ABU DHABI: The strong economic relations and tourism, trade and investment cooperation between the UAE and Türkiye are evident in their aviation activities.
Their national carriers act as key connectors to promote tourism and discover business and investment opportunities, with dozens of daily flights offering travellers more convenience and choices.
Travel between the UAE and Türkiyehas seen a recent surge in demand. Emirati national airlines said they have risen to the challenge, as Türkiye is a vital market, adding they have witnessed a remarkable rise in journeys to Turkish locations.
The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said as part of its efforts to enhance air transport relations and increase opportunities for trade and economic cooperation with other countries, an air services agreement signed by the UAE and Turkiye in 1986, which governs their air transport relations and facilitates flights between the two nations.
The UAE's national carriers operate 157 weekly flights from the country's airports, while Turkish airlines run 80 weekly flights to Emirati airports, totalling 237 weekly flights between the two countries.
During the first half of this year, the number of passengers flying from Emirati airports to Türkiye reached 448,487, and the number of arrivals was 565,318 passengers. Meanwhile, the number of transit passengers through UAE airports was 459,313.
The authority highlighted the ongoing coordination between the civil aviation authorities of the two countries, which aims to elevate their relations to higher levels. In 2022, the two nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase flights. Türkiye is a popular tourism destination for UAE citizens and residents, while the UAE is an important trade market for Türkiye.
Etihad Airways operates ten weekly flights from Abu Dhabi International Airport to one destination in Türkiye, Istanbul. The carrier launched its first flight there in June 2009. Currently, it serves the Turkish market with Airbus 231 and Boeing 787 aircraft.
Emirates airlines began its service to Türkiye at an early stage, making Istanbul the 10th destination on its network in 1987, less than two years after its establishment. Today, Emirates travels to 140 international destinations across six continents, and currently operates three daily flights to Istanbul, with all consistently having high seat occupancy rates throughout the year.
In February 2023, Emirates organised an airlift with the Dubai International Humanitarian City to transport urgent supplies, medical equipment and relief materials for the field, including for search and rescue activities, following the earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria. They also transported many family-sized tents provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as medical supplies and shelter materials provided by the World Health Organisation and the World Food Programme.
flydubai, the largest carrier that flies to Turkiye, started flying to the country in 2010, with daily flights to Sabiha Gokcen International Airport. Currently, it operates to and from five destinations in Turkiye, including Ankara, Bodrum, Trabzon and two airports in Istanbul, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport and Istanbul International Airport.
During the peak travel period between June and September 2023, the carrier will operate up to 102 weekly flights between Dubai International Airport and the five destinations in Türkiye, providing convenient options for travellers during the holiday season.
Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer of flydubai, highlighted the importance of the Turkish market and the continuous growth in their operations to and from various Turkish destinations during the summer season.
Air Arabia operates flights to four destinations in Türkiye through Sharjah International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport. The carrier operates ten weekly flights from Sharjah to Istanbul and a daily flight from Sharjah to Sabiha Gokcen International Airport. Seasonal flights from Sharjah include a daily flight to Antalya and three daily flights to Trabzon. Additionally, Air Arabia operates four weekly flights from Abu Dhabi to Sabiha Gokcen Airport.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the low-cost national carrier, started flying from Abu Dhabi to Antalya in early June. Flights operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It also started flying to Turkiye, specifically to the capital city, Ankara, in January, with these flights also operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.