As the current coronavirus pandemic ravages airlines around the globe, Turkish Airlines has decided to cut most of its international destinations and just fly to four counties. The only destinations to continue to be served by what was once the world’s most well-connected airline are Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Moscow, Russia, Hong Kong, China, and both New York and Washington in the United States.
Prior to this announcement by the Istanbul based airline, Turkish Airlines flew to more international destinations than any other carrier. In fact, it was often mentioned in their television commercials that the Turkish national flag carrier flew to 315 destinations in 126 countries.
This amazing number of counties served has now been slashed to just four with the airline giant suspending every international flight except the ones to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Moscow, Russia, Hong Kong, China, and both New York and Washington in the United States.
Turkish Airlines is now flying to just four counties
To announce the flight reduction the airline issued a statement which read:
“Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, flights to some countries have been suspended.
“Starting from the 27th of March, 2020 at 23:59 (UTC+3), all our international flights except our New York, Washington, Hong Kong, Moscow and Addis Ababa flights will be suspended until the 17th of April, 2020.”
While not perhaps as drastic as Dubai-based Emirates who initially announced that they would be canceling all flights before backtracking on what they had said, Turkish Airlines’ decision to cancel all but five of its international flights is one hell of a move, cutting 126 countries down to just four.
Domestic flights will continue at a reduced level
With regards to Turkish Airlines domestic flights, service will continue on all routes, but the number of flights is expected to be cut by around 85% as the airline grounds aircraft due to lack of demand.
What we have seen during the current crisis is airlines doing everything they can in order to not have to refund money to passengers canceling flights.
With regards to Turkish Airlines and its refund policy due to the coronavirus outbreak, Turkish pro-government newspaper the Daily Sabah says Turkish Airlines Chairman İlker Aycı has decided to be generous with the airlines’ cancellation policy.
According to the Turkish newspaper, passengers who bought tickets for flights before March 20th will be able to change their tickets without any additional charges up until the end of the year.
The airline boss added that if passengers decided to postpone their flights rather than cancel them that Turkish Airlines would give them 1,000 air miles for every 10 euros of the ticket price.
Turkish Airlines wants to avoid laying off staff
Again, unlike many airlines around the world who are rushing to lay off staff, the Turkish Airlines Chairman insisted that he had no intention of letting anyone go saying:
“An arrangement can be made regarding wages … we will make the biggest cut from the top levels.”
Turkish Airlines’ ticket policy in these times of upheaval sounds extremely generous towards its passengers. However, I can’t help think that the chairman is being a little naïve when it comes to how they want to manage staffing levels.
I dare say we may well see Mr. Aycı look to amend what he has said about the airlines’ employees as it is obvious that staff will have to be furloughed until the current crisis is over.
What do you think about the way Turkish Airlines is handling the coronavirus pandemic? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section.