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Turkish Airlines has launched its first flights to and from its 10th U.S. gateway, Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

The first flight from Istanbul Airport (IST) took off on May 21, 2021, and passengers arriving at Newark were greeted with Turkish baklava, a white tulip (a symbol and national flower of Turkey), and a red rose (to honor the Garden State). Departing passengers also received baklava and flowers for the first Turkish Airlines flight that departed from Newark on May. 22, 2021.

Turkish Airlines will offer four flights per week, to and from Istanbul, until the end of May; and on Jun. 1, 2021, the service will increase its frequency to daily flights.

The Newark, NJ gateway will be the airline’s 321st destination, flying to the new Istanbul Airport, which is set to be the world’s largest airport upon completion. The new airport is strategically positioned to connect to more than 60 destinations within a 3-hour flight​.

“We are pleased to expand our presence in North America with the opening of our 10th US gateway and look forward to welcoming travelers aboard this new route to experience our world-class service, award-winning cuisine and world-famous Turkish hospitality,” said M. İlker Aycı, chairman of the board and the executive committee, Turkish Airlines, in a press release statement. “Throughout the past year, we’ve continued to make health and safety a top priority for our passengers and employees, as well as maintaining a strong commitment to keeping the world connected through difficult times, and because of that, we have continued to thrive as a successful airline.”

During the full 2020 calendar year, Turkish Airlines flew 28 million passengers, with a load factor of 71 percent, and was able to maintain its route network to provide connectivity during the uncertainty of the pandemic. The airline was awarded “Diamond” level status by APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association) Health Safety, powered by SimpliFlying, for its high standards of cleanliness and sanitation. In June 2020, the airline announced its Guidelines for Safe Travel, adding new in-flight health protocols such as passenger hygiene kits, containing a face mask, disinfectant and antiseptic tissue, as well as Hygiene Expert cabin crews to oversee on-board hygiene and social distancing measures.

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