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Turkish Airlines restores flights to Afghanistan after almost three years 

Turkish Airlines is continuing its pursuit of holding the crown of “flying to more countries than any other airline” by resuming flights between Istanbul and Kabul, Afghanistan. Flights on the route were halted in August 2021 following the Taliban’s takeover of that country’s capital city as Western troops and other organizations left the country.

The first flight of the newly restored route departed Istanbul Airport (IST) at 00:53 local time on May 21, 2024, and landed at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport (KBL) at 06:45 the following morning. The inaugural service was operated by one of the carrier’s 13-strong fleet of Airbus A330-200s registered TC-JNA. The route took the aircraft over the Black Sea, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and into Afghan airspace before descending into Kabul.

The revitalized route is due to operate four times per week, departing Istanbul on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.

The outbound flight (TK706) leaves Istanbul at 00:40 arriving in Kabul at 06:45 (four hours 35 minutes). The return flight (TK707) departs Kabul at 08:45 arriving back in Istanbul at 12:45 the same day (five hours 35 minutes). The route is a total great circle length of 2,251 miles (3,603km).

With the restoration of service to Kabul, the national carrier of Turkey will be flying to an impressive total of 346 destinations spread across 130 countries and six continents. The carrier has a current fleet of 407 aircraft with a bulging order book of an additional 304 aircraft to be delivered in the coming years, including 92 Airbus A350s.

Now that Turkish Airlines has restored flights to Kabul, it will be interesting to see whether other international carriers follow suit. The only other overseas-based airline serving the city is flydubai, which restored its own flights from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Kabul in November 2023.

Meanwhile, homegrown carriers Kam Air and Ariana Afghan Airlines continue to serve a limited range of international services with their small and aging fleets. Kam Air flies to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mashad, Delhi, Islamabad, Istanbul, Tashkent, Kuwait, and Medina with its Airbus A340-300s (four), Boeing 737-300s (two) and 737-500s (four).

Ariana operates international services to Ankara and Istanbul, Moscow, Urumqi, Delhi, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dubai using a fleet comprising Airbus A310s (two) and Boeing 737-400s (two).

The post Turkish Airlines restores flights to Afghanistan after almost three years  appeared first on AeroTime.

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