Airline banned by EU reinstates some flights between UK and Asia

Cathy Adams

Some Turkmenistan Airlines flights between the UK and Asia have been reinstated thanks to a charter carrier.

The flag carrier of the former Soviet republic was banned from EU airspace last week by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) pending confirmation that it met international air safety standards.

The airline flew from Heathrow and Birmingham to cities including Delhi, Bangkok and Amritsar via Ashgabat in Turkmenistan.

When Turkmenistan Airlines was abruptly banned from EU airspace, The Independent estimated that around 5,000 British travellers were stranded in Asia.

But today the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, which warned that stranded passengers would likely have to find their own way home, said that “some services to and from the UK have been restored” as flights would be operated by Spanish company Wamos Air.

Wamos Air is a Spanish airline that mainly operates charter flights. It has a wet lease operation, meaning it lends aircraft to other carriers.

The CAA advised that passengers should contact Turkmenistan Airlines for further information.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that the airline was making “alternative arrangements for some services to and from the UK”.

A statement on the FlyTurkmenistanAirlines.eu website said that the flight from Birmingham to Ashgabat on 6 February would leave as scheduled. According to Flight Radar 24, flight T5422 landed in Ashgabat this morning at 11.30am local time.

The statement added: “We will update you once we have received more information from Turkmenistan Airlines regarding the flights scheduled in the near future from the UK (Birmingham and London) and from Germany (Frankfurt).

“Refunds are not permitted. If you have any questions, please contact your own travel agent or Turkmenistan Airlines directly.”

Last summer, Norwegian wet leased a 19-year-old Airbus 330 from Wamos Air to fly on its London to New York route, thanks to ongoing engine trouble with its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.