The route is a commonly used budget route between India and the UK, with cheaper tickets as a result of the indirect route via Turkmenistan.
The UK government on Monday announced that the European Union (EU) has suspended Turkmenistan Airlines flights over safety concerns, affecting budget flights that operate from India. The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advisory notes that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has ordered the airline’s suspension, which means flights from Amritsar to Birmingham and London’s Heathrow Airport, and New Delhi to Heathrow Airport, which fly via Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat, will not be able to land in the UK.
“The European Aviation Safety Agency has suspended Turkmenistan Airlines flights to and from the EU pending confirmation that it meets international air safety standards,” the FCO advisory notes. “This means Turkmenistan Airlines flights from Amritsar to Birmingham and Heathrow, and New Delhi to Heathrow, which fly via Ashgabat, do not have permission to continue their route from Ashgabat to Birmingham and Heathrow; affected passengers are advised to contact Turkmenistan Airlines for advice,” the FCO said.
The route is a commonly used budget route between India and the UK, with cheaper tickets as a result of the indirect route via Turkmenistan. The airline operates five flights a week from Birmingham to Ashgabat and a weekly departure from Heathrow Airport, with a majority of the passengers connecting to services to India. It is an especially popular route with the British Punjabi population, flying to Amritsar.
Turkmenistan, a former Soviet Union country, had set up its flagship airline in 1992. Its other flights to be affected by the EU suspension include those connecting Ashgabat with Germany and France. The UK remains an EU member-country until the Brexit deadline next month and therefore all EU rules continue to apply in Britain.