Airlines from around the world have united in joining the rescue operation in Turkey


When a major natural disaster strikes, aircraft, whether military or commercial, become an essential component of the relief effort. 

This has certainly proved to be the case with the earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria on February 6, 2023, causing widespread destruction and tens of thousands of deaths. 

Airlines from all over the world have rushed to join the rescue and relief efforts by contributing their most essential assets: their aircraft. 

A few days ago, we explained how the two largest airlines in Turkey, Turkish Airlines and Pegasus, were supporting these efforts (and to that we should also add SunExpress, another airline based in the country).

Now, assorted other carriers have deployed aircraft to fly emergency teams and supplies to the affected area. 

We have compiled a (non-exhaustive) list of airlines that have announced their participation in some way or another, within the massive international rescue operation that has been ongoing over the last two weeks. 

Qatar Airways and Azerbaijan Airlines were among the first to send aircraft loaded with emergency aid; 

Emirates sent two flights loaded with supplies shortly after the earthquake struck, going on to establish what it calls ‘a humanitarian air bridge’ to bring over 100 tons of supplies, in close coordination with several aid and relief agencies. 

Vueling dispatched an A320 from Barcelona to Gaziantep airport (GZT), one of the closest to the disaster area, with eight tons of aid provided by the Spanish and Catalan Red Cross organizations;  

Another airline based in Spain, charter operator Wamos, has played its part in relief work too, flying, on an Airbus A330, a team composed of 111 rescue workers and 3 dogs;

British Airways operated a relief flight in conjunction with Khalsa Aid;

Lufthansa got involved by sending over one of its Boeing 777 cargo aircraft;

The same aircraft type (although in a passenger configuration) deployed to the area by Portuguese operator Euroatlantic;

Relations between Greece and Turkey are usually tense, but such differences can be temporarily put aside when disaster strikes. Aegean Airlines has been deploying several of its aircraft to support the relief operations in south-eastern Turkey.

Austrian Airlines flew emergency teams, including some dogs, to Turkey and back;

And Czech airline Smartwings has made its own contribution to the cause; 

Airplanes belonging to Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia and Middle Eastern Airlines have also been among those rushing to the region;

El Al sent over several planes as part of the relief effort, in addition to which the Israeli airline has announced the resumption of regular flights to Turkey after a 16-year hiatus;

And last but not least, airlines from as far afield as Mongolia’s MIAT have been operating in the disaster area. 

author avatar
Miquel Ros
Deputy Editor[br][br] Miquel has been Deputy Editor at AeroTime since late 2022 and is based in Barcelona, Spain. In addition to his work for AeroTime, he has published on other international media outlets as well, such as CNN, The Points Guy and Airways Magazine. Miquel also worked at the editorial team of Flightglobal and produces, a site and podcast about the aviation industry.
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