Flights begin at Istanbul Atatürk Airport after deadly attacks
REUTERS photoSome flights have begun at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport hours after simultaneous suicide and gun attacks killed at least 36 people late on June 28, although the backlog resulting from the attacks means travelers are still facing significant delays.
Airline officials urged customers to follow updates on flight information.
“Our airport re-opened for departures and arrivals as of 2:20 a.m. and air traffic has returned to normal,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced at a press briefing at 3 a.m. on June 29.
Meanwhile, Doğan News Agency (DHA) quoted Turkish Airlines officials and said flights began after 5 a.m. and that flights from Taipei, Manila and Seoul were the first to land at the airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States also lifted a ban on flights between Istanbul and the United States, soon after the airport became operational.
Authorities started to free passengers who were on board planes that landed as the attacks were occurring between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. only after 4 a.m., while Turkish Airlines officials said some 1,500 passengers were still waiting in the transit section of the airport.
“We have informed all stations not to send in transit passengers today. We will restart once current transit passengers are sent away over the next two days,” DHA quoted officials as saying.
Turkish Airlines took additional steps to relieve passengers as customers are now permitted to freely make changes to all flights to or from Istanbul Atatürk Airport scheduled between June 28 and July 5.
“Refunds will be made free of charge for all tickets where travel has not been completed or has been partially completed. The validity of the tickets will be extended until July 31 without additional pay or fines,” an official statement said, adding that passengers could obtain flight information from the company’s website or call center.