In the midst of the current travel climate, Vancouver has just gained a new frequent non-stop flight route to Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines began its three times weekly service from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to Istanbul Airport (IST) yesterday, May 2.

The route departs YVR at 5:25 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and arrives in IST at 2:55 pm the next day. For return trips, flights leave IST at 2:10 pm on the same day and arrive at YVR at 3:55 pm the following day.

This service uses a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner with 30 business class and 270 economy class seats.

The airline first announced its plans before the pandemic to launch a Vancouver service, but the scheduled inaugural flights in June 2020 were postponed.

All flights operated by Turkish Airlines were suspended between mid-March until the end of June 2020, with the flag carrier restarting its five weekly flights to Toronto and three weekly flights to Montreal later that summer.

The addition of Vancouver to the airline’s itinerary brings it up to 11 weekly flights to and from Canada.

Istanbul, Turkey. (Shutterstock)

Turkish Airlines states it is practicing the latest best practices for health traveller safety.

“Now more so than ever, passenger health and safety is at the forefront of what we do and this is especially important as we continue to support essential travel and cargo transportation during this pandemic,” said İlker Aycı, chairman of the board and executive committee for Turkish Airlines, in a statement.

“As the Turkish national flag carrier, we have specified new criteria and taken new measures in all our procedures together with health authorities.”

While connection possibilities are currently limited due to the global curtailing of flight routes as a result of travel restrictions, the new direct flight to IST provides passengers from YVR with a new way to connect to flights serving other destinations in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. IST is a major international hub with 50 million annual passengers prior to the pandemic.

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