Turkish Airlines has suspended flights to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, and South Africa. In a social media posting, the airline says the decision is in line with the official authorities’ decisions and health precautions.
Turkey suspends flights from UK, Netherlands, Denmark, & South Africa
At the time of writing, the Turkish Airlines COVID-19 information page is not updated to reflect the suspensions. However, the airline’s official Twitter feed made the announcement. Simple Flying has contacted Turkish Airlines for further information. The decision is attributed to the deteriorating COVID-19 situation in Europe. Passengers already on planes from the four affected countries will undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival in Istanbul.
In line with the official authorities' decisions and the precautions we take for your health; our the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and South Africa flights have been suspended.
We will continue to follow the new developments and inform you accordingly.
— Turkish Airlines (@TurkishAirlines) December 20, 2020
Also putting out the news on Twitter, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said;
“Under the directives of our President in coordination with our Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, a temporary suspension has been decided for flights from the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands, and South Africa to our country.”
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Turkish Airlines was getting back to business
After suspending most of its international flights earlier this year, Turkish Airlines was back rolling out international services again, covering scores of countries and over 220 destinations. But a surge in COVID-19 cases in Europe, including in Denmark, has now tempered Turkish Airlines’ resumption of services.
Over the December / January period, Turkish Airlines was scheduled to operate flights to Manchester, Birmingham, London Gatwick, and London Heathrow. In Manchester, there were seven flights per week in December, increasing to eight in January. At Birmingham, there were three flights per week timetabled for December, increasing to five in January. For Gatwick, there were four flights a week in December, increasing to five in January. At Heathrow, there were 14 flights a week scheduled over December, increasing to 16 in January.
Turkish Airlines is not the only airline putting the brakes on flights from the United Kingdom. Closer to home, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Belgium are among the countries banning arrivals from the United Kingdom.
The airline is also suspending its flights from Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport was taking 10 flights per week over December, increasing to 14 in January. In Denmark, Copenhagen’s Kastrup Airport hosted seven weekly Turkish Airlines flights over December, increasing to 10 flights in January.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles south, South Africa is also dealing with the second wave of COVID-19. While the official death rate is low there, the infection rate is very high. The new variant is said to be “severe.”
Turkish Airlines was flying to both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Over December, the airline was operating two flights a week to both cities. Those flights were scheduled to increase to three times a week in January.
IATA predicted situations like this but warns against sudden border closures
Airline industry lobby group IATA has previously predicted the road to recovery for airlines will be choppy and unpredictable. But the industry group isn’t keen on these sorts of border closures.
“We need governments to think in terms of achievable risk management,” said IATA’s Alexandre de Juniac last week about border closures and quarantine. “The social, economic, and health costs of this approach are enormous.”
However, governments like Turkey have bigger pictures to think about than airlines’ welfare and profitability.
What do you think? Should governments be closing their borders in the face of the second wave of COVID-19 infections? Post a comment and let us know.