Turkey-Syria earthquake: Will flights and travel be affected?

 Tuesday, February 7, 2023 


A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 hit Southeast Turkey on Monday morning; its effects were felt in many neighbouring countries as well.

By Monday evening, at least 1,400 people had died, and thousands were rushed to hospitals for treatment with injuries.

The death toll from the earthquakes in southern Turkey and Syria has risen above 4000, while around 5,400 people have suffered injuries. This has been the worst disaster to hit the country since 1939.

In Syria, state media and rescuers said close to 600 people were killed due to the collapse of buildings.

There have been strong aftershocks following the earthquake early on Monday, which was felt across Turkey as well as in Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Egypt.

Flight updates?

UAE airlines on Monday said flights to Turkey were not affected after the devastating earthquake which killed over 4,000 people in Turkey and Syria. Local airlines, however, don’t operate flights to Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Anadolu Jet on Monday offered travellers the option to change or return their tickets, for free. This is made applicable between February 6, 2023, and February 21, 2023, for the earthquake zone and the surrounding provinces.

However, travellers can make their ticket changes and avail refunds through the Turkish Airlines website and mobile application until March 31, 2023.

Flydubai flights to Ankara and Istanbul on February 6 are operating to schedule. They continue to monitor the situation closely and our thoughts are with those affected, a flydubai spokesperson said in a statement in a newspaper.

Emirates airline also confirmed that Dubai’s flagship carrier’s flights to Turkey were not impacted due to the earthquake.

No flights or package trips from the UK to Turkey have been cancelled.

Airports in the south-east of Turkey have closed, including Adana Sakirpasa Airport in the southern province of Adana, Hatay Airport in Hatay Province and Gaziantep Oğuzeli Airport in Gaziantep.

Travel and tourism updates

The earthquakes and aftershocks have not affected tourist areas that are popular among British holidaymakers.

Turkey is one of the most popular tourist destinations for UAE residents, as thousands of people fly to the European country for short and long holidays.

The ancient historic site of Gaziantep Castle (circa 656 AD), has also been badly damaged by the shock.

There may be some who are travelling for a city break in Istanbul, a trip down to Cappadocia or possibly a winter sun trip to the coastline near Antalya.

These are over 500 miles away from the epicentre in Gaziantep and have so far not reported any widespread damage.

Holidaymakers who are concerned about trips to Turkey should speak to their travel agent, tour operator or airline, especially if travelling imminently.

Unless travelling to Gaziantep or Adana, it’s unlikely either will offer additional flexibility, unless there is specific threat of aftershocks elsewhere and/or the FCDO advice changes.

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