Last updated: 11:30, Saturday, July 16
Flights in and out of Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport were reported to have resumed on Saturday morning following a failed coup attempt, although services will be subject to cancellations and delays.
Almost 200 people were reported dead following fighting in Istanbul and Ankara in what the UK Foreign Office (FCO) described as “large scale military action”.
The FCO reported this morning: “The situation now appears quieter in Istanbul and the bridges across the Bosphorus are re-opening. Some flights are being diverted or cancelled.”
It urged UK visitors to “stay indoors, avoid public places and remain vigilant” and suggested those at airports in Turkey “follow the advice of the authorities and contact your airline or tour operator”.
People due to travel to Turkey over the next few days are advised to closely monitor FCO travel advice and check with their airline or tour operator before travelling.
Abta issued a statement recommending people follow FCO advice “and any advice or instructions issued by their travel provider or airline”.
However, the association noted: “There has been no change to FCO advice regarding travel to Turkey and holiday programmes to resort areas continue to operate.
“The vast majority of British travellers to Turkey will fly directly to the beach resorts on Turkey’s south coast which are hundred of miles away from Istanbul and the capital Ankara.”
Abta estimates there are currently 50,000 people on holiday with its members in Turkey and said: “There is no indication that guests in the coastal resorts are affected.”
Flights on their way to Istanbul over night were redirected to other airports following news that a military group had seized control and imposed martial law. Bridges were closed in Istanbul and there were reports of low-flying aircraft over the capital Ankara.
Turkish President Erdogan appeared on television urging people to take to the streets in defiance of the attempted takeover.
Fighting in Istanbul, Ankara and elsewhere saw 104 coup plotters killed and 1,563 arrested, with a further 90 deaths and 1,154 injuries reported by the BBC.
More than 2.5 million Brits visit Turkey each year but bookings this year have been hit by terrorist attacks in the country.
As the situation developed on Friday evening, there were unsubstantiated reports of a military presence at coastal destinations popular with tourists. Aegean Airlines issued a statement confirming it was cancelling flights from Greece to both Istanbul and Izmir on Saturday pending more information.
British Airways said flights to Turkey were being kept ‘under review’. Passengers due to travel to the country can rebook for a future date.
However, a statement from Turkish Airlines said operations at Istanbul Ataturk Airport had returned to normal and flights had resumed safely.
It advised passengers before embarking on their journey to “check our official communication channels for new information in order to avoid any inconvenience”
Details on the status of Turkish Airlines flights can be found on the airline’s website thy.com
Istanbul had already experienced a sharp drop in bookings prior to the attempted coup, according to a report from data analyst ForwardKeys which monitors airline bookings.
ForwardKeys data suggests bookings to Istanbul fell 69% in the week following the June 28 terrorist attack at the city’s Ataturk Airport .
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