Challenge gets ready to launch Istanbul freighter flights

Challenge Airlines will soon launch flights from Istanbul Airport. Photo: Challenge Group

Challenge Airlines will carry out its first scheduled flight from Istanbul Airport on January 25.

Parent company Challenge Group did not specify whether it would be Challenge Airlines IL in Israel or Challenge Airlines BE in Belgium responsible for the flight.

The new scheduled operations out of Istanbul Airport link Türkiye to Liège in Belgium, and from there to destinations across Europe, as well as to the US and Far East.

From the end of this month onwards, Challenge Airlines will operate two Boeing B747F flights per week – on days three and seven – for a capacity uplift offer of 240 tons.

The freighter will carry a mix of Türkiye’s main export products: garments, fabrics, and automotive parts, all from key international customers.

“As the world’s 29th largest exporter with one in two of its exports heading to Europe, Türkiye is a significant contributor to global trade, and Challenge Group, with our established Liège hub at heart of Europe, is a perfect business fit,” said Or Zak, commercial vice president of Challenge Group.

“Some 3m tonnes are handled at Turkish airports each year. Istanbul, in particular, is deservedly making its way up the international cargo airports ranking ladder, and has long been of strategic interest to us.

“The airport is a fitting pioneer for our planned Group expansion on the east side of the globe. Merhaba, Istanbul, and here’s to a long and successful service.”

Challenge Group employs 850 people across three airlines (Challenge Airlines IL in Israel, Challenge Airlines BE in Belgium, Challenge Airlines MT in Malta),  a commercial division (Challenge Air Cargo) in Malta, a ground handling company (Challenge Handling in Liege, Belgium), a European road feeder provider (Challenge Logistics in Liege, Belgium), an aircraft and parts leasing division (Challenge Aviation), and a line maintenance provider (Challenge Technic).

Malta-based Challenge Airlines MT completed its first flight in November.

Challenge Airlines MT completes its first flight

Challenge Group to digitalise maintenance procedures

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]