Turkish Airlines’ board chairman said on Sunday that 85 percent of the carrier’s passenger planes were not being used at the moment, after Turkey banned flights from more than 60 countries due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Passengers older than 65 years were banned from flying with Turkish Airlines, after Ankara imposed a curfew on Saturday for its senior citizens, Board Chairman Ilker Ayci said in an interview.
Earlier, Turkish Airlines suspended its flights from Istanbul to Somalia after the Horn of African country confirmed its first case of coronavirus and took a similar suspension.
The flag carrier has suspended all flights to the capital Mogadishu for two weeks, said a statement by Turkey’s Embassy.
“As part of the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, the Somalia government reported that all international flights, including humanitarian flights, have been stopped for 15 days, starting Wednesday, March 18,” said the statement.
It added that Turkish Airlines “will suspend Mogadishu flights over the next 15 days, and the last scheduled flight to Istanbul will be held on the morning of March 17.”
Turkish airlines started regular service to Mogadishu in 2012.
Turkey is Somalia’s strongest ally and has spent over $1 billion on aid and infrastructure in Somalia since 2011.
It also support Somalia’s National Army and has its largest embassy in the world in Mogadishu.