Turkish Airlines said this week that it is still seeking permits from aviation authorities to resume international routes. The airline, which had planned to start flying internationally on June 10th, is still grounded after operations ceased at the end of March. So when can we expect the carrier to resume international travel?
Turkish Airlines needs permits to operate
As Turkey resumed domestic flights at the beginning of June, the plan was for the resumption of international routes to follow quickly. Just last week, the Transport Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said that flights would be resuming on June 10th to several destinations, including Northern Cyprus, Greece, Bahrain, Bulgaria, and Qatar.
Flights, however, remained grounded on June 10th. The carrier was still waiting to receive permits to allow it to operate internationally from Turkey’s civil aviation authority. It appears that this caught the airline by surprise, as the Turkish Airlines website still shows flights departing this week. This is another blow to Turkish Airlines, which has seen the start of international operations pushed back several times.
“We can’t operate international flights today. We are waiting to receive permission from the civil aviation authorities,” a Turkish Airlines official told Reuters.
British Embassy announces flights to resume
While there has been no official announcement from the Turkish government or Turkish Airlines on flight resumption following the latest setback, the British Embassy in Turkey yesterday tweeted that operations would resume between Istanbul and London today.
— British Embassy (@UKinTurkey) June 10, 2020
The tweet from the embassy stated that Turkish Airlines and its subsidiary AnadoluJet would resume scheduled flights to and from the UK on June 11th. According to the post, Turkish Airlines will be operating a daily flight between Istanbul Airport and London Heathrow. AnadoluJet will be flying once daily between Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport to London Stansted.
The embassy added that it had received confirmation that Turkish citizens or residents of Turkey would be permitted to book flights and travel. They had, however, not received confirmation on whether non-citizens or non-residents would be allowed to fly.
The original flight plan
Turkish Airlines had planned a gradual return to the skies, with flights set to resume to a limited number of countries in June. The plan involved increasing this number in July and August. The national carrier, which previously flew 126 routes, ceased all operations at the end of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initially, the carrier had planned to fly to 22 destinations in 19 countries throughout June. These countries were Canada, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Belarus, Israel, Kuwait, Georgia, and Lebanon.
While this latest setback could cause delay to the resumption of flights, the announcement of flights between Turkey and the UK offers some hope that operations will resume soon.
Had you planned to travel with Turkish Airlines this summer? Let us know in the comments!