The new Turkish airline, focused exclusively on Russian tourists, will operate charter flights from Russia to Antalya starting from the end of May. The carrier was named Southwind, which means “South Wind” (by the way, the airline affiliated with Pegasus is called Nord Wind, which is the opposite of North Wind).
Turkish media explained that in the process of organizing the company the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Finance took part. However, the process accelerated after the application for the establishment of the company by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation of Turkey (SHGM).
It has been revealed that Southwind will initially operate five Airbus aircraft: three wide-bodied and two narrow-bodied. The planes of the new Turkish airline, which will serve as the base for the resort of Antalya, are unlikely to fall under sanctions and insurance risks, experts said.
The events in Ukraine, which led to an embargo against Russian companies, made it difficult to further transport vacationers to Turkish resorts, which had a negative impact on tourism in Turkey. The decision to establish an airline has entered the final stage and now Turkey has a good chance of maintaining an important tourist flow from Russia. Recall that as an additional measure of support for Russian tour operators of Turkish origin – Anex Tour, Pegas Touristik and Coral Travel – $ 300 million was allocated as a loan. In addition, Turkish flag carrier Turkish Airlines has agreed to send 1.5 million Russian tourists to the country during the year.
Russian tourists have been the leading source of holidaymakers in the Republic of Turkey for several years. So, in 2021, almost 4.7 million Russians visited the country, despite the global coronavirus pandemic. For the 2022 season, the Turkish authorities had much more ambitious plans: it was expected that the resorts would receive about seven million Russian tourists. However, the conflict around Ukraine and anti-Russian sanctions intervened in the plans.
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