Turkish Airlines Won’t Fly International Routes Until May 20th

The date for when Turkish Airlines will resume its international flights is being pushed back.  While it had initially intended to recommence international services at the beginning of next month, the airline said in a statement on Tuesday that it will not be operating any flights beyond Turkish borders until the 20th of May. 

Turkish airlines
There will be no Turkish Airlines international flights until at least the 20th of May. Photo: Getty Images

All flights suspended until May

Turkey’s flag-carrier Turkish Airlines announced on Tuesday that it will not be resuming any international flights until at least the 20th of Ma. This was reported by local media outlet Anadolu Agency.

All of the airline’s international flights have been suspended since the 28th of March (with the exception of some repatriation efforts) while some of its domestic routes remained in operation until the 4th of April. If all goes according to plan, not that much seems to these days, domestic flights will resume again on the 1st of May. 

A statement from the airline on its website read:

“Dear passengers,

In accordance with the decisions taken by the authorities of the Republic of Turkey and to protect the public health from novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,

  • All our international flights are suspended until May 20, 2020.
  • All our domestic flights are suspended until May 1, 2020.”

Initially, international flights were set to resume on the 1st of May, and some domestic routes on the 20th of April. Time will tell how many more times these dates will be pushed back and for how long. 

Port Harcourt, Turkish Airlines, Airbus A330
Turkish Airlines is lending some of its A330s to its cargo division. Photo: Getty Images

Cargo division making use of passenger planes

While passenger flights are down, Turkish Cargo, the cargo division of Turkish Airlines, is planning for 60 cargo flights per week operated by passenger aircraft. This is in addition to its 155 cargo freighter flights. 

According to TRT World, the cargo-only passenger plane flights will be operated by Turkish Airlines’ Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 widebody aircraft. The airline has maintained 24 out of its 41 777s in service, and 11 out of its 65 A330s, with the others sent to long-term parking. 

The first such flight took off in March on the Istanbul to Kyiv route. More passenger aircraft cargo-only services are now being operated from Turkey’s largest city. They are taking off to Bucharest, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Amman, Beirut, and Dubai, adding 5,000 tonnes of additional capacity.

Turkish cargo
Turkish Cargo is increasing capacity with 60 cargo-only passenger planes weekly out of Istanbul. Photo: Getty Images

Turkey entry bans

At the time of writing, Turkey had about 61,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,296 deaths from COVID-19. President Erdogan announced the suspension of all foreign flights on the 27th of March, along with a travel ban on 30 Turkish cities. Foreigners transiting from or hailing from an extensive list of countries, including the UK, France, Morocco, and Norway, are banned from entry into the country.

On the 6th of April, we asked if you felt that the 1st of May was too optimistic a date for when Turkish Airlines would resume its international flights. How do you feel about the new time frame? Is it affecting you in any way? Let us know in the comments.