EU authorities announced last Thursday that Southwind Airlines was no longer permitted to fly to EU countries, including Germany. The UK followed up with a similar ban. The decision is based on company's alleged link to Russia.

The Airline was going to flight from 6 German cities

As a result of the EU decision, Antalya-based Southwind is no longer permitted to operate its scheduled flights for summer 2024 between Türkiye and its German destinations of Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart.

"However, due to Southwind's niche position on the German market, the ban has not generated too many problems for tour operators" said German business and tourism magazine, fvw.

For example, Schauinsland Reisen said it was barely impacted by the ban. The number of guests due to fly on Southwind aircraft over the Easter weekend was minimal and all of them were booked onto other flights instead.

The picture is similar at FTI which "has only packaged a few of our offers for Türkiye holidaymakers with Southwind Airlines". The Munich-based tour operator said: "Thanks to our strong Turkey portfolio and broad flight program, all our passengers due to depart over the Easter weekend were transported with suitable alternative flights."

At Coral Travel Ferien, a specialist in Türkiye holidays, managing director Ender Karadag said: "We were able to re-book all our guests."

Southwind chartered jets from Corendon and Tailwind

Dynamic packaging specialist LMX was also able to transfer guests due to fly with Southwind quickly to other carriers. Overall, it has about 500 to 800 customers scheduled to fly with the airline this summer.

Flight contracting manager Marc Gündler explained: "Apart from anything, Southwind itself ensured there were replacements." He said that the airline had chartered jets from Tailwind and Corendon to overcome the short-term problem.

Arbitrary ban on Southwind Airlines from the European Union Arbitrary ban on Southwind Airlines from the European Union

Sun Express steps in

An important role was played by the leading German-Turkish leisure airline Sun Express, which connects many German airports with Antalya and which has been in close contact with tour operators to fill the current gap.

Sun Express said that it filled empty seats on its flights over the Easter weekend with passengers who had been due to fly with Southwind. Moreover, the airline operated five additional flights between March 29 and April 2 in order to fly holidaymakers either to Turkey or back home again. A further five flights will take place between Frankfurt, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Munich to and from Antalya by the end of this week.

UK based Holiday Best rescheduled its summer flights

"On the other hand, the new tour operator Holiday Best has rescheduled its summer flight program after reports Southwind Airlines has been banned in European Union airspace" Travel Weekly reports.

The Turkish charter airline had hoped to fly customers of Holiday Best from 10 regional UK airports from April until October this year.

The operator, which has an ATOL for 81,000 passengers in its first year, has just started to work with travel agents following its consumer launch last summer.

Editor: Haber Merkezi