Istanbul’s Snowed-In Airport Stirs Back To Life

Stranded passengers wait at Istanbul airport, where flights are cancelled due to blizzard and heavy snowfall, in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 25, 2022. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)


Europe’s busiest airport in Istanbul was “gradually” resuming normal operations after a blizzard shut it down for a day, the head of Turkish Airlines said on Wednesday.

Istanbul Airport closed on Monday for the first time since it took over from the old Ataturk Airport as the global hub of Turkish Airlines in 2019.

Fuming passengers complained on Twitter about a lack of regular updates from Turkish travel officials and poor customer service, with some joining a chant demanding “we need a hotel”.

The airport handled just a handful of flights on Tuesday, mostly allowing airborn transatlantic flights to land.

But officials said 131 domestic and international flights were due to take off and land by 1:00 pm (1000 GMT) Wednesday, helping clear a massive backlog.

“Flights have gradually begun returning to normal,” Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Eksi said on Twitter.

Airport officials told AFP that only one of the airport’s three runways had been cleared of snow and that de-icing work continued.

READ ALSO: Istanbul Airport Shuts Down Due To Snow

A blizzard that reached Istanbul last weekend paralised traffic and shut down basic services in the city of 16 million, some parts of which were covered by 85 centimetres (2.8 feet) of snow.

Officials urged citizens not to use private cars unless essential. Universities were closed until Monday and buses were banned from entering or leaving the city until Wednesday morning.

But most of the attention focused on Istanbul Airport, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once hailed as the “pride of our country and example to the world”.

One of the mega-projects built under Erdogan’s two-decade rule, the gleaming glass-and-steel structure handled 37 million passengers last year, becoming Europe’s busiest for the second year running.

But opponents have criticised the airport’s location, which is near the Black Sea coast and 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the city centre, making it exposed to fog and strong winds.

Turkish Airlines Promises To Upgrade Aircraft Amid Suspension From Nigeria

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Turkish Airlines has made a pledge to commence the immediate freight of all leftover passengers’ baggage in Turkey to Nigeria.

The freighting which commenced on Friday last week is expected to continue until Tuesday, December 17.

This was confirmed by the General Manager of Public Relations at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr Sam Adurogboye, in a statement on Sunday.

He explained that Turkish Airlines made the pledge following a meeting between its management and the acting Director-General of NCAA, Captain Abdullahi Sidi.

“At the end of the meeting, the Airline’s executives pledged to commence immediately freight of all leftover passengers’ baggage in Turkey to Nigeria,” Adurogboye said.

He added, “According to them, this will be achieved by instantly upgrading the Boeing 737 – 800 being used and found inadequate to a larger Airbus A 330 and Boeing 737 – 900.

“The programme of clearance will be carried out from 13th to 17th December 2019.”

According to the NCAA’s spokesman, the aviation regulatory body expects strict compliance to the remedial programme.

NCAA also warned all operators to ensure Nigerians were not taken for granted by providing safe, secure and efficient service at all time.

Turkish Airlines is known for bringing Nigerian travellers into the country without their checked-in luggage.

Disturbed by the rate of reported cases, the NCAA in a letter dated December 11, 2019, suspended Turkish Airlines operations into Nigeria with effect from December 16, if the right size of aircraft was not deployed to the service of Nigerians at all airports in the country.

Take A Cue From Turkish Airlines Experience, Sirika Warns Foreign Operators


The Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, has warned foreign airline operators to learn from the experiences of Turkish Airlines and stop treating Nigerian travellers with disdain.

Mr Sirika gave the warning on Saturday in a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs in the ministry, Mr James Odaudu.

The Minister, while reacting to the threat meted out to Turkish Airlines by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), declared that no foreign airlines will be tolerated if they fail to give Nigerian travellers better flying experience.

“No foreign airline operator would henceforth be allowed to treat Nigerian travellers with disdain, according to the Minister, warning the others to take a cue from the Turkish airline’s experience.

“Sirika has also promised Nigerians better flying experiences as the nation’s aviation industry is set to undergo major developments in the coming years, with the implementation of the stakeholder-developed roadmap.”

READ ALSO: Turkish Airlines Escapes Suspension Of Licence By NCAA

Mr Sirika affirmed that Turkish airlines had been notorious for their ‘shabby’ treatment of Nigerian travellers, and had the warning not issued, the operators won’t have flown into Abuja with a bigger aircraft.

“Following the threat by the nation’s aviation regulators to ban its operations in Nigeria, Turkish Airlines last night flew into Abuja with a bigger aircraft A330 as against the usual smaller B737.

