Financial Difficulties Behind AtlasGlobal Flight Suspension

Turkish airline AtlasGlobal has suspended all its flight services effective today. In a statement released this evening, the airline has confirmed no more flights will operate until the 21st December, 2019. Ticket sales have also been suspended until the 16th December. It appears the airline is in difficulties financially, and is attempting to undertake an emergency restructuring in order to ensure its survival.

AtlasGlobal A321
AtlasGlobal has suspended all flights. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia

AtlasGlobal announces flight suspension

As of today, AtlasGlobal has suspended all services, and will not be flying for almost a month. The airline is reported to have released a statement today at 19:30 local time, stating that It will no longer fly. The suspension of services is said to be until the 21st December 2019.

Initially, the airline had announced service suspension until the 16th of December. The statement was shared on local aviation news site

“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.

“All of our employees, except our on-call staff, will be considered as “on leave” until Monday, December 16th. Our staff, who will be on duty as of tomorrow, will have to meet their service and food needs with their own means and will be informed about this process in the coming days. In this process, salary payments will be made on the day.”

AtlasGlobal will not fly until December 21st. Photo: Marvin Mutz via Flickr

Announced through to 21st December

However, a subsequent statement from the airline says that the suspension will actually be in force until the 21st of December. This statement, as carried by TurizmGuncel, reads,

Terrorist incidents and treacherous coup attempt in our country between 2015-2016 caused major wounds in the aviation sector and caused significant losses in the number of passengers carried and passenger revenues including 2017. Following the unfavorable period for the tourism sector, which is the driving force of the aviation sector, the recovery process that started in 2018 continued with the support of security perception and the improvement in political relations with the main markets. The effects of the measures taken in this regard have also started to reflect positively on the aviation sector.

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.

AtlasGlobal cabin crew
Cabin crew and other employees are left wondering what will happen next. Photo: Oleg V. Belyakov via Wikimedia

In spite of the unfavorable adversities, in the second half of 2018, within the framework of the new strategic decisions taken by our airline, a recovery process was initiated and our operations became profitable again. However, the recent past negativity and the economic burden it brought along with the increase in logistics and operational costs with the transition to Istanbul Airport as of April 2019 have eliminated the possibility of compensating our 2016/2017 losses in sufficient time for our airline.

In order to provide the necessary configuration and improvement in our cash flow, we would like to inform you that we had to suspend all our flights as of November 26, 2019 until December 21, 2019.

In this process, we will make the necessary determinations about the tickets purchased by the passengers who cannot be realized until 15.12.2019. On 16 December 2019, we will notify you by email about the steps to be taken for your passengers’ return and change requests.

You can forward your questions and requests for changes or cancellations of your future flights to the e-mail address with the pnr number.

Ticket sales from all of our sales channels will be closed until 16.12.2019.

So what’s going on?

It appears that the suspension of ticket sales will be until the 16th, while actual flights will not resume operation until the 21st December. It appears that the airline is in dire financial trouble, and that extensive restructuring will be required in order to keep it afloat.

Atlas Global A330
The airline flies one A330 to Schiphol on a codeshare with KLM. Photo: Juke Schweizer via Wikimedia

AtlasGlobal has been a major codeshare partner of KLM since 2017, flying a route between Schiphol and Istanbul under KLM’s codes. This summer, it was flying this route daily using an A330. Simple Flying has reached out to KLM to see how their connections will be affected by this suspension, and will update the article once we hear back.

AtlasGlobal is not a new airline. It has been around since 2001, and is headquartered in Istanbul. Aside of flying to KLM’s hub in the Netherlands, AtlasGlobal flies to 27 other destinations, including London, Paris, France, Germany and 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.