Turkmenistan Airlines is the national carrier of Turkmenistan. Based in Ashgabat, it has a small fleet of 16 aircraft, including Boeing 737s, Boeing 757s and 3 Boeing 777s as well as some Boeing 717s(!!).
Turkmenistan Airlines flies to 23 destinations in Asia, Middle-East and Europe. They have one weekly flight on the Amritsar-Ashgabat route and three weekly flights on the Delhi-Ashgabat route. These flights are very cheaply priced, and these are used as sort of low-cost connections to Birmingham, London and Paris amongst other centres.
Yesterday, the European Aviation Safety Agency suspended Turkmenistan Airlines safety license, on the suspicion that Turkmenistan Airlines is not meeting international air safety standards. This means that this airline can’t perform flights in the EU anymore. UK’s Civil Aviation Authority also followed up with EASA notice and suspended Turkmenistan Airlines flights to the UK.
This move has stranded thousands of passengers overnight, including Indian passengers who travel to London and Birmingham from Delhi and Amritsar via Ashgabat. This airline has a relatively young fleet of 6-year-old Boeing 737s and Boeing 777s. The 757s are 20 years old.
This suspension has a huge-scale impact. They used to offer four European destinations earlier: London, Birmingham, Frankfurt and Paris. Following the suspension, Ashgabat remains the only destination for passengers from Delhi, Amritsar and Beijing. They also have limited connections for other destinations as well like, Bangkok.
While I couldn’t find anything on Turkmenistan Airlines website, there is an advisory from the CAA for affected passengers. You can look to get a chargeback from your card issuer if booked on a credit card.
This looks like one huge mess. A small, exotic airline going out of operations in Europe overnight is affecting people around Asia. Aviation is indeed a global business.