Turkish Airlines' Inaugural Istanbul-Miami Flight Headlines Huge Day of New Air Service at MIA

MIAMI, Oct. 27, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- From left to right: Turkish Airlines' inaugural flight is greeted at MIA by a traditional water-cannon salute and British Airways' inaugural Airbus A380 superjumbo flight pulls up to the gate at MIA.

Miami International Airport welcomed an impressive mix of new carriers, new routes and new superjumbo aircraft yesterday (Sunday, October 25), led by Four-Star carrier Turkish Airlines' inaugural Istanbul-Miami flight. The lineup also featured longtime MIA airline partner British Airways' introduction of daily Miami-London Heathrow service aboard the massive Airbus A380 superjumbo, and the start of daily Las Vegas service by ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines. Additionally on October 25, Lufthansa introduced expanded seasonal to Munich, SWISS and Virgin Atlantic launched additional daily flights and Air France kicked off seasonal Airbus A380 service.

"If there's a clear illustration of all of the good things that are happening at MIA, this phenomenal day was it," said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. "Most airports don't see this kind of air service development in a year or even several years, and MIA did it all in a single day. Congratulations to our entire Aviation team for their hard work."

Turkish Airlines' inaugural flight marked the beginning of scheduled daily nonstop flights between two premier global destinations: the historic gateway linking Europe and Asia and the Gateway of the Americas. Flight 77 from Istanbul's Ataturk Airport – operated using a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft – touched down in Miami at 5:49 p.m. and was greeted with a traditional water cannon salute. Chairman of the Board of Turkish Airlines M. Ilker Ayci, onboard the inaugural flight with other company executives, was welcomed to MIA by Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director Emilio T. González, Turkish Consul General in Miami Özgür Kivanç Altan and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose 'Pepe' Diaz, Chairman of the County's Trade and Tourism Committee. The group then joined other special guests for a welcome reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony inside MIA's soaring Concourse J international arrivals lobby.

British Airways' inaugural Airbus A380 service to Miami was also cause for celebration. Partners for more than 40 years, MIA and BA teamed up to welcome the 469-seat double-decker with a gate-side party for passengers on the outbound Miami-London flight. Aviation Director González, BA Senior Vice President for North America and Asia Pacific Steve Clark, and British Vice Consul General in Miami Mark Smithson addressed the assembled travelers and joined them for refreshments before the London-bound superjumbo departed. British Airways will continue to operate two daily Miami-London flights, with the Boeing 747-400 handling one flight and the Airbus A380 handling the other.

Not to be outdone, MIA and Frontier Airlines welcomed passengers on the ultra-low-cost carrier's inaugural Miami-Las Vegas flight with a breakfast buffet and casino-themed cake, as well as showgirls, a cash-grab machine for a few lucky passengers and a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring airport and airline executives. The new Las Vegas flights will be operated using 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft, with daily flights departing Miami at 9:00 a.m. and arriving in Las Vegas at 11:20 a.m. Return flights will depart Las Vegas at 11:20 p.m. and arrive in Miami at 6:45 a.m. the next morning.
Other important air service developments that began on Sunday, October 25 at MIA include:

  • Seasonal Miami-Munich service by Lufthansa (six weekly through March 26)
  • Air France seasonal Airbus A380 superjumbo service to Paris (daily through March 25)
  • Virgin Atlantic's addition of a second daily flight from Miami to London
  • SWISS' addition of four additional weekly frequencies to their year-round daily Miami-Zurich flights (11 total per week) through November 30, when double-daily flights take effect through May 25

With 2.4 million more passengers through the first three quarters of the year compared to the same time period last year, MIA is on pace to shatter its all-time annual passenger record set in 2014. Collectively, MIA's new air service options provide an early jumpstart to the final quarter of 2015, which is expected to be another busy holiday travel season.

"We couldn't be happier about introducing all of these new air travel options to our valued customers, and we're most grateful to our airline partners for their commitment to the red-hot Miami market," said González. "New routes, new aircraft and new carriers – it's all part of our strategic growth plans, and it's all in a day's work for our team here at MIA."

Miami International Airport offers more flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other U.S. airport, is America's second-busiest airport for international passengers, boasts a lineup of 100 air carriers and is the top U.S. airport for international freight. MIA, along with its general aviation airports, is also the leading economic engine for Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida, generating business revenue of $33.7 billion annually and welcoming 70 percent of all international visitors to Florida. MIA's vision is to grow from a recognized hemispheric hub to a global airport of choice that offers customers a world-class experience and an expanded route network with direct passenger and cargo access to all world regions. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, transportation and more, visit www.miami-airport.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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CONTACT: Greg Chin 305-876-7017Source:Miami International Airport(Kendall, MIA)