Friday July 3, 2020
FILE - Turkish Airlines 737-7GL Reg: TC-JKK/ PHOTO: Donal Morrissey (Birrlad) /FLICKR
Mogadishu (HOL) - Turkish Airlines is planning to resume it's flights to key African destinations, including Mogadishu, starting next week, according to an industry insider.
The airline has already begun flying to Cairo.
The Turkish national flag carrier has already announced that it will resume flights to Italy and Bulgaria on Wednesday.
Turkish Airlines began flying to international destinations on June 11.
Turkish Airline paused almost all international flights on March 27 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the source, Turkish Airlines plans to return to Africa with reduced flights starting with daily flights to Cairo which began on Wednesday, followed by three times a week to Nairobi on July 10, and Addis Ababa on July 13.
Although not yet official, travel to Somalia will resume on July 22, with three flights a week scheduled on Wednesday's, Friday's and Saturday's. It appears the airline may also resume daily flights to Mogadishu as early as the first week of August.
The last Turkish Airlines flight to Mogadishu was on March 17.
Turkis Airlines is the first major international carrier to travel to Mogadishu since the collapse of the central government in 1991. They began regular service in 2012 as Islamist militants and drought were ravaging the city.
The government of Turkey, which owns a 49% stake in the airline is a major international ally and donor, having spent well over $1 billion on aid in infrastructure since 2011.
The airlines country manager has previously revealed that Somalia is one of Turkish Airline's most profitable routes worldwide.
However, the return to international travel has been marked with heightened health and safety concerns as COVID-19 continue to spread.
One of the significant changes is the introduction of 'Hygiene Experts' onboard all passenger planes to enforce that that health measures are being followed. This includes mandatory face masks that must be changed every four hours if it is disposable, checking the temperature of passengers and crew, supplying hygiene kits, and disinfectants and enforcing social distancing with no line ups on the plane and space out boarding.
The aircraft will undergo an intense two-stage fogging process before every flight, and the air systems will refresh every three minutes. Pillows and blankets will not be provided for flights under four hours.