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.
> Read More: Is New Istanbul Airport Already In Danger Of Failing?
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?
Ottoman capital. Not exactly Turkish.
You’re fast. Updated that almost immediately and before your comment came through.
Flying out of IAD tomorrow to MCT. Hopefully all goes well. At least I can kill a delay in the Polaris Lounge!
Best of luck! I went through Ataturk on a snowy day 6 years ago and the IROPS handling was a total disaster. I was extremely lucky to get home with only a slight delay, and even bagged an upgrade in the process, but I witnessed some absurd conversations between pax and employees in the ridiculously crowded lounge (‘Your flight has been cancelled, but we have found you a seat on the flight departing in two hours to Chicago.’ ‘But my flight was to Toronto how am I supposed to get there?’ ‘I am sorry, but we don’t have another flight to Toronto!’).
How will the worlds Hash supply be affected?
It wasn’t just Istanbul, this spread across South Eastern Europe, Athens was also closed and people in Greece were advised to stay at home because the weather made any travel unsafe. Those countries just do not have equipment to deal with this sort of snow fall and for once in every fifty years why would they?
I was affected by this. Canadian and Australian call centers to the rescue! LOL
Instead of blaming “Spanish” construction, perhaps the blame should lie with Turkish decision makers that hired the Spanish contractor or Turkish regulators that permitted the structure to be occupied.
I found the lazy Spaniard. Always blaming others.
Flew IST-LHR-ATL exactly three weeks ago and it was CAFB and mid-fifties Fahrenheit. Go figure.
I was stuck in Istanbul for 72 hours. A worse experience I cannot recall. Extremely Poor communication for all airline staff. When challenged, staff responded rudely, no food or water/ there was a mini riot at the airport. No hotel accommodation or even consideration – for babies, elderly and sick. The snowstorm was bad, their reaction was dismal. I spoke to workers who had been trapped at the airport for 36 hours. They were constantly behind the 8th ball. To cap it all off – they lost luggage. I consider myself lucky to have made it out after 72 hours. To date only terminal A out of the 6 is open to flights. Very dissapointing show from the worlds largest airline in the world’s almost largest airport. Very dissapointing from an airport that has so much to offer
Given the amount of snow, there was little anyone could do. Perhaps before suggesting staff were rude you should consider how many people they were dealing with asking for things that due to the weather simply could not be achieved.
Oh, and could you learn to spell please?
My husband’s Business flights were cancceled for tomorrow from Kuwait City to Istanbul to San Franciscco and he will now be flying Emirates economy though Dubai. I feel bad for a 76-year-old with severe back problems not able to fly Business because Emirates wanted aboout 5K for the one-way flights. The flight from Dubai to SF is over 16 hours.
When is the earliest date Turkish could accommodate him?
Went through this. Staff were totally unprepared, no communication what so ever on turkish airs part.
Not once was I told that you need to show your ticket to get food and drink from the food court, just found out on accident.
Spent $70 on calls just to try and change a ticket. Got sent around the whole airport looking for a blanket.
I honestly won’t ever visit turkey again after this debacle.
Clear weather but still canceling all flights due to “extreme weather”.
Thanks for your review.
As a heads up for future passengers who may find themselves in a similar situation, where did you eventually find obtain the blanket from?
My wife’s domestic flight was cancelled as the TK flight could not leave Istanbul. My wife had a flight from Denizli to Istanbul, then a connecting flight with Singapore Airlines to Sydney. Unfortunately all lost. I have emailed TK airlines and Singapore airlines but unfortunately still no reply. Meantime my wife is still stuck in Denizli.
My flight was also cancelled I was to travel on the 26th from Nigeria to Istanbul and then to London. I was told I can request a refund which I already did. I sent a mail to them I hope they respond soon. I am already in the UK I arrived 2days ago. I had to buy another ticket from Qatar airways.