Turkey's national flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, en route to resuming its Kuala Lumpur-Istanbul direct flights on April 25, is confident Malaysia will be one of the top five revenue contributors to its Asian operations.
General manager for Singapore Cengiz Inceosman said the airline discontinued the Kuala Lumpur-Istanbul via Bangkok flights in 2002 as the route was not commercially viable back then.
"We have been planning to resume this service for the past three years but we had a shortage of aircraft back then.
"We picked Malaysia because we already have a partner here (Malaysia Airlines), and we see a huge potential for this market," he told a media briefing today, adding that Turkish Airlines eyes more than 80 per cent load factor.
Inceosman said the airline would also leverage on the Umrah market here to Jedah and Madinah via its Istanbul hub, by offering three to four flights daily.
The KL-Istanbul service, priced from RM2,000 for return tickets, will kickstart with three flights weekly, increasing to four flights weekly from June 17.
"In the future, we hope to establish daily flights from KL to Istanbul and vice versa," Inceosman added.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd general manager marketing Mohamed Sallauddin Mat Sah said the resumption of the service would strengthen the Malaysia-Europe connection, thus boosting traffic development between the two countries.
"We're also expecting another European carrier to join us next month," he said, but declined to elaborate.
For its overall operations, Turkish Airlines eyes US$9.749 billion in revenue for the 2013 financial year, up by 20 per cent from US$8.118 billion last year.
The airline also targets a 19 per cent increase in passengers to 46 million this year.-- Bernama