Russia's Aeroflot Cancels Flights To Turkey As It Watches COVID-19 Numbers
By RFE/RL May 18, 2021
Aeroflot has canceled nearly all flights to Turkey in June in an extension of a suspension of flights imposed last month because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
The airline said on May 17 that the suspension would remain in place pending a decision from the Russian government to resume flights to and from Turkey, a popular tourist destination for Russians.
Aeroflot said in a statement that it stopped sales and canceled all flights to Turkey for June except two flights per week permitted by the coronavirus task force.
Russia last month restricted flights to and from Turkish cities until June 1, citing a growing number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey.
Aeroflot spokesman Mikhail Demin told reporters that the company was ready to revise its schedule and increase the number of flights and open sales if the decision changed.
"We, like other carriers, are awaiting the decision of the government headquarters," he added, according to TASS.
Earlier on May 17, the Izvestia newspaper, citing a letter from Aeroflot, said the extension of the suspension would last until June 30.
Reuters, citing an airline industry source, also reported that Russia had decided to extend the ban until June 30, but a separate source told Reuters that Moscow had yet to decide.
Ibrahim Kalin, a top adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkish Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy were in Russia on May 17 to discuss tourism, vaccine shipments, and other issues, state-owned Anadolu agency reported.
Russia is watching the case numbers and easing of measures in Turkey closely, Kalin told Anadolu after talks with authorities.
"We reached an agreement for the Russian vaccine to come to Turkey as soon as possible as well as steps to be taken for the tourism season, the starting of flights, and speeding up the process," he said.
With reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Anadolu
Copyright (c) 2021. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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