Saturday, 28 March 2020

Turkey halting all international and limiting domestic flights over coronavirus outbreak

The Turkish Authorities are making major changes to travel inside the country to help prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 as cases rise to nearly 5,700 infections and 92 deaths.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a “voluntary quarantine” whereby the population should stay home, only going out for shopping and essential needs,. During the announcement on Friday, he also advised that all international flights were to be stopped and intercity travel would be limited and subject to a governor’s approval.

The Interior Ministry has ordered that all citizens must remain in the cities where they reside and would only be allowed to leave with a doctor’s note, in the event of the death of a close family member or if they have no accommodation. People will need to apply to the Travel Permission Council, part of the governor's office should they need to travel. 

Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi said domestic flights would only operate from Ankara and Istanbul to certain big cities as of midnight Saturday. "As of Saturday 23:59, our domestic flights will be carried out from Istanbul Airport and Ankara Esenboga Airport."

The airline has confirmed that only domestic flights to Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri, Konya, Malatya, Samsun, Trabzon and Van will be operated. All other domestic flights are currently suspended.  At the moment the cessation of services runs until April 17th, 2020, but that date is being kept under review.  Turkish Airlines had already limited its international operation to just five routes, however, these have now also been halted, with all international flights also suspended 17th. 

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