Turkish Airlines isn’t able to resume international flying today as planned because the airline hasn’t yet obtained the necessary regulatory permits from Turkey’s civil aviation authorities. The airline restarted domestic flying on June 4 and had earmarked June 10 for the resumption of international flying to a small number of destinations including Cyprus, Austria, and Lithuania.
The Istanbul-based carrier grounded nearly all of its flights in late March after COVID-19 border restrictions were imposed by the Turkish government. Prior to Corona crisis, Turkish Airlines had the most extensive international route network in the world, serving 244 destinations in 123 countries.
“We can’t operate international flights today. We are waiting to receive permission from the civil aviation authorities,” Turkish transport minister Adil Karaismailoglu said on Wednesday as it emerged the national flag carrier wouldn’t actually be able to restart international services as planned.
It’s not clear how long it will take for Turkish Airlines to obtain the necessary permits.
Agreements have been reached between Turkey and 10 countries once those permits have been obtained. Initially, Turkish Airlines will resume international services to: Cyprus, Austria, Lithuania, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Albania, Belarus, the United Arab Emirates, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, and Italy.
Since restarting domestic services, Turkish Airlines has reported strong demand with a load factor of 62 per cent across 9,400 seats made available to customers in the first three days. Yahya Üstün, senior vice president of media relations at the airline also reported “pleasing” numbers for future flight bookings.
The airline also said there had been good compliance with preventative COVID-19 measures with 90 per cent of passengers observing a mandatory face mask policy.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.