Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kish Free Zone Organization, the free trade organization reported. In a move to attract foreign tourists to Kish Island, the Iranian resort island eyes to be promoted at an international level by a global brand.
The MoU ceremony was held on 15 October 2017 in Kish Island with KFZO’s board of directors and Turkish Airlines’ Vice President of the Middle East and Cyprus, Adam Ceylan, being among those present. Under the memorandum, Turkish Airlines will promote Kish Island internationally and in its in-flight magazines. Fifty foreign business class passengers and top tier frequent flyers a day with destination to one of its six Iranian destinations will also be offered a complimentary three-day vacation package to Kish Island.
In July and August this year, the largest number of Turkish tourists visited Iran, which ranked them fifth, Adam Ceylan told IRINN.
Turkish Airlines operates flights to Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Mashhad, Tabriz and Ahvaz with more than nine daily flights every day from Istanbul. “President Erdogan’s recent visit to Iran shows how close the two countries’ interests are. A MoU to enhance bilateral relations between Iran and Turkey was signed and we believe that Iran can, with its strong civilization, be host to thousands of thousands of Turkish tourists, which is affirmed by Turkish Airlines’ network of six Iranian cities.”, Adam Ceylan said in an interview with IRINN.
There have not been any clear implications whether Turkish Airlines intends starting direct flights to Kish Island. However, in early 2015, various Turkish media reports reported on Turkish Airlines interest to start flights to the resort island.
Kish Airport is ready to serve foreign airlines, a Kish Free Zone Organization official told IRINN at the ceremony.
In 2016, Turkish Airlines announced its intention to increase flights to Tehran, Ahvaz and Kermanshah, new cargo flights to Kermanshah and the introduction of either Bandar Abbas, Yazd, Urmia or Rasht as a new destination. However, after a number of significant events in Turkey in July 2016, Turkish Airlines’ ambitions have still not been realised and the total number of destinations in Iran has dropped from seven to six, following termination of the Kermanshah service.
Turkish Airlines’ MoU comes in the midst of an extraordinary move by the airline to operate a majority of its flights to Shiraz with Airbus A330, an upgrade from A321, in October 2017. According to Turkish Airlines booking system, starting in the summer season 2018, all rotations from Istanbul-Atatürk to Tehran will exclusively be operated by Airbus A330, replacing mixed A321/A330 service.
In the first half of the Iranian year 1396, corresponding to 21 March – 22 September 2017, passenger number at Kish Airport rose by roughly 3 percent to 1,424,180 passengers. 1,400,044 of them were domestic passengers while the rest international. The number of aircraft movements finished at 11,576 takeoffs and landings.
Photo: Kish Free Zone Organization