Antalya-based Southwind Airlines

EU’s Ban on Southwind Airlines Affects Travel Plans for Brits and Germans

The European Union’s decision to ban Southwind Airlines has caused significant disruptions for travelers and the airline itself. Antalya-based Southwind Airlines is facing restrictions due to its alleged connections with Russian entities, impacting flights and holiday plans across Europe.

The ban, linked to an investigation by Finland’s aviation agency, Traficom, suggests the airline’s control lies with Russian rather than Turkish organizations. Reports indicate Southwind’s formation involved leasing staff and planes from Russia’s Nordwind, leading to denied permissions for flights between Antalya and Helsinki by Finland.

Following Brussels’ sanctions against Russia, the EU prohibited Southwind from using its airspace. This led to the airline canceling flights from Minsk to Istanbul from April 1 and a withdrawal of the summer charter program from Kaliningrad to Antalya by tour operator Pegas.

Tour operators, including Pegas Touristik and Coral Travel, are rerouting tourists to Egypt via Azur Air flights this weekend. This comes after the cancellation of a Southwind-operated flight, impacting Russian tourists returning on Saturday.

Southwind Airlines, in a press release, criticized the airspace ban as unjust and baseless, alleging a lack of concrete evidence from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The airline claims to have carried over 400,000 passengers to Europe without issues since August 2022 and has sold 100,000 out of 300,000 seats for flights to Germany in 2024, asserting that the ban unfairly impacts its partners and German customers.

Southwind asserts its operations have always complied with EU and US rules, gaining recognition for its safety and security standards. The airline is taking legal and official steps to challenge the ban, aiming to minimize passenger inconvenience.

Meanwhile, UK holidaymakers’ plans are in jeopardy as the EU airline ban prompts the cancellation of Southwind flights by UK travel company Holiday Best. The company is seeking alternative flights for its customers, with Chief Marketing Officer John Milburn ensuring rearrangements with partner airlines.

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