A top government official said she is optimistic that a direct flight agreement with Turkey will be worked out, but said there is no timeline for its completion.
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Jean Shen (沈啟) yesterday said the two sides still needed time to iron out details on a accord, but added that she believes there is a high likelihood that a deal will be reached.
The agency also said that there is no timeframe for the signing of the accord.
The Turkish Trade Office in Taipei said it was equally optimistic about signing the flight agreement.
Sources say that Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s national carrier, has been preparing to launch direct flight services to Taiwan for some time.
The airline established a branch in Taipei two years ago.
Turkish Trade Office Director Ismet Eirikan said he is not sure when his country would launch direct flights to Taiwan, but that he is certain that Turkish Airlines would be operating such routes in the future.
Although the number of Taiwanese travelers to Turkey is relatively low, the volume of visitors is rising quickly and Turkey sees great growth potential in the Taiwanese market, he said.
The number of Taiwanese visiting Turkey went from 4,656 in 2003 to 29,960 last year and was expected to reach 36,000 this year, Eirikan said.
Turkey is at the junction of Asia and Europe, and Istanbul serves as a transport hub between the two continents, with flights available to 50 European cities from Istanbul, he said.
Turkish Airlines flies to 102 destinations in Europe, providing several flights a day between Istanbul and London, Paris and Frankfurt.
At present, Taiwanese flying Turkish Airlines to Turkey have to fly via Hong Kong first and then on to Istanbul.
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