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Turkish Airlines passengers left stranded after snow closes Istanbul airport

The Turkish Airlines flight arrived on January 24, and the aircraft still stands stranded at TIA

2022 Jan 26, 11:27, Kathmandu

Passengers of Turkish Airlines from Nepal and across the world are confused and unhappy with the way the airline is handling its cancellations and delays due to the closure of Istanbul Airport in Turkey due to sudden and heavy snowfall.

According to international news reports, in Istanbul itself, Turkish police were deployed briefly on Tuesday, after passengers stranded there because of an unusually heavy snowfall staged a protest in the airport’s cavernous departure hall. Passengers chanting, “We need hotel!” marched through the hall, near the duty-free shop and luxury stores, according to a spokeswoman for the airport and videos posted on social media by passengers, some of whom said they had been stranded in the facility for more than a day with no help from staff and no provision of food or water.

The closure of Istanbul airport affected flights and passengers from around the world including Nepal. Passengers who were to fly Turkish Airlines from Kathmandu to Istanbul and onward destinations claim to have been left in limbo and faced a number of problems due to the lack of information and the way the issue is being handled by Turkish Airlines. These are passengers travelling to Europe or USA and students.

The Turkish Airlines Kathmandu-Istanbul flight landed on January 24 at 8.30 pm, and the aircraft still stands stranded at TIA with passengers who were to take the flight still lacking information about when the flight will take off. Passengers say they came back to the TIA airport on January 25 and after much confusion was told to return home as the flight would not take off that day too. Today, 26 January is the third day that passengers will need to be at the airport to take the flight if the situation in Istanbul is under control.

However, the lack of clarity has angered many passengers who were waiting for the flight and faced cancellations. They point out that due to the lack of proper information they are being harassed to come to the airport and return. At the airport this also caused a crowd and chaos and passengers were confused and unsure over what to do. With the present COVID situation in Nepal, passengers feel that Turkish Airlines could have done a lot more to avoid the chaos and crowding at the airport. In addition to their problems is the odd and even vehicle system now in place to curb infections and the harassment of coming to the airport and having to return and come back again. Some even pointed out the problem of PCR tests that are required 48 hours before boarding and the fact that they have to undergo them again and are still not sure if the flight will leave today.

Passengers are calling for more professionalism from Turkish Airlines in meeting this challenge that the weather has thrown up. They feel that the lack of information and proper handling of the issue is a huge harassment for them and they expected better from an international airline. According to Abdullah Tuncer Kececi, General Manager of Turkish Airlines in Kathmandu, “the cancelation of flights was because of the weather and beyond our control.” He says that Turkish Airlines in Kathmandu tried their best to manage the situation. “All those who booked online or directly with us were kept informed on the developments and we reached out to all the passengers who had listed their contact numbers,” he stated. He also conceded that those who booked through agencies may have lacked updated information. He also confirmed that the Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul would carry all their passengers tonight as it was scheduled to fly at 23:05 hours.

On Sunday evening officials at Istanbul Airport announced Monday evening that flights would be suspended until early Tuesday morning due to “adverse weather and heavy snowfall.”

The suspension of flights was later extended until midnight Wednesday. According to the Washington Post, in a phone interview Tuesday evening, Seyda Yilmaz, the airport spokeswoman, said some passengers had been in “limbo” because their airlines had not provided hotels, but denied that was the fault of the airport, which was providing a 50 percent discount on food inside the terminal.


Turkish Airlines passengers Istanbul airport nepal Airlines Global issues Winter Snow
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