Turkish Airlines has listed several new destinations in the Americas and Asia which it hopes to pursue following the launch of flights to Washington this week.

The airline's chairman, Hamdi Topcu, has identified Detroit, Boston, Houston, Montreal, Mexico City and Buenos Aires as part of the carrier's expansion plans to 2015.

Turkish Airlines is planning to start Washington flights on 6 November and follow with a Los Angeles route next March.

It has also listed several Asian and Asia-Pacific cities as candidates for service: Ulan Bator, Kuala Lumpur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Sydney and Wellington.

"Istanbul Ataturk Airport has become one of the major hubs in Europe," says Topcu. "By opening new destinations our transit passenger [proportion] will increase from 30% to 60% in the next five years."

Turkish Airlines is also intending to operate its new Boeing 737-900ER fleet on long-range routes to Africa and Siberia.

Its 737-900ERs - part of a batch of 20 737s ordered last year - will have auxiliary fuel tanks, says Topcu, enabling them to operate routes in Africa and Siberia which are "uneconomical to fly with widebodies".

"With the 737-900ERs we will connect these routes to Istanbul, flying with lower costs," he says. Turkish Airlines will take two of the type next year, he adds.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news