Turkey’s national flag carrier, Turkish Airlines is resuming free stopover services with plans to expand the project after a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, it announced on Wednesday.
Over 57,000 transfer passengers departing from 42 countries have so far gotten the opportunity to discover the city of Istanbul thanks to Turkish Airlines’ free stopover accommodation services launched in 2017, the carrier said in a statement.
Turkish Airlines plans to expand the scale of stopovers by adding 15 more countries — Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrein.
Passengers departing from the countries covered in the project that have a stopover in Istanbul of more than 20 hours are eligible for the accommodation service.
After launching in 2017, the stopover service drew great interest from passengers who were using Istanbul as their transfer center, but the service was put on pause due to the pandemic. As the effects of the pandemic are lessening, the flag carrier is resuming this service as of March 2022 to elevate the passenger experience to a new level.
As a way for passengers with long connection times to spend quality time in Istanbul, Turkish Airlines will provide a one-night stay in a 4-star hotel for economy class and a two-night stay in a 5-star hotel for business class passengers with a hotel voucher that is issued after the ticket purchase. In addition, passengers will also have the option of staying at contracted hotels with prices starting at 49 USD.
“We aim to show the Turkish hospitality and unique wonders of Istanbul to our passengers opting for stopover accommodation services, while contributing to tourism in Turkiye,” said CEO Bilal Eksi, adding that they also sought to increase the number of transfer passengers that the airline carries.
Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933 with a fleet of five aircraft, currently has nearly 334, including passenger and cargo planes.
It flies to 329 destinations, including 279 international and 50 domestic destinations.