Support independent journalism in Central & Eastern Europe.
Donate to TOL!

× Learn more
No, thanks Photo: Abbas Atilay
back  |  printBookmark and Share

Turkmenistan Airlines Barred From EU Over Safety Concerns

The carrier is the second state-owned Central Asian airline facing a big financial hit this year. 5 February 2019

Thousands of passengers were left stranded as Turkmenistan Airlines stopped flights to the European Union yesterday.


The European Aviation Safety Agency suspended the airline's flights to and from the EU yesterday "pending confirmation that it meets international air safety standards."


The state-owned carrier is popular with British and Indian flyers for its low-priced flights linking the two countries. The UK Civil Aviation Authority said flights from Birmingham and London Heathrow to India via Ashgabat had been suspended, the BBC reports.


As many as 5,000 British passengers were in India with bookings to fly home on the airline, the Independent said yesterday.


The CAA said stranded passengers might have to make their own arrangements to return to the UK.


A plane from the Turkmenistan Airlines fleet. Image via Simon butler/Wikimedia Commons.


Turkmenistan Airlines also flies from Frankfurt and Paris.


The airline is the second Central Asia flagship carrier to hit turbulent air in the new year.


Tajikistan’s state-owned Tajik Air was forced to suspend all flights last month until at least March because of its inability to pay its fuel supplier.


The Tajik news agency Asia-Plus traced the airline’s difficulties to high fuel prices and the unstable economic situation.



  • Turkmenistan Airlines is a bigger operation than Tajik Air. According to, its fleet numbers 19 aircraft, chiefly Boeing 737s and 757s, and it handles around 2 million passengers annually.


  • The airline operates five flights a week from Birmingham to Ashgabat and one from Heathrow Airport, with a majority of the passengers connecting to services to India, the Economic Times writes.


  • There is a glimmer of light in the offing for Turkmenistan’s stuttering economy, writes. Exports – primarily gas – to its foremost trade partner, China, rose last year to $8.1 billion, almost 25 percent higher than in 2017. Chinese demand for gas is expected to remain high.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

back  |  printBookmark and Share


Transitions magazine = Your one-stop source for news, research and analysis on the post-communist region.


Sign up for the free TOL newsletter!


Moldovan diaries

The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.

This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes. 

It is a unique and intimate map of the nation.


© Transitions Online 2019. All rights reserved. ISSN 1214-1615
Published by Transitions o.s., Baranova 33, 130 00 Prague 3, Czech Republic.