“Officials of the airline, alarmed by the prospect of losing their Nigerian market, had rushed into a meeting with the Nigerian authorities to pledge total commitment and compliance with the conditions given to them in order to continue their operations in the Country.

“Turkish Airlines have been notorious for their shabby treatment of Nigerian travellers over time, especially when they have to arrive their destinations without their checked-in luggage. This has always given rise to security issues at the airports with protests by affected passengers,” he stressed.

However, he stated that the airline has now shown commitment to improving its treatment of Nigerian travellers by operating into the Nation’s capital with a bigger and more comfortable aircraft.

Reacting to the development, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika described it as commendable, saying that the situation did not need to arise in the first place, with the Airline waiting for the strong-arm handling before doing the right thing.

Turkish Airlines To Know Fate Over Suspension Of Operating Licence By NCAA

FG Sacks Directors Of NCAA


Turkish Airlines will know their fate regarding the suspension of their operating license by the Federal Government.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had earlier issued the airline a warning over its use of small aircraft, as well as not bringing passengers into Nigeria with their checked-in luggage.

READ ALSO: Kaduna-Abuja Highway Now Safe – El-Rufai

According to a letter by the Acting Director-General, NCAA, Abdullahi Sidi, the incident has been going on for two weeks and become so bad that most recent Turkish Airlines’ flights arrived in Nigeria without more than 85 percent of passengers’ baggage on board.”

Channels Television gathered that the NCAA is to meet later today to take a decision on the airline’s operating license after it came into the country this morning with a bigger aircraft.

FG Sues Turkish Airlines For Alleged Rights Violation

Court, Turkish Airlines, GovernmentThe Federal Government has sued Turkish Airlines before a Federal High Court in Abuja over an alleged criminal violation of the rights of some Nigerian passengers.

The government also indicted the company for violating the enabling law of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, filed a three-count charge against the airline as well as its Board Chairman, Liker Ayci and its Commercial Manager, Rasak Shobowale.

Untimely Delivery Of Baggage

In the charge, the Federal Government alleged that the three accused persons between December 20, 2015 and March 2016, “without sufficient cause, refused to provide the Consumer Protection Council documents on Turkish Airlines’ policy on delayed baggage,” thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 18 of the CPC Act.

The Federal Government also accused the airline and its two principal officers of violating the same section of the CPC Act by neglecting, without sufficient cause, to attend and testify before the consumer protection agency on the detailed steps taken by the airline to provide redress and compensation to passengers aboard its Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on the said dates, who were affected by its untimely delivery of baggage.

The prosecution came on the heels of persistent refusal of Turkish Airlines to respond to lawful requests of CPC for a full situation report on the airline’s alleged shoddy treatment of passengers of Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on December 25 and 31, 2015 as well as January 9, 2016, which prompted the council to approach the Justice Minister for the prosecution of the airline.

Mali Attack: Special Forces Storm Hotel, 30 Hostages Freed

mali attackSpecial forces have entered the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali’s capital, Bamako, to end the siege by gunmen who had been holding 170 people hostage.

The gunmen stormed the US-owned hotel, which is popular with foreign businesses and airline crews, shooting and shouting “God is great!” in Arabic.

Mali’s Interior Minister, Salif Traore, said 30 hostages had been freed so far.

Three people had been shot dead and two soldiers were wounded, but their lives were not in danger, he said.

Among the rescued people are: 12 crew members of Air France and five from Turkish Airlines.

Report says Chinese citizens and indians were among those trapped inside the building.

The United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force said it was supporting the operation, as Malian special forces freed hostages “floor by floor”.

The Radisson Blu Hotel attack is coming a week after Islamic State (IS) militants killed 129 people in Paris.

Boko Haram: Turkish Airlines Denies Carrying Weapons To Nigeria

Boko Terror Turkish AirlinesTurkish Airlines have denied carrying weapons and military equipment to Nigeria after a Twitter account behind a string of leaks in a Turkish corruption scandal released a voice recording suggesting it had done so.

The recording, whose authenticity has not been verified, is purportedly of a conversation between a senior Turkish Airlines employee and one of the advisers of Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan.

Part of the voice recording of an alleged Turkish Airlines official, goes, “Lots of material is on its way to Nigeria right now. Is it going to kill Muslims or Christians? I am sinning right now, you should know.”

The airline said in an e-mailed statement that it only carried weapons and military equipment in line with international law and International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations and that no weapons were carried to Nigeria.