SunExpress, Turkey’s low cost scheduled airline that was founded as a joint venture by Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, is to launch a new twice-weekly non-stop service on Thursday, 8 February 2007 between London Stansted and the picturesque city of Antalya on the Turkish Riviera. SunExpress will operate between London Stansted and Antalya on Mondays and Thursdays. The flights depart from Stansted at 10.30 to arrive in Antalya at 16.30 local time. Services from Antalya will depart at 07.05 and arrive in Stansted at 09.30. Flight time is just four hours from Stansted to Antalya and 4 hours 30 minutes on the return leg.
In addition to the new Antalya service, SunExpress is to introduce a second route between the UK and Turkey in March. The second non-stop scheduled service will be between London Stansted and Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city and second largest port, with a connecting service to Ercan in Northern Cyprus.
The new scheduled services offered by SunExpress between London Stansted and Turkey reflect the growing popularity and demand for Turkey as a destination in the UK, especially Antalya, the Turkish Riviera, Izmir and the resorts around the Aegean Sea, all of which have a special appeal to the increasing number of independent travellers and those with second homes in the area.
Antalya is also the gateway for Belek, Turkey’s premier golf region. Belek, located on the Mediterranean coast 30 km east of Antalya, currently boasts five golf clubs with a further 11 courses and 44 hotels in various stages of construction with a number programmed to open during 2007. Signature course designers include Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and David Feherty.
SunExpress’ schedule to Antalya will give UK golfers the all-year-round option to fly out on Thursday and return on Monday after a weekend of three full days of golf in the sun. Reflecting the sporting interest in Antalya and Izmir, SunExpress offers complimentary carriage of golf and diving equipment weighing less than 30 kilos.
Antalya and the resorts in and around the Turkish Riviera offer plenty to attract the non-golfer with accommodation options to cater for every taste and budget. The setting is spectacular with long, golden sandy beaches and a backdrop of mountains. The area is an award winner for environmentally friendly developments and sustainable tourism. There are many rare species of plant and wildlife indigenous to the area. Culture vultures find plenty of interest in the archaeological museums that feature rare artefacts from the Palaeolithic Age through to Ottoman times. The region also offers spa centres, Turkish Baths, yachting, rafting, diving and trekking, and no visit to the area is considered complete without witnessing the Manavgat waterfalls, the Carain caves, the lakes at Isparta and the picturesque harbour in Antalya.
SunExpress, which made its first flight in 1989, boasts a young fleet with an average age of under 7-years and currently operates nine Boeing 737-800s and four Boeing 757-200s. It carried more than 2-million passengers in 2006. Besides the UK, SunExpress offers non-stop scheduled services between Turkey and over 20 destinations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, as well as a domestic Turkish network serving nine destinations. The airline has an interline agreement with Lufthansa and a code-share agreement with Turkish Airlines. SunExpress, which also operates custom-made and full charters, moved its headquarters from Frankfurt to Antalya in 1990 and in 1996 Lufthansa’s shares in SunExpress were transferred to Condor, the airline of the Thomas Cook Group.
Although considered a ‘low cost scheduled carrier’, SunExpress’ product offer includes: free beverages and non alcoholic drinks; complimentary meal plus special dietary options; seat selection at check-in; newspapers; in-flight movie & audio entertainment; 20 kgs free baggage allowance; and golf and dive equipment carried free of charge up to 30 kgs.