Turkmenistan Airlines return to Europe after safety suspension

Vytautas Kielaitis

Turkmenistan Airlines was authorized to resume operations within the European Union after a suspension of ten months by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) over safety concerns.

The Turkmen national carrier reopened its connection between Ashgabat International Airport (ASB) and Frankfurt Airport (FRA) on December 7, 2019. The flight T5463 was carried out by a Boeing 737 registered EZ-A020 with about fifty passengers on board. 

The EASA lifted the ban in October after “a successful on-site audit of Turkmenistan Airlines in Ashgabat,” the capital of the former Soviet republic. On December 1, 2019, the airline announced it would also resume flights to the United Kingdom, starting December 13, 2019.

Turkmenistan Airlines’ permits were suspended over safety concerns in February 2019. Yet since its establishment in 1992, the carrier did not have a single crash or even a serious close-call. The airline was forced to suspend its routes towards Frankfurt (FRA), Paris (CDG), London (LHR) and Birmingham (BHX), leaving thousands of passengers stranded. 

Turkmenistan Airlines was established in 1992, the year when Turkmenistan gained independence from the Soviet Union. It operates a fleet of 17 aircraft including Boeing 737s, 757s, and two 777-200LRs. In September 2019, the company bought an additional 777-200LR valued at $346.9 million at the list price, delivery of which is scheduled for January 2021. The company also flies eight Ilyushin Il-76TDs for freight operations.

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