Turkish Airlines has an incredibly extensive network, with the location of its Istanbul base offering a huge range of direct connections. When it comes to Poland, the carrier serves four destinations: Gdańsk, Krakow, Poznan and Warsaw. However, a recent Champions League match prompted a rare visit to a fifth Polish airport.
Earlier this week, on Wednesday, July 20th, Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv took on Istanbul-based Fenerbahçe SK in the first leg of the pair’s UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round. Due to the ongoing conflict situation in Ukraine, the match took place in neighboring Poland, with the city of Łódź hosting the first leg.
This allowed the city’s Władysław Reymont Airport (LCJ) to play host to aircraft and airlines that it wouldn’t normally serve. As detailed in a post on the facility’s LinkedIn page, the Dynamo Kyiv team arrived on Saturday, July 16th, with a Ukraine International Airlines Embraer E190 (UR-EMA) flying in from Brussels, Belgium.
Meanwhile, Fenerbahçe arrived closer to the time of the match, with data from FlightRadar24.com showing that their Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul touched down on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 19th. Interestingly, it originated at Sabiha Gökçen International (SAW), rather than Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul Airport (IST) hub.
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A first time for everything
What made this flight particularly special was the fact that it was the first time that Turkish Airlines had ever flown to Łódź. The airport was keen to celebrate the occasion, and noted that the players and staff “were warmly welcomed at Łódź Airport by the Ambassador of Turkey with his family, sports activists, and fans. “
The aircraft that operated this notable flight was a Boeing 737-800 registered as TC-JVR. According to data from ch-aviation.com, it is one of 92 737-800s in the Turkish Airlines fleet, with the carrier having historically operated a further 28 examples of the type. This particular twinjet is 6.23 years old, and has 151 seats (two-class).
As for the match itself, it ended in a 0-0 draw in front of almost 14,000 spectators, with Fenerbahçe unable to capitalize on having dominated the game with over 60% of possession. The second leg will take place in Istanbul on July 27th, and it will be interesting to see how Dynamo Kyiv’s flying arrangements pan out for that game.
Plenty of fans were on hand to greet the Fenerbahçe squad upon arrival in Poland. Photo: Getty Images
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The airport does serve one other Turkish destination
While Tuesday’s flight to Łódź represented the first time that Turkish Airlines had flown to the airport in Central Poland, it does have existing connections to another Turkish destination: Antalya Airport (AYT) in the country’s southwest.
Antalya is a popular leisure destination for sun-seeking tourists from all over Europe. As far as those visiting from Łódź are concerned, they have a choice of seasonal charter flights operated by Pegasus Airlines and Enter Air. The latter of these carriers also serves Burgas Airport (BOJ) in southeastern Bulgaria from Łódź.