A new code-sharing agreement between Turkish Airlines and Belavia-Belarusian Airlines began on Tuesday, Turkey's national flag carrier has announced.
In a statement, Turkish Airlines said: "Through this codeshare partnership, Turkish Airlines and Belavia will reciprocally add their flight codes on the Istanbul-Minsk, vice versa, flights operated by both parties."
It added that after Istanbul-Minsk, for a second phase of the pact other routes may be assessed.
The company said the joint flights would offer fast and convenient connections for passengers leaving Istanbul — Turkey’s financial capital, and a key transfer point in the region — to Minsk, Belarus’ capital.
"Moreover, taking into account the complementary structure of the timetables of both carriers and agreement working reciprocally, those flights will allow both airlines' passengers to enjoy seamless connectivity in their respective hubs," it added.
"As Turkish Airlines, we are glad to be a codeshare partner with Belavia," Bilal Eksi, Turkish Airlines' CEO, said in the statement.
"We believe that this agreement will improve our relations with Belarus' flag carrier, while enhancing our commercial cooperation to the next level," he added.
"With the introduction of these joint flights between both parties, passengers would enjoy more travel alternatives between Belarus and Turkey."
Anatoly Gusarov, Belavia’s CEO, also said: "Minsk-Istanbul is one of the most important routes in the growing network of Belavia-Belarusian Airlines, and we believe that this cooperation with Turkish Airlines will lead to further enhancing both business and leisure flows not only between Turkey and Belarus, but beyond Istanbul and Minsk."
Belavia offers short and convenient connections in Minsk Airport with daily departures to 50 destinations in Europe, the Russian Federation, and Central Asia.
Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933 with a fleet of five aircraft, currently has nearly 330 aircraft, including passenger and cargo planes, and flies to more than 300 destinations worldwide. Last year it carried 68.6 million passengers with a 79.1 percent seat occupancy rate.
The airline was named Best Airline in Europe by Skytrax for six years in a row between 2011 and 2016, and chosen the Best Airline in Southern Europe for the ninth consecutive time in 2017.