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Turkish Airlines to launch Boston-Istanbul flight at Logan Airport

A view of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The country has been among the world’s most popular tourist destinations and also serves as a direct link with other countries.
A view of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The country has been among the world’s most popular tourist destinations and also serves as a direct link with other countries.Thanassis Stavrakis / Associated Press / File

Turkish Airlines will start flying between Boston and Istanbul next May, establishing Logan International Airport’s only nonstop service to the Middle East and opening up new connections to India and Africa for local travelers.

The 10½-hour flight, which will be offered five days a week at first and then move to daily service in June, will be on a twin-aisle, 289-seat Airbus A330-300.

Local state and tourism officials praised the flight, noting that it would bring new visitors to Massachusetts, give Boston travelers more options, and further connect the city to the global economy. Boston beat out Miami, San Francisco, and Montreal, and became Turkish Airlines’ sixth US destination.


“In order to position ourselves for success, we must give our businesses greater opportunities to compete in the 21st-century global marketplace,’’ Governor Deval Patrick said in an announcement on the new service. “A nonstop flight from Boston to Istanbul will drive tourism, job growth, and catalyze international investment.’’

The Massachusetts Port Authority, which runs the airport, has been working to attract new international service in recent years, teaming with state officials and local business leaders to help build its case.

The improving world economy has also contributed to the growth, said Daniel Kasper, a Boston-based aviation analyst at the consulting firm Compass Lexecon, as have the rise of smaller, more fuel-efficient planes that can serve long-haul routes with fewer passengers.

Istanbul will be Logan’s 34th international destination, following the launch of Copa Airlines’ flight to Panama this month, and Japan Airlines’ service to Tokyo last year. El Al Israel Airlines is expected to soon launch direct service to Tel Aviv, and a route to China is in the works.

All this new international service could boost momentum for additional overseas destinations, said Thomas Glynn, chief executive of Massport.


“We’re becoming the global provider that we aspire to be,” Glynn said.

Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933, and recently named the best airline in Europe for the third straight year by the rating site Skytrax, flies to 237 destinations around the world.

More than 450,000 passengers flew between Boston and the 50 most popular destinations in the world last year, according to Massport, all of which are accessible through Turkish Airlines’ hub at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. More than 29,000 people flew between Boston and Istanbul last year, and local demand is higher for other sites that Turkish Airlines serves, including Tel Aviv, Athens, Mumbai, and Delhi.

Turkish Airlines has been expanding rapidly, tripling its number of aircraft and doubling its international destinations in the past decade. Its global ticket sales increased nearly 26 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year.

“This strategic move offers strong business and cultural opportunities to our customers and expands our reach in the United States market,” said Ihsan Baytan, general manager of the airline’s New York office.

Tickets for the Boston-Istanbul flight go on sale Saturday. The initial sale price starts at $684 round trip, with regular economy fares ranging as high as $1,900 in the summer.

Katie Johnston can be reached at kjohnston@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.