Turkish Airlines planes

Turkish Airlines will suspend almost all its flights by the end of March

The airline, which has stopped flying to more than a hundred countries, will allow free tickets to be changed or canceled. Turkey has suspended flights to 46 other countries because of the coronavirus.

Turkish state airline Turkish Airlines announced on Sunday that from March 27th it will suspend all its international flights with the exception of 5 destinations due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has practically paralysed the transport of passengers around the world.

The news was announced by the president of the company, İlker Aycı, who said that only flights to 5 destinations outside Turkey – Hong Kong, Moscow, Ethiopia, New York and Washington – will be maintained to allow international flight connections and transit passengers.

Aycı explained that the airline is only operating at 15% of its capacity and cannot fly to 107 countries due to the precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by the Turkish government – which has suspended air connections with more than 60 countries – but also because some countries have closed their airspace.

Passengers can change or cancel their tickets for free

Therefore, and to reduce the impact of the crisis on the company as much as possible, Turkish Airlines has focused its efforts on air cargo transport, according to Aycı, who declared that those who bought their tickets before March 20th will be able to change or cancel them for free until the end of 2020.

The president of the airline also added that Turkish Airlines will make a 15% discount to those who change the date of their flight with the airline instead of requesting a full refund of the ticket amount; those who choose to change instead of cancellation will also receive 1,000 bonus miles from their Miles & Smiles program for every 10 euros that the ticket costs.

Regarding possible layoffs at the company due to the collapse of activity, the president of Turkish Airlines was emphatic in saying that the Turkish airline does not intend to fire anyone: “An agreement on wages can be reached,” he said, adding that in that case the biggest cut in wages would be made among senior managers and executives, not among workers.

More than 1,200 infected with the coronavirus in Turkey

The news of the almost total suspension of passenger transport by one of the largest airlines in Europe comes amid the international crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which to date has infected 1,256 people in Turkey and caused 30 deaths, according to the latest data provided on Sunday night by Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

Koca confirmed that all those who have died to date are people over 60 – the group most at risk in case of infection by the virus – and announced that Turkey has so far carried out 20,345 tests for the detection of the coronavirus, of which 1,256 have been found positive.

On Saturday the Turkish government announced new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including the suspension of flights to 46 other countries: Mauritania, Algeria, Sudan, Angola, Philippines, Moldova, Montenegro, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Tunisia, Poland, Portugal, Oman, Uzbekistan, North Macedonia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Mongolia, Cameroon, Taiwan, Canada, Slovenia, Chad, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, Morocco, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Nepal, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Guinea Equatorial, Finland, Niger, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia and Lebanon.