Gulf airlines suspend flights to Istanbul following terror attack
Workers outside the explosions and attacks site outside Ataturk airport's international arrivals terminal. (AFP/Ozan Kose)
The Middle East’s three largest airlines cancelled flights to Istanbul’s main airport on Wednesday following a terror attack at the international terminal overnight.
Three suicide bombers opened fire before blowing themselves up at Europe’s third-busiest airport Istanbul Ataturk late on Tuesday, killing 36 people and injuring nearly 150 in what Turkey’s prime minister has said was an attack by the terror group Daesh.
Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways all cancelled flights to Ataturk airport after authorities temporarily closed it on Wednesday.
Emirates is offering passengers to transfer onto flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, the city’s second international airport, a spokesperson told Gulf News in a statement. Emirates flies daily to Istanbul Ataturk airport.
Qatar Airways cancelled its daily flight with a spokesperson tellingGulf News the airline also accomodated passengers on a service to Sabiha Gökçen. An Etihad spokesperson confirmed to Gulf News that it had cancelled its daily flight. Iran’s civil aviation authority has suspended all flights to Ataturk, according to a Reuters report.
The attack on Istanbul Ataturk is that latest in a series of deadly bombings in Turkey. The Muslim-majority country is a member of US-led coalition fighting Daesh and is separately combating an insurgency from Kurdish militants in the country southeast.
Foreign visitors to Turkey fell in the nine consecutive months through April, according to government data.
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