Finnish airline Finnair has announced that it will launch new direct flights to the Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, from Helsinki this week. The inaugural flight departed from Helsinki's Vantaa Airport on Wednesday (March 4th) at 9am local time, returning from Istanbul later that evening. Finnair will initially operate two flights a week to Istanbul on Wednesdays and Saturdays. From March 30th, this will increase to four services per week, on Mondays and Thursdays. Finnair's Business class customers can take advantage of the facilities in the airline's Millennium lounge at Istanbul Airport prior to their departure. Finnair's UK sales director Tomi Hanninen said: 'With the introduction of Istanbul, our route network will provide more comprehensive coverage of the whole continent. 'Due to efficient connections, we can offer flights from Turkey via Helsinki to Scandinavia, the Baltic countries and the whole Asian network. ' Travellers from the UK can connect to the new flights to Istanbul if they first fly with Finnair to Helsinki from Heathrow Airport or Manchester Airport.