Considering the United States was the only major country to bar flights from Turkey’s airlines, it makes sense that that ban could be lifted relatively quickly.
The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted a ban on flights from Turkey to the United States, allowing Turkish Airlines to resume flights to nine U.S. cities.
The FAA had temporarily barred any airlines from flying from Turkey to the United States after a group of military plotters attempted a coup on the country’s government. U.S officials had said they were concerned about security standards at Istanbul Atatürk Airport. Turkish Airlines, the only carrier flying between Turkey and the United States, had canceled all flights to U.S. airports for Sunday and Monday.
Turkish Airlines said it will resume all U.S. flights on July 19, starting with its 6:45 a.m. departure to New York John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The government also barred U.S.-registered aircraft from flying to and from Turkey, but since American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines do not serve Istanbul, that ban did not affect U.S. passenger carriers. The FAA has also lifted that restriction.
A Turkish spokesman said Monday that U.S. officials had been conducting a “a review of the security arrangements,” at Turkey’s main airports. A source familiar with the matter said a Transportation Security Administration team was conducting an audit at Istanbul’s airport.
“Turkish authorities are working with the U.S. agency to confirm acceptable standards and resume services,” the Turkish Airlines spokesman said earlier Monday.
The U.S. response to Friday’s attempted coup was unique. Other countries did not ban flights, though some airlines, including British Airways, temporarily canceled flights over the weekend as Istanbul’s airport recovered. On Monday, Turkish Airlines and major European were flying most of their usual schedules from Istanbul’s airport. U.S. passengers stranded in Turkey were trying to board flights to Europe, where they could catch a connecting flight to the United States, but many reported that they were having difficulty getting airline representatives to rebook them.
An FAA spokesman said the U.S. government removed restrictions at 1:45 p.m. EDT on Monday.
In a statement earlier Monday, the TSA had said, “before commercial air service resumes between the U.S. and Atatürk International Airport, TSA will confirm that all flights meet international standards and TSA security requirements.”
On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara suggested the flight ban had been intended as a short-term solution.
“We anticipate this posture will be reevaluated in coming days and advise U.S. citizens with travel plans to regularly consult individual airlines,” the embassy said in a message on its website.
In the United States, Turkish Airlines flies to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Boston, Miami and Washington, D.C.
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Photo Credit: Turkish Airlines is hopeful it can resume U.S. flights soon from Istanbul Atatürk Airport. Osman Orsal / Reuters