UAE airlines cancel flights to Turkey as heavy snow closes Istanbul airport

Emirates, Etihad Airways and flydubai have all suspended flights

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Heavy snowfall in Turkey has disrupted travel after authorities temporarily closed Istanbul Airport.

Passengers flying between the UAE and Turkey’s largest city face disruption after winter weather blanketed Istanbul in white.

Emirates, Etihad Airways, flydubai and Turkish Airlines have temporarily suspended flights between the two destinations.

From Dubai airport, Emirates cancelled both flights scheduled to operate on Tuesday citing “heavy snowfall resulting in the closure of Istanbul International Airport".

The airline also confirmed that flights scheduled for Wednesday, January 26, would be “subject to the status of Istanbul Airport operations and weather conditions".

Travellers set to fly on any of these services have been asked to ensure their contact details for the airline are correct so that Emirates can get in touch to rebook travel.

Etihad passengers diverted to Izmir

Etihad diverted one flight to Izmir and has cancelled another bound for Istanbul after snowfall shut the Turkish airport. Unsplash / Fabien Joy

From Abu Dhabi, Etihad diverted a flight that was already in the air en route to Istanbul, and cancelled another set to depart on Monday.

Flight EY097 from Abu Dhabi, due to land in Istanbul on Monday, was diverted to Izmir on the country's Aegean coast owing to “adverse weather conditions”.

Guests on the flight were given hotel accommodation and are being assisted with onward travel from the coastal city, which is nearly 500 kilometres from Istanbul.

Flight EY096 due to depart the Ottoman city for the UAE capital on Monday was also cancelled, as were flights EY097 and EY096 on Tuesday.

“Our Guest Control team are actively working to rebook affected guests on subsequent services and assisting with onward connections to their final destinations,” an Etihad representative told The National.

Travellers planning to fly to Istanbul with Etihad on Wednesday should reconfirm flights before travelling to the airport.

“The safety and comfort of our guests and crew is our number one priority, and we regret any inconvenience caused by this diversion,” the representative said.

Budget airline flydubai also cancelled flights to Istanbul, with the carrier pausing services from Dubai International Airport on Monday and Tuesday.

“We are in touch with the passengers on their rebooking options. We continue to monitor the situation and we apologise for any inconvenience caused to our passengers’ travel schedules as a result of the adverse weather conditions in Istanbul,” an airline representative confirmed to The National.

Turkish authorities temporarily halted all flights at Istanbul Airport on Monday owing to heavy snowfall in the city. The country’s national airline, Turkish Airlines, has also cancelled all flights out of Istanbul Airport until at least Tuesday.

At Istanbul Airport, opened less than three years ago, the roof of a cargo terminal collapsed under the weight of snow. Spokesman Yahya Ustun said nobody had been hurt.

At the city’s second airport, Sabiha Gokcen, authorities said there would be a 15 per cent reduction in flights on Tuesday.

The heavy snowfall also halted ferry services, shut some roads and caused visibility problems for drivers.

Updated: January 25, 2022, 11:12 AM