Photo: Soos Jozsef/Shutterstock

A New Turkish Airlines Flight From Denver to Istanbul Directly Connects the Two Cities for the First Time

Denver Airports + Flying
by Nickolaus Hines Jun 12, 2024

Denver International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, has a new longest flight.

On June 11, Turkish Airlines took its inaugural nonstop flight between Denver and Istanbul International Airport — also one of the top 10 busiest airports in the world. It’s the first connection between the two cities, and will operate three days a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays) until July 9, when a fourth flight on Sundays will be added.

At a Denver event celebrating the new route, Ahmet Bolat,
Turkish Airlines chairman of the board of directors and the executive committee, marveled at the job Turkish Airlines has done to transport travelers between Türkiye and the United States — a big change from when he was a University of Michigan student in 1986.

Denver is the 14th destination in the US for Türkiye’s premier airline, which serves more destinations than any other airline in the world. Turkish Airlines joins the 25 other airlines flying into DIA, and will run the 6,130-mile flights (some 400 miles longer than DIA’s second longest direct flight to Tokyo) on 316-seat Airbus A350-900s. Travelers from Denver will depart at 7:35 PM and arrive in Istanbul the next day at 4:15 PM, with return flights departing Istanbul at 1:55 PM and arriving in Denver at 5:40 PM.

“I was on that [inaugural] flight,” Philip Washington, DIA’s CEO, said at the event. “It felt much less than 13 hours because of the hospitality of the crew and of [the Turkish Airlines] team here as well. I feel refreshed.”

Turkish Airlines regularly makes the list of top airlines by customer satisfaction. That’s in large part due to an impressive Flying Chefs culinary program that subverts airplane food jokes and a business class that is well worth the upgrade.

Washington added that this is part of the plan to increase global connections that he developed three years ago. His tenure has seen the airport gain seven new international destinations and grow flights from 12 countries to 17. DIA’s roster of nonstop international flights now sits at 31 destinations in 17 countries.

Demand for flights between Denver and Istanbul have increased by 50 percent since 2019, according to a press release from the airport. It’s expected to be a popular flight, and a profitable one. Estimates put the annual economic impact for Colorado at $54 million, and it’s expected to add about 350 new jobs in the state.

Few cities can match the history, culture, and vibrant atmosphere of Istanbul, the most populated city in Europe and the historic gateway between Europe and Asia. The flight opens the door to the city and will also be an important connection through the hub to Africa, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. Travelers coming the other way instantly have better access to not only the charms of Denver’s proximity to the outdoors, famous breweries, and increasingly hyped restaurant scene, but also to the nearby world-class Colorado ski towns like Vail, Aspen, and Breckenridge. Washington said expanded rental car facilities at the airport will make it easier to get to the rest of Colorado.

As a Denver resident always looking for a new adventure, my wife and I booked a flight for a fall family trip soon after the announcement. I know we’re not the only ones excited about the new route.

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