The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had suspended Turkmenistan Airlines’ flights to and from the EU with immediate effect “pending confirmation that it meets international air safety standards“.
This decision has left thousands of passengers stranded.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), acting on the EASA decision, said flights from Birmingham and London Heathrow to Amritsar, and from Heathrow to New Delhi via Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, have been suspended.
Turkmenistan Airlines also flies from Istanbul, Frankfurt and Paris. The budget airline also offers flights from Europe to various other locations such as Bangkok and Beijing, via Ashgabat.
Affected passengers are advised to contact Turkmenistan Airlines to seek advice. A spokesman for the CAA said: “Passengers who have travelled may need to make their own arrangements to return home“, with Air India, British Airways, Jet Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Turkish Airlines potentially offering alternative routes.
Those who have booked but are now unable to fly will have to contact the airline for a refund.
“Passengers who booked directly with the company via either a credit, charge or debit card may alternatively be able to make a claim against their card provider,” the CAA spokesman said.
Turkmenistan Airlines was set up in 1992 after the collapse of the USSR. It has never suffered a fatal accident. It operates a motley fleet of aircraft, including one Boeing 757 which is 27 years old. According to the carrier’s timetable, this is the aircraft type used for UK flights. Recent Heathrow and Birmingham operations have been carried out by Boeing 737-800 jets, which approach their range limitations on flights that cover 3,000 miles.