On Monday 4th February, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) banned Turkmenistan Airlines from operating in Europe until it can prove that it meets international air safety standards. Flights from London Heathrow and Birmingham to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, have been suspended until further notice.

The BBC reports that thousands of people have been stranded, as Turkmenistan Airlines is popular with those travelling to Amritsar, India, as well as further flung destinations such as Bangkok and Beijing.

There are unconfirmed reports on Twitter that the airline and some travel agents have told people flights are continuing as scheduled. If you are due to fly with Turkmenistan Airlines in the coming weeks, we strongly urge you to make alternative travel arrangements. The process of verifying the safety standards have been met could take quite a while. 

Official advice

From the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (current as of 16:30 on Tuesday 5th February) –

On 4 February 2019 Turkmenistan Airlines suspended its scheduled operations to Europe. The company operated from Birmingham and London Heathrow via Asghabat to various points including Amritsar, Bangkok, Beijing and Delhi.

Further information is available via the airlines general enquiries line: + 44 (0)844 58 52 065 or + 993 12 39 17 47

If you have yet to fly (including passengers who have yet to return to the UK) 

Passengers who have travelled may need to make their own arrangements to return home. They should contact Turkmenistan Airlines, your travel insurer or travel agent for assistance.

Airlines which may offer alternative flights include:

Ticket refunds

Passengers wishing to obtain a refund for unused tickets will need to contact the company directly.  Passengers who booked directly with the company via either a credit, charge or debit card may alternatively be able to make a claim against their card provider. Some card providers will ask for a negative response letter confirming the position. 

Direct booking with an airline

If you paid directly to the airline by credit card you might be protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. You should check with your card issuer for further advice. You may have similar cover if you paid by Visa debit card. Check with your bank.

Booked through an Airline Ticket Agent

If you booked your ticket through an airline ticket agent you should speak to the agent in the first instance; they may have provided travel insurance cover, so check with your agent.

Booked with an ATOL holder (package holiday)

If you have booked flights or a holiday that includes flights with a travel firm that holds an ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) and received confirmation that you are ATOL protected, the travel firm is responsible for your flight arrangements and must either make alternative flights for you so that your holiday can continue or provide a full refund. If you are abroad, it should make arrangements to bring you home at the end of your trip. 

Please click through here for the CAA’s website and further information about air travel and passengers rights.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office adds the following contact information –

Affected passengers are advised to contact Turkmenistan Airlines to seek advice.

Heathrow contact: 020 8577 2211

Birmingham: Handling agent: Swissport.

Email: reservations@flyturkmenistanairlines.eu

Phone: + 44 (0)844-5852065.

Ashgabat: 24 hour customer support line +993 12 39-17-47

Email: info@turkmenistanairlines.tm

Please click through here to read the rest of the FCO travel advisory for Turkmenistan.

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