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This is terrible news for Turkish Airlines, one of the Star Alliance’s largest international carriers. Due to the ongoing situation in Turkey, the Federal Aviation Administration has banned all aircraft departing from Turkey from entering the United States — including planes that stop at another international airport before continuing on to the US.
Here’s a statement explaining the decision from the US Embassy in Turkey:
U.S. Embassy Ankara informs U.S. citizens that routes to Istanbul’s Ataturk airport are open; however, we are still hearing reports of sporadic gunfire. Security at Ataturk airport is significantly diminished and U.S. government employees have been instructed not to attempt to travel to and from Ataturk airport. Per the Federal Aviation Administration’s notice to airmen (NOTAM) dated July 15, 2016, U.S. airline carriers are prohibited from flying to or from Istanbul and Ankara airports. All airline carriers, regardless of country of registry, are prohibited from flying into the United States from Turkey either directly or via third country.
The notice to airmen was likely issued following entirely nonexistent security at IST airport last night, in which non-screened individuals were seen walking throughout the secure area, including on the tarmac. Until the airport and all aircraft on the ground can be throughly inspected, it’s impossible to declare the airport secure.
While there aren’t currently any US airlines that operate service to Turkey (even with a connection), Turkish Airlines does offer service to a handful of destinations in the United States, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The airline will not be able to operate flights to any of these destinations until the FAA restriction is lifted, which could take days, weeks or even months.
If you’re currently booked on a flight operated by Turkish Airlines, or your itinerary includes flights that connect in Turkey, contact the airline that issued your ticket to discuss your options. If your flight is canceled, you will be entitled to a full refund.
Were you planning to fly from the US to Turkey soon?