By Alaattin Dogru
DAKAR (AA) – Turkey's national flag carrier Turkish Airlines flew 6,000 Malian Muslims to Saudi Arabian cities Jeddah and Madina by direct flights for their Islamic pilgrimage.
Turkish Airlines Financial Office Director Serkan Ozbuyukyoruk told Anadolu Agency on Saturday Turkish Airlines won this year's hajj transportation bid held by the Malian Ministry of Religious Affairs and Worship.
Ozbuyukyoruk said 6,000 Malian Muslims were flown to Jeddah and Madina by direct flights from Mali.
In addition, almost 1,000 Muslims from Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea used Mali as a hub and reached these holy lands by direct or connecting flights in Istanbul.
Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933 with a fleet of just five aircraft, now has 325 aircraft, including passenger and cargo planes, and flies to more than 300 destinations in 121 countries.
Last year, it carried 68.6 million passengers with a 79.1 percent seat occupancy rate.