From 15th December this year, Turkish Airlines will be providing a direct scheduled service from Birmingham International airport to Istanbul. The five flights per week service will facilitate connections to longer haul destinations such as Cape Town, Bangkok, Singapore and Delhi, according to Osman Battal, UK director of Turkish Airlines. 'Although we will be launching in December with five weekly flights, we aspire to be operating daily services from Birmingham by summer 2009 and carrying 30,000…passengers a year by this time' added Mr Battal. Turkish Airlines is one of Europe's major flag carriers and is a member of Star Alliance alongside bmi, Singapore Airlines and Lufthansa. Istanbul is a popular destination for British tourists because of its numerous Turkish baths, and its magnificent cathedral and palace.