Turkish Airlines will begin operating flights to Benghazi if circumstances allow, Turkish Airlines General Manager Temel Kotil said Sunday.
“There was some damage at the Benghazi airport; once it is repaired, the flights will start. We would start today if it were available. Right now, the businessmen are facing difficulties,” Kotil told a group of journalists in Cairo while waiting for the Foreign Ministry officials’ contacts in Egypt ahead of the ministry-led visit to Libya. After the flight ban to Libya’s capital Tripoli, Turkish Airlines stopped all flights to the city.
In response to whether or not the national carrier will resume flights to Tripoli, Kotil said, “If conditions allow, we will fly everywhere.
“We are reaching out not only to the Turks, but to the entire world,” said Kotil, who was among the delegation to visit Libya. “We started flights to Basra. In addition to the Iraqi cities of Arbil and Baghdad, Turkish Airlines will begin flights to the Iraqi Shiite shrine city Najaf next week and later to Suleymaniye and Mosul. We will continue to operate new lines and extend our network,” he said.
It was speculated that Turkish Airlines reduced its number of flights to Syria because of the country’s political unrest. “We didn’t reduce the number,” said Kotil. “There has been a 25 percent decrease in the number of passengers,” he said, noting that the problem was a “temporary” one. “We are flying to Aleppo and Damascus, and we have never stopped our flights,” Kotil told reporters. “Turkish Airlines increased its flights to another politically unrest country, Yemen. The number of weekly flights to Yemen has increased from two to four. Now we are planning to fly to Yemen everyday via Jeddah,” he said. “There has been a lot of demand from Saudi Arabia as well. We are expanding everywhere to establish a network.”