I love less-discussed countries, and I’ve previously looked at Turkish Airlines to Somalia and also to Afghanistan. Now it’s the turn of Iraq, as Turkish Airlines has inaugurated service to its next sixth city in the country, Kirkuk. It comes as Kirkuk opens to commercial flights.

Turkish Airlines to Kirkuk

Located in northern Iraq, the city of Kirkuk is known as the ‘Jerusalem of Kurdistan’ among Kurds. It is around 66 miles (106km) south of Erbil and 169 miles (272km) north of Baghdad and has one of the nation’s largest metro populations.

Previously a military base, Kirkuk International Airport (IATA code: KIK) opened to commercial traffic on October 16th. On the 27th, Turkish Airlines introduced a new route from Istanbul Airport, becoming Kirkuk’s first international service.

According to Flightradar24, TK6890 (not the regular flight number) left Istanbul at 10:50 and arrived in Kirkuk at 12:58. It used TC-LSZ, a 2.1year-old A321neo. After nearly three hours on the ground, for celebratory, dignitary, and press reasons, TK6891 left at 15:39, arriving home 2h 22m later at 18:01. It was a special service ahead of normal operations.

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It’ll be 4x weekly

According to Turkish Airlines’ website, Kirkuk, some 935 miles (1,505km) from Istanbul, is currently served 1x weekly. However, it’ll rise to 4x weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Sundays) from December.

Flights will be by the A321, although it’s unclear if they’ll be by the ceo or neo. All flights appear full and sold out, no matter how close or far to departure. Presumably, they haven’t been released yet.

When at 4x weekly, the schedule will be as follows, with all times local:

  • Istanbul Airport to Kirkuk, TK312, 07:55 AM – 10:30 AM (2h 35m block time)
  • Kirkuk to Istanbul Airport, TK313, 11:20 AM – 14:10 (2h 50m)
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Its sixth destination in Iraq

Turkish Airlines has an extensive Iraq network due to a large Iraqi and Kurdish population in Turkey and many transit passengers over Istanbul. It serves Baghdad, Basra, Erbil, Kirkuk, Najaf, and Sulaimaniyah. It used to serve the major city of Mosul but ceased it in July 2014 due to military action. It’s likely to return at some point.

Next summer, it’ll have up to 9x daily Istanbul Airport-Iraq flights, broken down as follows:

  1. Istanbul Airport to Baghdad: 2x daily, A321
  2. Istanbul Airport to Basra: 1x daily, A321
  3. Istanbul Airport to Erbil: 2x daily, A321
  4. Istanbul Airport to Kirkuk: 4x weekly, A321
  5. Istanbul Airport to Najaf: 1x daily, 737-800
  6. Istanbul Airport to Sulaimaniyah: up to 2x daily, A321 and 737-800
Turkish Airlines to Iraq

Image: GCMap.

What does a day look like?

On randomly chosen April 10th, these nine departures from Istanbul Airport are all scheduled to run:

  1. 00:15: TK806 to Sulaimaniyah
  2. 00:20: TK804 to Erbil
  3. 02:05: TK802 to Baghdad
  4. 03:25: TK796 to Najaf
  5. 04:10: TK798 to Basra
  6. 07:55: TK312 to Kirkuk
  7. 18:35: TK316 to Erbil
  8. 18:40: TK308 to Sulaimaniyah
  9. 22:00: TK302 to Baghdad

What do you make of it all? Let us know in the comments.

Source: simpleflying.com

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