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First flight at Gazipaşa expected on May 22

ALANYA - Doğan News Agency | 3/17/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The long-awaited first commercial flight from Gazipaşa Airport in Alanya will take off on May 22.

The long-awaited first commercial flight from Gazipaşa Airport in Alanya will take off on May 22.

Gülçin Güner, president of the Alanya Hoteliers Association, or ALTİD, told the Doğan news agency that they had met Öger Tours officials during the International Tourism Fair in Berlin last week and learned the company will launch the first flight in May in the Mediterranean district.

The flight is very important for the hoteliers in the region, Güner said while urging other tour operators and airline companies to follow Öger Tours’ lead in scheduling flights to the airport.

“There will be other flights to and from Gazipaşa Airport during the summer season although the number of flights will be below our expectations,” she said. “We expect the airport to be fully operational in 2011 and greatly contribute to tourism in eastern Antalya.”

The construction of Gazipaşa Airport, located in eastern Antalya, started in 1992. Planners hope to serve the residents of Gazipaşa, the Alanya region in general and many others in a coastal stretch extending to the historical town of Anamur.

In spite of this, construction of the airport dragged on for nearly 15 years. Many worried about the airport’s location, which abuts against the Tauras Mountains and is buffeted by strong winds coming off the Mediterranean. The controversy generated numerous newspaper stories that criticized officials for miscalculating the risks associated with the location.

Officials hoped to turn Gazipaşa Airport into an aviation training center in 2005 although these plans failed to come to fruition as well. Later, locals began planting vegetables at the airport as the massive investment was completely abandoned.

Now, however, the airport is being brought into operation thanks to the investment of TAV, a highly reputable airport operations manager. TAV, a joint venture between Tepe and Akfen, will operate Gazipaşa for the next 25 years.

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