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Travellers hit with Turkey flight cancellations over security fears
Posted on 26/04/2016

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An increasing number of airlines are cutting back flights to Turkey in order to free up aircraft for more secure destinations, leaving many travellers out of pocket.

As demand for Turkish holidays continues to slump, thousands of passengers are being told that their flights have been cancelled, despite having already paid for their trip in full. Many airlines have suspended their flight schedules whilst others are reducing capacity for the summer period in order to switch to more stable routes.

Arrival numbers already dropping

Arrival numbers already dropping
Creative Commons

Fears of attacks on large tourist resorts has led airlines to cut back on flights to destinations such as Bodrum, Dalaman and Antalya. The capital city, along with Istanbul, has already suffered from attacks launched by both IS and the PKK.

The extra planes will be used to fly on more lucrative routes, mostly to destinations in Spain. Thomas Cook has cut roughly one third of its Turkey capacity, instead switching customers to mainland Spain and the Spanish islands to make up the cost.

Aside from the British tour operator, Spanish carrier Iberia also recently suspended its four-times-weekly Istanbul service. Delta Air Lines similarly said that it was suspending its summer service to Turkey's largest city due to "increased security concerns in Turkey" and "weaker demand for air travel to this market."

According to travel expert Simon Calder, airlines are at liberty to cancel flights without offering compensation, providing they give at least two weeks' notice. However, they must offer a full refund or switch passengers to alternative departures, even if that means switching them to rival airlines.

"Some carriers have insisted that these new flights must be on their own services. But the law for any EU airline entitles passengers whose flights are cancelled to 're-routing, under comparable transport conditions, to their final destination at the earliest opportunity'", he wrote in the Independent.

"They must offer passengers the most appropriate alternative flight even if that means buying a seat with a rival carrier."

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