Turkish carriers halt Russia flights temporarily due to visa trouble
Tolga Özbek – ISTANBUL
CİHAN photoTwo Turkish airline companies have temporarily halted flights to Russia after experiencing problems in acquiring visas for their flight crews.
Low-cost carrier Pegasus has stopped flights until Jan. 13 while Onur Airways has also halted flights to Nalchik until Jan. 14. Turkish Airlines, however, said it would continue its service to Russia because the company had previously acquired visas for crew members.
“As our company failed to obtain a positive response to the visa applications for its crew members, we have halted our Russia flights until Jan. 13,” Pegasus said in a written statement.
The company also said passengers affected by the cancelation would be refunded for their losses.
Russia decided to suspend a visa-free regime with Turkey starting at the beginning of 2016 after a diplomatic crisis between the two countries erupted in November 2015.
Russia placed visa requirements on the cabin crews of flights from Turkey to Russia in a controversial move in terms of global civil aviation rules.
According to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rules, cabin crews are exempt from visa requirements and can stay in destination countries for a few days with a special permit.
Russia has also refused to offer clearance to private jets from Turkey as well, according to sources. As such, such flights have been forced to touch down in Bulgaria before asking for clearance from Russia.