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A Turkish A321 in London. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Turkish Carriers Resume Flights After Near Three Month Travel Ban

Turkey restarted domestic air transport earlier this month with flights to Ankara marking its first wave of the ‘new normal’ phase after an almost three-month ban on air travel brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

International air travel is also gradually picking up with the country’s national airline., Turkish Airlines commencing international flights on June 11. The airline began its international flights with charter flights to Germany, the U.K and the Netherlands from Istanbul Airport on Thursday of last week.

Turkish Airlines boasts itself as the largest airline offering the most extensive international route coverage with the flight resumptions process to these destinations expected to be gradual in each phase. The airline has also drafted a three-month plan for the months of June, July and August with international flights being subject to the relaxed travel restrictions to the destination country.

The current flight schedule entails destinations to 14 Turkish cities with the gradual route coverage expected to cover destinations to Europe, North and South America, the Middle East and the Far East.

The airline announced it would resume flights to China, South Korea and the United States with the airline CEO Bilal Eksi announcing on Twitter that flights to Chicago and Washington D.C. would resume on June 19 while flights to Miami and Los Angeles to restart on June 22 and June 24 respectively. Flights to Shanghai would subsequently commence from June 19 while two weekly flights to Hong Kong and Seoul to begin from June 24.

Turkish budget carrier Pegasus Airlines will also resume international flights on Saturday with its first flight scheduled to Germany.

Pegasus will also gradually restore more international destinations as from June 15 with the first phase of flights being to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, England, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium, the low-cost airline announced. The schedule is also expected to grow subject to approvals from the Directorate of General Civil Aviation in Turkey.

The country’s leading Low-cost carrier resumed its domestic flights on June 1 after halting flights on March 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AnadoluJet, Lufthansa and SunExpress also recently restarted limited international flights after the COVID-19 induced stoppage. Flights in Turkey were previously scheduled to restart on June 10 but was later deemed unviable as plans had been put off as it was also waiting for approval from respective civil aviation authorities.

AnadoluJet, Turkish Airlines regional budget carrier also announced it would begin its international flights on June 11 and would continue adding its European destinations to its recovering route network over the next few days.

SunExpress only operates flights between Turkey and Germany besides domestic flights within Turkey.

Even as the industry looks to be gearing up for a re-start, 2020 still remains the worst financial year in the history of aviation with International Air Transport (IATA) estimating the global aviation industry to take a negative profit margin of $84.3 billion. Air travel also took a historic plunge of 94.3% in April 2020.

Victor Shalton
Victor Shalton
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