Recently there was something very special to be seen in our almost always blue southern Aegean skies, both figuratively speaking and quite literally, too. With regards to the latter statement a brand-new nonstop flight had been launched connecting London’s Gatwick Airport with Milas-Bodrum Airport. Yet linked to the former observation, this new route rings in a new era in very warm, trustful and above all else successful bi-lateral relations between the United Kingdom and Turkey.
Our dear readers will be aware of the fact that I seldom if ever mention individual businesses in my columns so as not to engage in unfair free public relations, but in this instance it is obvious to state the name of the carrier Turkish Airlines, as if not the entire article would miss its point.
So let me briefly address the first subject, the state of affairs in bi-lateral contacts and why they matter so much for us expatriates. Currently over 90 different product categories are traded between both countries and when I write product category we refer not simply to 90 single products, but to many thousands instead as each category may include tens, or many hundreds of separate goods.
Whilst at present well above 2000 British companies are engaged in bi-lateral trade, the Turkish side is fast catching up; 200 of their own entrepreneurs are already involved in the British marketplace but this number is bound to increase dramatically over the next five to ten years. Simply think white goods and you are pretty likely to come up with a leading Turkish brand in this context intent on becoming the UK’s market leader.
All this underlines that both nations simply get along well, extremely well. And quite often business contacts based on close political relations pave the way for tourism to flourish, in both directions that is. A positive bi-lateral climate is then mirrored in the mainstream media; as a consequence, more and more tourists visit each other’s countries. This in turn leads to even more trade and business and so on and so forth.
For us expatriates who are for decades sharing the splendid southern Aegean shores with our Turkish friends, hosts and neighbors, all of this makes our lives over here so much easier. Not that we are not very welcome here anyway; it gives us just this little extra bit of having the upper hand when explaining to those we left behind in our former homes that we made the right choice and that relocating to Turkey was, is and will always be the right thing to do.
So far, so good! This was the wider picture, the ‘figuratively speaking’ point from my introductory lines. Let us now approach the second issue. Why does a new flight schedule matter in the first instance? Are there not enough alternatives already?
May I be frank: the answer to my last question is a clear no!
As long as routes are sustainable and managed by airlines with a perfect track record of safety first, and service and comfort second and flown with environmentally friendly planes there is nothing wrong at all to add a new one here, and another one there. It is expected that incoming tourist numbers to Turkey for travelers originally hailing from the United Kingdom will see a serious rise in the near future. This needs more routes and more seats, at least during the summer season. And more and more Turkish visitors will be keen on exploring the UK!
But not only necessarily routes and seats offered by anyone. To the contrary, it is a very welcome development when flag carriers decide to step in, too. I fly charter, so would you; but if to my list of attributes from above a further topic is added, price, and as long as a flag carrier offers seats on a comparable fare basis as its charter or no-frills competitors, we as paying customers may greatly benefit.
A national airline should offer at least one free beverage and snack/meal according to time of day/night. I am aware of the sad fact that not all do, but I can assure you that with the new THY route between Bodrum and Gatwick the issue is sorted, positively speaking. The quality of on-board service and entertainment options is exemplary.
Pricing? As with all other airlines we may find ourselves sitting next to a person who smilingly tells us that he paid only one hundred Pound Sterling instead of our two hundred, respectively. Flag carriers may be more expensive, then again they may not.
And last not least, how can we get there? Bodrum airport is further afield than ‘our home airport’ Adnan Menderes in nearby Izmir but let us not forget that we get a simply beautiful transfer shipped in for good measure. There are regular coaches often leaving every hour between Bodrum and Izmir, some go straight to Kusadasi, too. There will be new shuttle services coming our way, too. And we can always spend one night at the other end to take in the sights of Bodrum.
Perhaps the UK’s flag BA carrier will soon join THY and from two return flights per week there will be four. As I wrote, where business goes tourists follow, and in many cases vice-versa too. Bodrum benefits, and the southern Aegean including Kusadasi benefits as well .
May I wish all of our readers a fantastic start of the peak summer season and safe travels no matter with which airline you ultimately decide to fly.