Direct flights to Ugandan

Turkey’s national carrier Turkish Airlines, or THY, has started direct flights to the Ugandan city of Entebbe, its chairman announced Monday.Speaking at a press conference after a ceremony held Monday at Entebbe International Airport, THY Chairman Hamdi Topçu said Africa has become an important continent and a strategic partner for Turkey.Expressing Africa’s significance for THY as well, Topçu said the national carrier had experienced its highest rise in the number of passengers from Africa with a 49.1 percent increase last year.

Scheduled flights between Istanbul and Entebbe will be conducted three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.THY is currently the fourth-biggest company in Europe and “the best airline company in its region, Topçu said.Turkey’s rising star THY serves its customers with a young fleet of 142 aircraft, the youngest fleet in Europe. The company, which carried 25.1 million passengers in 2009, aims at reaching 32 million passengers this year, the chairman added.

Delivering a speech at the press conference, Rama Makuza, the head of Uganda’s civil aviation authority, said THY’s launching of direct flights to Entebbe would improve the economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Uganda.Entebbe has become THY’s 14th direct flight destination in Africa after Benghazi and Tripoli Libya, Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa, Algiers Algeria, Addis Ababa Ethiopia, Dakar Senegal, Khartoum Sudan, Cairo Egypt, Casablanca Morocco, Lagos Nigeria, Nairobi Kenya and Tunis Tunisia.

Istanbul-based THY is one of the fastest-growing airlines in the world. Its main base is at Atatürk International Airport, with secondary hubs at Esenboğa International Airport in Ankara, Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul and Adnan Menderes Airport in İzmir. In 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, THY carried 17 million, 19.7 million, 22.5 million and 25.1 million passengers, with total revenues of $2.23 billion, $3 billion, $4.5 billion and $4 billion, respectively.THY posted a profit of 387 million euros last year, becoming one of the top five airline companies in the world in profitability. It is a member of Star Alliance and has more than 12,000 employees.

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