A blizzard in Istanbul forced the closure of Istanbul Airport as crews worked around the clock to clear up accumulated snow. An airport roof also collapsed under the weight of the snowfall. Turkish Airlines was forced to cancel over 1,000 flights, stranding tens of thousands in Turkey’s largest city.
Blizzard Leads To Massive Turkish Airlines Flight Cancellations, Temporary Closure Of Istanbul Airport
For the the first time since Istanbul Airport opened in 2019, the airport was forced to close. The gleaming new glass airport on the outskirts of Istanbul has become a major hub for world travel. Despite the pandemic, Turkish Airlines served 37 millions passengers last year and flies to more countries than any other airline.
But no one departed over a period stretching from Monday into Tuesday after a blizzard rapidly dumped unseasonable amounts of snow across the city. Roads became parking lots as hazardous slick conditions let to traffic accidents and closures. Drivers are now being urged to collect their vehicles, as many simply left them on the side of the road.
According to FlightAware, Turkish Airlines cancelled 57% of its flights yesterday (659 flights) and nearly that many on Monday, totaling over 1,000 flights. Thus far today, Turkish has cancelled 130 flights (11% of its schedule) and delayed 236 flights (21% of its schedule).
Meanwhile, the roof of a Turkish Airlines cargo building at the airport collapsed under the weight of the snow, narrowly avoiding injuring workers (the airport blamed shoddy “Spanish” construction).
While Istanbul Airport took over for Istanbul Atatürk Airport, critics warned that the geographic placement of a new airport by the Black Sea in an area plagued with fog during the winter months would wreak havoc.
While fog has led to many diversions, this blizzard pummeled all of Istanbul and was not specific to the airport. In fact, the entire city shut down, with the heavy snowfall disrupting commerce to the point in which is simply made sense to close most businesses.
Operations have resumed at Turkish Airports after a temporary closure due to a blizzard. But it will take the flag carrier of Turkey several days to regroup after cancelling over 1,000 flights and delaying hundreds more.
Were you stranded by Turkish Airlines? How did the airline re-accomodate you?