per week from March 27 and then to double daily from May 30. The double daily service will add more than 600 extra seats a week, offering both business and leisure travellers increased flexibility and choices.

Selim Ozturk, general manager for Turkish Airlines in Birmingham, said: ‘Birmingham Airport is a hugely successful base for us and we have grown significantly over the past eight years.

‘This double daily announcement gives passengers even more choice and, with 283 onward destinations via Istanbul throughout the Middle East, the Far East and Africa, Birmingham Airport really is the gateway to the world with our award winning airline.’

Birmingham Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe added: ‘Turkish Airlines is a fantastic carrier and partner to have here at Birmingham Airport.

‘Starting eight years ago, the service has gone from strength to strength carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers.

‘The Turkish Airlines in-flight product is award winning and extremely popular which is demonstrated by more and more people choosing to experience the service, reliability and affordability it offers.

‘I congratulate the Turkish Airlines team on doing a great job here in the region and increasing passenger numbers year-on-year, and for further committing to Birmingham Airport.’

Turkish Airlines started its Birmingham Airport – Istanbul service with five flights a week in December 2008, and later increased the number of flights to seven weekly departures in January 2012. Later that year, the service was increased to ten flights per week and in December 2014 the airport announced the programme would expand to 12 weekly flights.

Turkish Airlines to do double daily to Istanbul from summer 2019

Turkish Airlines has announced double daily services between Birmingham and Istanbul for summer 2019.

In response to the growing passenger traffic, Turkish Airlines is planning to launch the second daily flight on the popular route as of March 31, 2019, bringing the airline to a twice daily service. Tickets for flights are available to be booked at

The first daily service will leave Birmingham Airport at 10.40, arriving in Istanbul at 16.35 local time, with the second flight departing at 17.00 from Birmingham Airport and arriving in Istanbul at 22.55 local time. The flights will be operated by a 737-800.

Tom Screen, Acting Aviation Director, Birmingham Airport said: ‘It is great to see that Turkish Airlines will commence the double daily flights for Summer 2019. Responding to the increased demand for passengers flying to Istanbul from Birmingham Airport means the airline is listening and reacting to the needs of the customer, creating more flexibility for passengers travelling on the popular route.’

Mr Omer Faruk Alier, General Manager – Birmingham, Turkish Airlines, added: ‘We are pleased to announce that due to the popularity of the route we will be adding extra two flights per week, making a total of 14 flights each week from Birmingham to our hub in Istanbul and beyond from summer 2019. Turkish Airlines, a multi award winning carrier who flies to more countries than any other airline, will be offering customers better connections from Istanbul to over 300 destinations across the globe. What’s more, thanks to our ever-expanding network, with hundreds of flights departing Istanbul each day, we offer transfer times to suit all travellers.’

‘We look forward to welcoming even more people from across Birmingham and the surrounding regions onboard our planes and giving everyone a further opportunity to widen their world with Turkish Airlines through this increase.’

Turkish Airlines launches double daily flights from Birmingham

Turkish Airlines has commenced its double daily services between Birmingham and Istanbul, increasing the volume of seats on sale from the Midlands, and providing 289 onward global connections from Istanbul.

Paul Kehoe, chief executive, Birmingham Airport, said, ‘I congratulate the Turkish Airlines team on doing a great job here in the region and increasing passenger numbers year-on-year, and for further committing to Birmingham Airport and the wider region.’

‘Turkish Airlines is an award winning carrier and long-standing partner of ours which has gone from strength to strength serving hundreds of thousands of passengers from our catchment. The Turkish Airlines in-flight product is first class and extremely popular with its customers, which is demonstrated by more and more people choosing to experience the service, reliability and affordability it offers from Birmingham and beyond.’

Selim Ozturk, General Manager for Birmingham, Turkish Airlines, said, ‘Birmingham Airport is a hugely successful base for us and we have grown significantly over the past eight years. This double daily announcement gives passengers even more choice and with 289 onward destinations via Istanbul throughout the Middle East, the Far East and Africa, Birmingham Airport really is the gateway to the world with our award winning airline.’

Turkish Airline has registered significant growth since it started operating from Birmingham Airport with five services a week to Istanbul in December 2008. By increasing its frequency every year, the airline has now reached 14 flights weekly.

Meanwhile, Birmingham Airport has registered record breaking growth in passenger numbers in the past 14 consecutive months. In total, 872,833 passengers were handled at the airport in April 2016, up by 13.2 percent compared to the same month last year when the last record April was set. Long-haul routes experienced the greatest rise in demand, with 41.2 percent passenger growth compared to April 2015. Meanwhile, short-haul routes saw a 9.7 percent growth rate year-on-year, the airline said recently.

Turkish Airlines, Emirates increase services at Birmingham Airport

Turkish Airlines has announced plans to increase services between Birmingham and Istanbul from ten flights a week to twelve from March 29, 2015, offering more domestic and international connections to passengers from the Midlands.

