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Published on : Saturday, July 16, 2016
All flights en route Turkey and the flights departing from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport has been cancelled, following the military coup attempt on Friday, pitting Turkey’s military against supporters of President Tayyip Erdogan.
Witnesses heard a loud explosion at Ataturk Airport. Military trucks have been parked in front of the airport while scores of people gathered in Istanbul and capital city Ankara to show their support for the elected government.
Government officials insisted that a small group within the military was behind the attempted coup, while the army officials claimed to have seized power.
All flights arriving at Ataturk Airport were being diverted, reported the European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol. Flight tracking website FlightAware.com so far listed 138 cancelled departures for Friday and Saturday.
A British Airways flight to Istanbul on Friday night diverted to Sofia, Bulgaria, and a Lufthansa flight to Istanbul returned to its origin in Frankfurt, company spokeswomen reported.
International travel to Turkey has weighed down following the suicide attack at Ataturk Airport which killed 25 people. As of July 2, international flight bookings to Istanbul for trips in the second half of the year were down 36 percent from a year ago, travel data analysis company ForwardKeys said on its website. Arrivals from the Americas and Asia-Pacific were down 45 percent, according to ForwardKeys. In the past six months, bombings in Istanbul led to progressively sharper declines in bookings, it said.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said all U.S.-bound flights from Istanbul that were in the air prior to the airport’s closing would be allowed to land in the United States as planned.
Officials of United States, United Kingdom and Mexico has requested its citizens and tourists to seek shelter, till the situation is under control.