Dubai: The Middle East’s largest airlines cancelled flights to Istanbul’s two airports, Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen, on Saturday after an apparent failed military coup in Turkey overnight.
Emirates cancelled flight EK123 to Ataturk Airport, one of Europe’s busiest airports, and the return flight, EK124, “as a result of the unsettled situation in the country.
It later cancelled flight EK119 to Sabiha Gokcen Airport and the return flight, EK120. However, Emirates told staff in an internal email seen by Gulf News it would operate the afternoon EK121 flight to Ataturk and the return flight, EK122, on Saturday, though with a one hour delay.
“The situation in Turkey is becoming more settled,” the internal email said.
Overnight, military factions are alleged to have attempted to overthrow the Turkish government, which saw tanks and other military vehicles enter the streets of Turkey and military jets fly over the country. The coup was said to have failed by Saturday morning, though there were reports of sporadic gun fire.
Emirates, however, also told staff not to board passengers flying from international airports to Turkey via Dubai on Saturday “due to the current developing situation,” according to internal emails seen by Gulf News.
Etihad Airways cancelled all of its services to Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen on Saturday “as a result of an attempted military coup in Turkey overnight.”
“All passengers are advised to return home or are being assisted and re-accommodated on other Etihad Airways services and other airlines,” Etihad told Gulf News in an email.
Etihad is also allowing Turkey-bound passengers to fly to Greece or Cyprus up until July 19.
Flights to Turkey operated by Qatar Airways were also cancelled on Saturday, including one flight to Ataturk and three to Sabiha Gokcen, according to the airlines website.
UAE discount carriers flydubai and Air Arabia both told Gulf News they intended on operating their respective daily flight to Sabiha Gokcen on Saturday.