Since its establishment in October 2022, Southwind Airlines has operated smoothly to numerous countries without any issues. However, the European Union authorities have imposed an 'airspace ban' on the airline, alleging its association with Russia without any substantiated evidence. Southwind Airlines responded to this ban, stating that it is entirely based on rumors and malicious intent, with no concrete information or evidence provided to the relevant authorities.

The statement from Southwind regarding the ban imposed by the European Union is as follows:

“Since its establishment in October 2022, our company has transported approximately 500,000 passengers to Europe without any issues, and for the 2024 program, we have received approval from the German civil aviation authority LBA for around 100,000 ticket sales. However, our flights have been disrupted based on baseless rumors and gossip.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has imposed an airspace ban on our company without providing any concrete information or evidence to our country's official authorities, relevant ministries, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation, or our company. It is a completely unjust, biased, rumor-based, and malicious practice.

Our company has received praise from German authorities due to the quality services provided since 2022, adherence to aviation regulations, and seamless transportation. The allegations made are entirely based on hearsay news. We believe that the ban decision, which we are confident will be overturned by the judiciary, has a quite remarkable background.

The European Union imposed an airspace ban on Southwind Airlines, based on Finland's unfair complaint to the European Union (EU), alleging our Turkish-registered company of having connections with Russia without any evidence or concrete reasons.

When the ban decision was communicated from the EU to the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the allegations were not investigated, and no response was requested. Furthermore, the airspace ban was implemented just one day before the Easter holiday without allowing time for a proper response, in a malicious manner. We will pursue our rights in Europe through the judiciary regarding this matter. We are confident that this injustice will be stopped. We have experienced a similar situation on December 24, 2023, when we took legal action against the false news titled 'Putin's airline' published by the German Bild Newspaper, which was maliciously timed during the Christmas holiday and succeeded in removing the news. Finland's application to the relevant commission of the EU is based on this false news, which we have proven to be untrue through the judiciary.

The airspace ban decision intended for our company, Southwind Airlines, is not based on any evidence like the news in Bild Newspaper. There is no concrete evidence. It is not even possible.

The development of the airspace ban decision is as follows:

As Southwind Airlines, we applied to the Finnish civil aviation authority to start flights to Helsinki in March. Upon this development, Finland wrote a letter to the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asking whether our company had any connection to Russia. The DGCA responded in writing that there was no connection to Russia, that the company's capital is 100% owned by Turkish citizens, the person owning the company is a Turkish citizen without any citizenship of another country besides the Republic of Türkiye all managers are Turkish, and the company is registered in Türkiye.

However, disregarding the response given by the Turkish civil aviation authority and without providing any concrete information or evidence to Turkey, the Finnish authorities, through false and gossip-style news, applied to the European Union's aviation commission, requesting a ban on using the European airspace based on rumors of our Turkish-registered company's connection to Russia.

Upon Finland's application, a recommendation decision was issued by the EU Commission, with the recommendation that airspace ban against our company be implemented, one day before Easter holiday. Although this recommendation decision has no binding force or sanctions, Germany and Poland have closed their airspace to our company based on this unjust recommendation. However, due to the timing of the Easter holiday, our ability to appeal to official authorities and object to the decision was hindered.

No concrete information, evidence, or request for response or defense was obtained from Türkiye or the relevant airline before making this decision. Other EU members did not comply with this decision. However, after Germany brought this unjust recommendation decision to the attention of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), an airspace ban was issued against our company with an interesting timing.

The European aviation authority EASA has also violated Türkiye's sovereignty with such a decision. Because it has made a decision without any evidence, reasons, or request for defense on a matter that Turkish official authorities have denied. The reason behind it remains unclear. This development after the news in Bild Newspaper suggests that it is a second malicious, political attempt.

In conclusion, since its establishment, Southwind Airlines has not been found to be in violation of any rules set by the EU and the USA. We have not received any warnings in any matter; on the contrary, we are a company that has received commendations from relevant official institutions in Europe. Since the beginning of our operations in terms of safety and maintenance, we have not violated any rules.

Since encountering such a ban, Southwind Airlines has been trying to transport our approximately 10,000 passengers to Europe safely and peacefully by purchasing seats from other Turkish companies operating flights to Europe. Unfortunately, some of our passengers may be inconvenienced due to the full capacity of the aircraft during the holiday season.

TAV Airports opened the new terminal at Almaty Airport TAV Airports opened the new terminal at Almaty Airport

As a company, we are making maximum efforts to prevent our passengers from being inconvenienced, and at the same time, we are making official applications for the immediate lifting of this unjust and malicious airspace ban.

In addition, we are preparing to file lawsuits in Europe against the authorities responsible for causing this situation for our company and passengers, and to rectify the injustice. Due to the lengthy nature of such lawsuits, we are also making efforts through relevant Turkish institutions to have the ban lifted as soon as possible. We continue to make efforts for the authorities in our country to intervene in this process swiftly to urgently address the grievances of both the airline and passengers, and to take the necessary steps to protect the economic interests and sovereignty rights of our country."

Editor: Haber Merkezi