One of Turkey’s main airlines announced on Tuesday that it has suspended all its flights and stopped selling tickets with immediate effect.
AtlasGlobal sent notices to staff during the day that they were all on ‘extended leave’, while passengers were informed by email that their flights had been ‘cancelled’.
The airline also issued a statement on Tuesday evening confirming no more flights will operate until 21 December 2019, with ticket sales suspended until the middle of the month.
“We regret to inform you that we had to suspend all our flights as of November 26, 2019 until December 16, 2019 in order to provide the necessary configuration and improvement in our cash flow. All operational processes that will be carried out within the company by this date will be carried out with minimum number of personnel and the personnel will be determined by the unit managers and will be informed by telephone this evening.”
It’s social media pages also carried an announcement:
“As per the decision taken by our airline, we have entered a new phase of restructuring in order to provide you unique flight experience. As of the 26th of November 2019, we have temporarily suspended all our flights until the 21st of December 2019.
“During this period, all flight irregularities on the tickets until the 15th of December 2019 will be assessed by our teams.
“All procedures regarding involuntary change and/or refund will be announced on the 16th of December 2019, on our website. Please contact email@example.com with your PNR and flight information should you have any further inquiries and questions.
“Tickets sales will be suspended until the 16th of December 2019 on all our sales channels including our website, mobile apps, etc.”
It’s not clear how many passengers are affected by the news.
Formed in 2001, AtlasGlobal had undergone rapid expansion these past few years. Under the guidance of CEO Murat Ersoy, the twin brother of Turkish Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the airline went from flying to eight destinations in the summer of 2015 to more than thirty a year later. This has been scaled back to 24 in recent months.
The airline has a fleet of 16 aircraft and 3,000 personnel. According to media reports earlier this month, it had been hoping for investment of $50-60 million to realise its ambitions of increasing capacity to Russia and Central Asia, and flying more passengers to the popular tourist destination of Antalya. However, difficulties with its cashflow meant the airline was instead looking to give staff unpaid leave as it tried to overcome its financial problems.
There has been no immediate response from the Turkish government about the news of Atlasglobal’s suspended flights, or whether it will step in to help the airline survive.
Main image, top of an Atlasglobal Airbus A320, taken in 2016. Photo © Bene Riobó, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons