Turkish Airlines has followed in the footsteps of its government and stopped flights to several Iranian cities until next month, as the airline and nation try to curb the coronavirus epidemic.
What are the details?
The government of Turkey has taken extra steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from Iran, by closing the borders with the country, banning incoming flights from the region and advising home airlines to restrict flights.
Turkish Airlines, the flag carrier of the nation, has heeded the call and suspended four routes to four nearby Iranian cities. Specifically, these are Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tabriz. However, the airline has not completely cut off services to Iran, with still two daily flights to the capital of Tehran.
However, and this is a big however, those flights still in operation are only allowed to be used by Turkish Citizens, not Iranians. Anyone can fly to Iran on the outbound flights, but only local residents can fly back into the country.
“In addition, due to the decree of Turkey’s official authorities, foreign citizens who were in China and Iran in the last 14 days will not be granted entry to Turkey. We urge you to take the precautions in effect to account when planning your travels.” – Turkish Airlines press release
So far, up to 14 people have died in Iran and another 62 are infected, prompting concern from its neighboring countries.
What is Turkish Airlines planning?
As mentioned, the airline is suspending routes to Iran’s regional cities, and restricting frequencies to the capital. This is only a brief suspension, with the airline planning to restore flights by 10 March 2020.
“As the airline that always puts the travel security at the forefront, we are closely monitoring the latest developments about the coronavirus with the national and international authorities and take appropriate precautions.”
Turkey still has a restriction on flights to and from China, with airline traffic canceled until the 29th of February. It is not clear if the flights will resume by the end of the month (Although Chinese airlines seem to think so as they have begun planning to restore routes).
“With that in mind, in order to prevent spread and limit the effects of the virus, there are several readjustments to our flight operations for China and Iran. Thank you for your understanding.”
Turkey has taken a hard line against the spread of the diseases, something that many have been calling for since the beginning of the crisis. Unfortunately, thanks to the way that the modern airline world works, and how essential it is for world commerce, viruses like the coronavirus get a free ride far beyond where they would normally reach.
What do you think of this news? Are you planning to fly to Iran? Let us know in the comments.