The first direct Turkish Airlines service between the UK and Ankara took off from Gatwick yesterday.

Two flights a week will run to the capital of Turkey using a Boeing 737-800 in a two-class configuration with 16 seats in business class and 135 in economy.

The flag carrier is the only airline to offer direct flights to Turkey’s second largest city from the UK year-round althoygh Sun Edpress opestes from Luton in the summer. Fares on the Gatwick route start at £247 return.

London-based general manager Celal Baykal said: “Today marks an important day in Turkish Airlines’ history here in the UK, as we commence flights to our capital city Ankara.

“This new route is being launched in direct response to increased demand from our customers across the country, and is further evidence of our commitment to exceeding passenger needs.”

Gatwick head of airline relations Stephen King added: “Gatwick is delighted to further strengthen the airport’s short-haul connections and welcome this brand new route to Ankara.

“This new route to the Turkish capital brings the number of capital cities served by the airport to 48, as part of the extensive 228 destinations in 74 countries flown to from Gatwick.”