Selim Ozturk, General Manager for Birmingham, Turkish Airlines said, ‘Outside of London, Birmingham is the UK’s third largest airport, handling more than 9.5 million passengers a year and serving 140 direct destinations worldwide. Over the summer months, these numbers are expected to soar as residents of Birmingham and surrounding areas embark on their summer vacations.

‘In 2014, we saw our passenger numbers increase by 8% from January to December, compared to the same period in 2013. As Istanbul is a hot destination for long weekend breaks and extended summer holidays, Turkish Airlines will be increasing its weekly flight services from Birmingham to Istanbul to twelve per week from March. The new flights will provide additional domestic and international connections to our passengers travelling from Birmingham.

Paul Kehoe, Chief Executive, Birmingham Airport, added, ‘Turkish Airlines’ Birmingham operation has gone from strength to strength because it has listened to the market and given customers what they want.

We are therefore very proud to have Turkish Airlines operating from Birmingham and delighted that it is further committing to the region by increasing frequencies to Istanbul and beyond.’

Separately, UAE-based Emirates has announced a third daily service from Birmingham Airport to Dubai, becoming the first airline to offer a direct First Class service to the region.

Starting from Saturday August 1, 2015, Emirates flight EK41 will depart Dubai International Airport at 0235hrs and arrive in Birmingham at 0705hrs. The outbound flight EK42 will depart Birmingham Airport at 0910hrs and arrive in Dubai at 1910hrs. The additional service adds seven more inbound flights a week to Dubai for Birmingham, increasing passenger and cargo capacity on the route by 50 percent.

Hubert Frach, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President – Commercial Operations West, said: ‘Dubai has proven to be an increasingly strong market for leisure and business travellers residing in the West Midlands. The additional daily flight to Dubai from Birmingham will give our customers greater flexibility in their travel plans, departing from their local airport. Customers can experience the ease of flying to Dubai and connect seamlessly to other flights on Emirates’ extensive network such as East Asia.

As part of our continued commitment, we’re excited to become the first airline offering First Class to the region.’


Autogrill to start cooking in Istanbul and Dubai

Autogrill, a provider of food & beverage and retail services for travellers, has announced that it will launch operations in Dubai and Istanbul through its HMSHost International division.

The company is to offer its range of fine dining at Istanbul and Dubai airports. Once the operations are launched, HMSHost International will have 13 points of sale at Istanbul airport in Turkey. The move is expected to generate overall revenue of more than €100m in the 2012 to 2022 period. The company will also open four points of sale at Dubai airport in the United Arab Emirates. That operation is expected to generate total revenue of around €25m over a period of five years.

The company renewed its F&B/retail concessions contracts at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport in May, for 10 years. That operation is expected to generate sales of at least $1.2bn over its 10-year duration.

In a statement, the company said, ‘In just a few years Turkey was transformed into one of the emerging markets best equipped to compete globally and one of the strongest regions, with an increasingly important role as a link between East and West. GDP is expected to reach an annual average growth rate of around 7 percent in the period 2011-2017. The fastest growing sectors include infrastructure, which will expand the country’s national and international transport capacity.’

HMSHost International recently opened two restaurants at Dubai Airport, and is to open two more by the end of the year.

Autogrill mainly operates in airports, motorway service areas and railway stations, and has a selective presence in high street shopping centres, trade fairs, museums and other cultural facilities. It operates in 35 countries.

The Top Five Short Breaks from London

Cox & Kings, a UK-based travel company, has listed top five European cities for short breaks from London.

Berlin, Germany

Since the World Wars, the city of Berlin has played an important role in shaping the history of Europe. The present city is a lively tourists hotspot, offering various attractions including the tree-lined boulevard of Unter den Linden, the century-old, Hackescher Markt station, the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag parliament building.

A four-night stay in Berlin costs around £625 per person.

St Petersburg, Russia

St Petersburg city is replete with buildings that reflect Neoclassical and Baroque architecture, interwoven with numerous waterways. It offers many visitor attractions including one of the world’s largest museums, the State Hermitage museum, which hosts a large collection of oriental, Russian and western European art.

A three-night stay in St Petersburg costs around £455 per person.

Istanbul, Turkey

The Turkish city of Istanbul is said to offer a blend of Asian and European charm. Tourist attractions include the Blue Mosque, the Ottoman sultans’ Topkapi Palace, and the former Orthodox basilica, Hagia Sophia. Turkish baths or Hamams are also a popular spa experience.

A three-night stay in Istanbul costs around £455 per person.

Venice, Italy

Venice is the city of palazzos, piazzas, courtyards and marbled churches, which throughout history have drawn tourists from far and wide. An experience that is not to be missed is a cruise on a gondolier along the city’s many canals.

A four-night stay in Venice costs around £345 per person.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest offers travellers cafes, restaurants, boutiques and spas. Places to see include the Buda Castle quarter, a UNESCO world heritage site that is around 700 years old, Andrassy Avenue, one of the city’s boulevards, and the Central Market Hall.

A three-night stay in Budapest costs around £345 per person.