Turkmenistan Airlines routes to the UK have been suspended to the UK in a decision enacted with immediate effect. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has taken away the firm’s right to operate across the European Union, including from terminals in Birmingham and London’s Heathrow. The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority told how its chartered routes from the UK hubs to destinations including Amritsar, Bangkok, Beijing and Delhi, via Asghabat, would now not run. Where does that leave tourists and what advice has been given?
What is the situation with Turkmenistan Airlines?
Turkmenistan Airlines is the flag carrier and only airline of Turkmenistan, headquartered in Ashgabat.
The company’s flights to the European Union were suspended on February 4, by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), in the grounds of international air safety.
Shortly after its decision, the Civil Aviation Authority issued a statement advising passengers of the huge range and said: “Following the decision on 4 February 2018, by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to suspend permission for Turkmenistan Airlines to operate services to the European Union, Turkmenistan Airline flights from Birmingham and Heathrow to Amritsar, and Heathrow to New Delhi – which fly via Ashgabat – are suspended with immediate effect.
“The UK Civil Aviation Authority is required under European law to withdraw Turkmenistan Airlines’ permit to operate to the UK pending EASA’s restoration of their approval that it meets international air safety standards.”
It remains possible the firm can re-gain its license to fly at some point in the future.
What action can UK travellers affected by the decision take?
The CAA has offered advice to UK travellers, and stated on its website: “Passengers who have travelled may need to make their own arrangements to return home.
“They should contact Turkmenistan Airlines, your travel insurer or travel agent for assistance.”
For ticket refunds for journeys not yet taken, passengers should again get in touch with the airline.
Those who booked with a credit, charge or debit card may be able to make a claim against their card provider.
The airline has not yet commented on the ban.
What are the alternative routes people can use to get home to the UK?
Turkmenistan Airlines operates from bases at Birmingham and Heathrow Airports in the UK.
Other airlines which could help stranded passengers return to the UK include Air India, British Airways, Jet Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
Meanwhile for those in Turkey, Turkish Airlines could assist with direct flights.