Turkish Airlines on Sunday celebrated the 75th anniversary of its service to Athens, as its Feb. 12, 1947 flight to the Greek capital was the first time the airline carried the national flag in international skies.

The national flag carrier said the DC-3 flight left the capital Ankara that morning at 10 a.m., and after a stop in Istanbul it continued to Athens Airport in the Greek capital, known back then as Hassani Airport.

“We had the honor of carrying our flag abroad 75 years ago to Athens,” said Turkish Airlines CEO Ahmet Bolat.

“While we transported 30 passengers between two neighboring countries on Feb. 12, 1947, now we carry millions of our guests to their loved ones over the continents. As the airline that flies to more countries than any other, we will continue to host our guests with Turkish hospitality and fly our flag proudly in the sky.”

Turkish Airlines CEO Ahmet Bolat

The global carrier celebrated the 75th anniversary with a special announcement to passengers on Istanbul-Athens flights saying: “As the airline that flies to more countries than any other, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of our Athens flights, our first international destination.

“Although many changes occurred in aviation since that first international flight, the excitement and happiness of meeting with our passengers in skies remained the same for Turkish Airlines. We hope to discover the world for many more years with you.”

The announcement was met by passenger applause.

Since operating its first international flight 75 years ago with only 33 aircraft, Turkish Airlines now boasts one of the world’s youngest fleets with 371 aircraft, flying to 334 destinations worldwide in 128 countries.

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