Amman-Istanbul flights to take longer, as tensions between Turkey and Syria heat up
Flights between Amman and Istanbul are taking around 35 minutes longer than usual after Syria banned Turkish civilian aircraft from using its airspace, an airline representative said on Monday.
Hiba Kilani, sales officer at the Turkish Airlines office in Amman, told The Jordan Times that Amman-Istanbul flights now take two hours and fifty-five minutes due to a change in route to avoid flying over Syria, whereas they used to take two hours and twenty minutes.
Kilani said the flights were now travelling through Egypt’s airspace instead of Syria’s, pointing that the airline operates two flights a day between Amman and Istanbul.
The ban came as part of a confrontation between Turkey and Syria over cross-border shelling that began two weeks ago and escalated on October 10 when Ankara forced down a Syrian aircraft en route from Moscow.
The aircraft was forced to land based on suspicions that it was carrying Russian munitions for the Syrian military, on the background of news reports that Russian-made cluster bombs were dropped on civilian areas in Syria in the past week.
Syrian aircraft have also been banned from entering Turkish airspace.
The Turkish government has become a vocal opponent of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, which has accused Turkey of facilitating the trafficking of arms to Syrian rebel groups.