Turkmenistan Airlines ban leaves thousands stranded

Turkmenistan Airlines ban leaves thousands stranded

Thousands of passengers have been left stranded after a decision by air regulators to ban Turkmenistan Airlines from European skies for safety reasons.

The UK CAA said flights from Birmingham and London’s Heathrow to Amritsar, and Heathrow to New Delhi - which fly via Ashgabat, Turkmenistan - had been suspended with immediate effect.

The CAA acted after the European Aviation Safety Agency suspended permission for it to fly in the EU.

The carrier also flies from Frankfurt and Paris.

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A spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Following the decision by the European Aviation Safety Agency to suspend permission for Turkmenistan Airlines to operate services to the European Union, Turkmenistan Airline flights from Birmingham and Heathrow to Amritsar, and Heathrow to New Delhi – which fly via Ashgabat – are suspended with immediate effect.

“The UK Civil Aviation Authority is required under European law to withdraw Turkmenistan Airlines’ permit to operate to the UK pending European Aviation Safety Agency’s restoration of their approval that it meets international air safety standards.”

Set up in 1992 by the former Soviet Union state, Turkmenistan Airlines’ route to Amritsar is popular with the British Punjabi population.

Affected passengers are advised to contact Turkmenistan Airlines to seek advice, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said.

Air India, British Airways, Jet Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Turkish Airlines all offer potential alternative routes.