The government in Ashgabat has announced this week that Turkmenistan Airlines will be allowed to fly to European Union countries nine months after the flights were banned.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had suspended Turkmenistan Airlines flights to and from the EU zone on February 4, 2019, pending confirmation that the air carrier met international air safety standards.
Officials in Ashgabat have spent months upgrading security, together with Lufthansa Consulting, an international aviation consultancy for airlines, airports, and related industries. On October 16, the restrictions were lifted after Turkmenistan Airlines has confirmed compliance with technical requirements related to air operations in the EU territory.
“The team from Turkmenistan Airlines, supported by the management, demonstrated high flexibility during the implementation and commitment to change. They went the extra mile to achieve the goals,” reads a statement released by EASA.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has already met with Dovran Saburov, who heads the country’s flag carrier, and ordered to determine the most popular destinations based on the market prices and resume flights within two months, by December. The first flights to be dispatched this winter include those to Birmingham in the United Kingdom and Frankfurt in Germany.
Meanwhile, the Central Asian country is also planning to launch regular flights to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to facilitate Turkmen Muslims wishing to make the Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, the sacred cities of the Muslim world. At the same time, Turkmenistan Airlines is expected to resume its flights to Kuala-Lumpur from December 22.
In 2015, Turkmenistan’s airline company flew to Kuala Lumpur once a week until it suspended its flights in May of the same year. Now, the company is working to re-introduce direct flights from Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The Boeing 777-200LR will fly along the segment three times per week.
Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin, a chief executive officer at Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd group, believes that the direct flight from Ashgabat to Kuala-Lumpur will boost inbound tourism in Malaysia.
“We welcome Turkmenistan Airlines to KLIA and we are elated that the airline had decided to commence its operations at the end of this year,” he told in an interview with the New Straits Time.
“These new flights from Turkmenistan’s capital city of Ashgabat will be able to contribute towards our efforts to increase foreign tourist arrivals into Malaysia in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2020,” he said, meaning a campaign focusing country’s ecotourism, arts, and culture.
Earlier this year, Turkmenistan Airlines launched nonstop flights from Ashgabat to Tokyo. The first plane took off on June 26, bridging Ashgabat International Airport with Haneda Airport.
Turkmenistan Airlines or Türkmenhowayollary is the flag carrier of Turkmenistan with headquarters in the country’s capital Ashgabat. The airline operates domestic and international passenger and cargo services mainly from its hub at Ashgabat International Airport. The airline transports more than 5,000 passengers daily within the country and nearly three million passengers annually on the international and domestic routes together. The fleet of the air carrier includes Boeing 737, 757, 777 and a cargo fleet of IL 76.