Turkmenistan Airlines is one you may not be familiar with, although they do have a fleet of 34 aircraft (including two Boeing 777-200s).
They don’t currently fly to the US, although they do serve a few destinations in Europe, including Paris, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Birmingham and London Heathrow, from their hub in Ashgabat.
I love plane spotting at Heathrow and have caught some rarer sights, like Air Serbia, Air New Zealand, Air Astana and Gulf Air, although I don’t think I’ve ever actually spotted Turkmenistan Airlines planes at Heathrow.
It seems while they have a five weekly service to Birmingham, they only have a once weekly flight to Heathrow — I’m amazed they can maintain a route with only a weekly frequency.
Ben wrote about his fascination with this airline, and their very unusual booking process a few years back.
On Sunday the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended Turkmenistan flights to and from the EU ‘pending confirmation that it meets international air safety standard.’
This means that with immediate effect, all flights by the airline to and from Europe are suspended. This means those passengers travelling from Europe to Turkmenistan (and beyond) on the airline are required to find alternate transport, and that those passengers due to return back to Europe on the airline must do the same.
The airline is a popular, low cost way to travel between Europe and India (especially Amritsar) and several thousands passengers are reportedly stranded ‘down route’ unable to get home.
Affected passengers should contact the airline for either a refund or a request to reroute, and they may also be entitled to compensation under EU261 regulations per the guide here.
If the airline refuses (and remember they will be dealing with thousands of passengers contacting them to do this) — where passengers have paid using a credit card they may be able to request a charge back from their card issuer, or claim under their travel insurance.
I’d love to know if any readers have ever flown Turkmenistan Airlines as it’s certainly a lesser known airline, even in Europe.
If nothing else this should be a good reminder to everyone of the importance of ensuring you have travel insurance in place before booking flights on airlines like these!
Have you flown Turkmenistan Airlines?
(Featured image via Ken H / @chippyho)