Launching its scheduled cargo services for business expansion to the Baltic region, on 1 July, the first cargo flight operated by Turkish national airline Turkish Airlines cargo carrier Turkish Cargo landed at Riga International Airport.
The new cargo flight operated by Turkish Cargo is the first scheduled legacy freighter service in the Baltic region.
Flights to Riga will be operated twice a week by Airbus 330-200F aircraft, capable of carrying up to 68 tons of cargo. The scheduled cargo services will complement the scheduled passenger flights between Istanbul and Riga that have been operated by Turkish Airlines already since 2006.
"The goal of Turkish Cargo is to provide very fast connections from the Baltic region to the Far East, Africa, the Middle East and Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan through our extensive network of routes," says Efe Ozler, the airline's Regional Cargo Manager.
Ilona Līce, Chairperson of the Board of Riga International Airport: "The launch of regular cargo traffic from Istanbul to Riga is an important step not only for Riga International Airport, but for the entire aviation sector of the Baltic Sea Region. The Airport is happy and proud that Turkish Cargo has chosen Riga for launching this service, thus appreciating the opportunities and advantages offered by the upgraded infrastructure of Riga Airport and its suitability for cargo services. The development of the cargo segment is one of the strategic directions of Riga International Airport; therefore the Airport intends to continue its investments in the improvement of the cargo service infrastructure."
“Selling capacity on the new online freighter at Riga Airport will of course be quite a new and exciting challenge. I have no doubt that the volumes are there, and we will be heading for a solid performance with Turkish Cargo,” says Audrius Lukosevicius, Managing Director at Kales Airline Services, Turkish Airlines general cargo sales agent in the Baltics.
As reported before, in 2016 Riga Airport witnessed a growth of 4.8% in its air cargo volumes. In the first five months of 2017, 8323 tons of cargo were handled at Riga International Airport, which is 1.7% more than in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Riga International Airport is the largest air traffic hub in the Baltics. The 20 airlines operating at Riga Airport offer more than 60 destinations in the winter season and almost 90 in the summer season. In 2016, Riga Airport handled over 5.4 million passengers - nearly 45% of the entire Baltic air passenger traffic.