Turkish Airlines suspends flights to Kazakshtan
Turkey’s flagship carrier Turkish Airlines will not be flying to Kazakhstan until Jan. 9, İhlas News Agency reported on Thursday.
Flights were suspended due to the unrest in the Turkic country over the past week. The international airport in the Kazakh capital Almaty was overtaken by protesters on Wednesday, although the military has announced it has since taken back control, according to Reuters.
Turkish Airlines chairman İlker Aycı and his wife Tuğçe Saatman were briefly stranded in Kazakhstan, news website OdaTV reported. Four cabin crew members and two pilots were also stranded in Nur-Sultan, and were staying at a hotel waiting for a return flight, it said.
Almaty Airport is operated by Turkey’s TAV Airports Holding.
Aycı and Saatman had Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife Emine Erdoğan as their witnesses in their wedding ceremony.
The couple later left the country via a Turkish Airlines cargo plane, aviation news website Airport Haber reported. They were granted special permits by Turkish authorities to board a cargo flight, while company personnel were left behind.
“Shame on them if this is true,” opposition deputy Ali Öztunç tweeted. “Who would abandon their team?”
Bu haber doğru ise yazıklar olsun!— Ali Öztunç (@Ali_Oztunc) January 6, 2022
Koskoca THY’nin Yönetim Kurulu Başkanı İlker Aycı, personelini orada mahsur bırakarak eşi ile beraber kargo uçağına binip kaçıyor. Sizin ve eşinizin canı kıymetli ama THY emekçilerinin canının kıymeti yok mu?Yahu insan ekibini bırakıp kaçar mı? pic.twitter.com/zqftdIyqcF
Aviation-focused journalist Tolga Özbek said the flight landed in Turkey at 21:20 local time.
There are a total of 24 workers from Turkish Airlines and ACT still in a hotel in Almaty, Özbek said.