Turkish Airlines is all set to resume operations from Doha today morning after flights to Turkish airports have been cancelled due to Friday’s military coup, an official has said.
Mehmed Kursad Caymaz, general manager, Turkish Airlines Qatar, yesterday told Gulf Times the airline’s first flight leaves Hamad International Airport (HIA) at 2am (Sunday), while the second one departs at 5:30am.
According to Caymaz, a flight from Ataturk Airport was able to leave Istanbul at 8.30pm on Friday and it arrived in Doha at around 1am yesterday.
Similarly, Turkish Airlines flight TK781 was able to fly from Doha to Istanbul at 3.13am yesterday to land at Istanbul at 8.19am but the second flight at 5.45am was cancelled.
In a message sent to passengers yesterday, Caymaz said: “...Turkish citizens have protected our democracy and it was a great victory of this century. We start our operations as of tomorrow morning.”
He said some of the passengers of the cancelled flight have rebooked their flights. “We respect the decision of our passengers, and we are flexible and eager to give them the option to refund or rebook their flights.”
In a statement yesterday Turkish Airlines said: “Upon the call of our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, our operations at Istanbul Atatürk Airport is now back to normal and flights have begun.
“As of July 16 by 2:30pm (Qatar time) all our flight operations will resume as planned. Grateful to our dear nation, we extend our thanks to our passengers for their understanding for the inconvenience.”
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways said all flights to Istanbul Ataturk Airport and Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport are now operating as scheduled, subject to potential delays.
“Flights to Ankara Esenboga International Airport remain subject to cancellation further to the closure of the airport. Passengers planning to travel to and from Turkey are kindly requested to contact their travel agent or Qatar Airways 24-hour call centre on +974 4023 0000 for further information.”
Turkish Airlines Sales & Marketing executive Omer Aslan added that operations at Ataturk Airport have resumed as of 12:30pm (Istanbul time) yesterday.
Turkish budget carrier Pegasus said its flights were experiencing minor delays.
The closure of Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport late on Friday had caused the diversion of 35 airplanes and cancelled 32 flights, Turkish Airlines chairman Ilker Ayci told broadcaster CNN Turk.
Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines said it would resume twice daily flights to Ataturk today.
British Airways said in a statement it was halting all flights to Turkey on Saturday and one on Sunday as a precaution.
EasyJet said its advice from British authorities was to continue flying, although it was monitoring developments.
German airline Lufthansa cancelled all its flights to Istanbul and Ankara on Saturday and pared back the number flights to holiday destinations Bodrum and Antalya.
TUI which owns the Thomson and First Choice holiday companies, said its flights to Dalaman, Antalya and Izmir were operating as normal.
Russia also suspended passenger flights to the country on the orders of President Vladimir Putin, TASS news agency said.
State airline EgyptAir also cancelled all flights yesterday to Istanbul, the company said in a statement. The company, which has 14 flights to Istanbul per week, did not say when they were expected to resume.
All flights from Istanbul to Sofia for Saturday had been cancelled, according to Sofia airport’s website. Pages 4, 13
Turkish Airlines general manager for Qatar Mehmed Kursad Caymaz.