After suspending its operations for nearly a month, Turkish airline AtlasGlobal resumed service on Saturday morning. The 26-day halt was due to financial difficulties. On the airline’s Twitter account they announced “We are up in the air again!” while the front page of their website states “Dear Passengers, as of today our reservation system is open. Our flights will start by December 21st, 2019 at 11.15AM (Istanbul Time)”.
Back in the air
Atlasglobal is back in the air!
— Turkish Air News (@AnalystTK) December 21, 2019
The first flight since the suspension was KK2001 from the new Istanbul airport (IST) to London Stansted (STN). According to FlightRadar24, the Airbus A321 took off at 1136 – 21 minutes past its scheduled departure time. However, it landed at 1214 – 16 minutes ahead of its 1230 scheduled arrival time. The Istanbul-Stansted service operates daily using the Airbus A321 and the occasional A320.
The November 26th suspension
On November 26th, AtlasGlobal suspended all services for nearly a month. The statement below was issued by the airline and shared on local aviation news site Kokpit.aero. Initially, the airline had announced service suspension until the 16th of December:
“We regret to inform you that we had to suspend all our flights as of November 26, 2019 until December 16, 2019 in order to provide the necessary configuration and improvement in our cash flow. All operational processes that will be carried out within the company by this date will be carried out with minimum number of personnel and the personnel will be determined by the unit managers and will be informed by telephone this evening.
The airline subsequently gave a more detailed reason for the service-stoppage in a formal statement to media. It explained that the situation was due to a lack of cash flow from low ticket sales and passenger numbers. It went on to explain that the low passenger numbers were a result of decreased tourism and commerce due to terrorist incidences and a 2015-2016 coup attempt. A weakened currency did further damage to the airline’s profitability:
“These tragic events in 2015-2016 had a negative impact on our airline both operationally and commercially. In addition, the rapid and aggressive fluctuations in the Turkish Lira in the second half of 2018 negatively affected the dynamics of the domestic market, which led to a decrease in the demand for air travel.”
A number of Simple Flying readers/commenters were affected by the suspension and had significant disruption to their travel plans. Some also report that the airline was difficult to reach as they made attempts to request a refund.
According to Hurriyet Daily News, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure said on November 26th that it would closely monitor the company’s efforts to refund tickets customers bought during the period. The ministry also added that AtlasGlobal will determine and compensate passenger-related issues by December 15th.
In total, AtlasGlobal flies to 28 destinations. These include London, Paris, France, Germany, as well as destinations across the Middle East and Russia. It operates a fleet of 18 aircraft, 13 of which are the A321-200, along with three A320s, one A319, and one widebody A330.
Were you affected by this suspension? If so, has it eroded your trust in the airline? Let us know your story in the comments!