The US government has banned direct flights from Turkey to the US after a bloody coup attempt by members of the Turkish military. American travelers in the country now face limited options for getting home (although connecting flights that include a change of aircraft in other country might be a workaround).
The Federal Aviation Administration “prohibits an aircraft of any registry from departing Turkey for the US,” a spokeswoman for the agency told Quartz. The FAA has also issued a notice prohibiting US aircraft, both commercial and private, from landing in or departing from any Turkish airport.
It is unclear when the ban will be lifted, the spokeswoman said.
At least 265 people were killed in the wake of the overnight coup attempt Saturday (July 16), which Turkey’s government says has now been overcome, Reuters reported. Although all flights into and out of Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, the country’s largest, were suspended during the struggle, travel now appears to have resumed.
Turkish Airlines, in which Turkey’s government has a 49% stake (pdf), has since issued a statement saying it had resumed operations at Ataturk airport at 2:30pm local time. One direct connection with the US—from New York’s JFK airport to Istanbul—scheduled to depart shortly on Sunday (July 17) appeared cancelled on Turkish Airlines’ website, at time of writing. The airline says passengers can change or cancel their flights.
The situation threatens to further cripple Turkey’s ailing tourism industry, as well as test the ambitions of Turkish Airlines. Today’s unrest follows several terrorist attacks there, including suicide attacks at Ataturk airport in late June.
The US State Department has asked US citizens in Turkey to “shelter in place” and not to go to the US embassy or consulates.