We can now safely say that the worst is behind us. Countries like China and India have gradually resumed domestic air travel, European carriers like Lufthansa have also shown interests to resume flights by mid-June. On the same lines, Turkey’s flag bearer, Turkish Airlines, will also restart operations in first half of June, according to the company. The airline has started domestic travel on June 1, 2020, and more routes will be added on June 4, 2020. International travel shall resume a week later by June 10, 2020.
Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines are currently the only carriers to resume flights from Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul, connecting few other major cities in the country. On June 1, 2020, Turkish’s first commercial operation after an almost two-month-long grounding was scheduled to the country’s capital Ankara from Istanbul Airport. Pegasus Airlines operated their first flight to the western province of Izmir from Istanbul. Restrictions on travel have reduced slightly after last week, when the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that the country would enter a new normalisation period on June 1, 2020, as COVID-19 cases tend to decrease.
Turkish Airlines has plans to operate international flights to only 19 countries initially, after cross-border operations are expected to begin by June 10. The airline expects to expand the international network to 99 countries in three months to come. The carrier operated to 126 countries before the pandemic hit, however, Turkish Airlines speculates to get back to flying such an extensive network not before 2021.
For now, the airline will fly to 22 destinations in 19 countries, including Canada, Afghanistan, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Denmark, Singapore, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Israel, Belarus, Kuwait, Lebanon and Georgia, with a weekly frequency of 75 flights only. As for domestic operations, Turkish Airlines is projected to fly less than 60 percent flights to selected destinations. The airline shall then to add more domestic destinations and increase frequency of flights in July and August. While all safety and hygiene precautions shall be taken to avoid any contagion during air travel, Turkish Airlines has also stated that utmost care will be taken within and between flights to ensure that passengers and cabin crew are devoid of any danger from the virus.
Airlines resuming flights is indeed a ray of hope for the whole aviation industry – as more airlines resume operations, more jobs in the sector will be secured. What do you think of the current situation? Do you think most airlines will resume full operations before the end of 2020? Let us know in the comments!