Passengers of Indian airline stranded for 2nd day

By Shuriah Niazi

NEW DELHI (AA) – Hundreds of passengers of India’s state-owned carrier Air-India had to suffer for the second day after a five-hour server shutdown on Saturday.

According to a statement issued by the airline, 137 flights will be running late on Sunday. The average delay in flights would be around 197 minutes, it added.

The delay was caused by a technical glitch in a software which takes care of check-in, baggage and reservations.

Iraq conducts 1st flight with coalition at Syria border

            By Ibrahim Salih and Ali Muhammed</p>  <p>BAGHDAD (AA) – Iraqi F-16 fighter jets conducted their first flight alongside the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh above the Iraqi-Syrian border, the Iraqi Air Force said early Saturday.</p>  <p>The statement said the flight was part of a defensive mission.</p>  <p>It added that it was aimed at increasing the capabilities of the Iraqi Air Force.</p>  <p>Gen. Brook Leonard, the coalition's director of air operations, was quoted in the statement as saying that the Iraqi Air Force was continuing to build up its capabilities.</p>  <p>He said advisors from the coalition are working with their Iraqi counterparts to coordinate operations against the Daesh terrorist organization.</p>  <p>The Iraqi government announced in December 2017 that its war against Daesh was over and the territories it controlled had been seized.</p>  <p>*Writing by Fatih Hafiz Mehmet</p>  <p> 

AnadoluJet flights to Erbil to foster ties with Iraq

By Zuhal Kocalar

GAZIANTEP, Turkey (AA) – Flights from Turkey's southeastern province of Gaziantep to Erbil, northern Iraq will boost economic ties between the two nations, the governor said Wednesday.

“Flights will increase our trade with Iraq and contribute to Gaziantep in terms of health tourism and eliminate delays in border gates and roads,” said Davut Gul in a statement.

Gul also noted that AnadoluJet — a subsidiary of flag carrier Turkish Airlines – flights to Erbil will start on Thursday providing faster transportation for business people and tourists.

For the launch period, flights between Gaziantep and Erbil will run thrice a week — on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

AnadoluJet operates on 69 routes in 41 airports with a fleet of 36 aircraft.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

Turkish Airlines resumes flights to Iraq’s Sulaymaniyah

                By Haydar Karaalp</p>    <p>BAGHDAD (AA) - Turkey's national flag carrier Turkish Airlines resumed its flights to the Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah after the lifting of the ban that was imposed in Sept. 2017.</p>    <p>Ali Khalil Ibrahim, an Iraqi civil aviation authority chief, said in a statement on Saturday that Turkish Airlines operated its first flight to the Sulaymaniyah International Airport from Istanbul.</p>    <p>Ibrahim stated that Iraqi Airways will hold flights from Sulaymaniyah to Istanbul in upcoming days.</p>    <p>On Sept. 29, 2017, Iraq’s central government had imposed a ban on all international flights to and from the Kurdish region.</p>    <p>The ban against Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports had come in response to the Sept. 25, 2017 illegitimate referendum on Kurdish regional independence.</p>    <p>On Wednesday, Turkey’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan said that the ban on flights to Sulaymaniyah would be lifted on Friday.

Turkish Airlines to double Istanbul Airport flights

             By Gokhan Ergocun</p>    <p>ISTANBUL (AA) - The national flag carrier Turkish Airlines will double its number of flights from Istanbul Airport soon, the CEO of the airline said on Thursday.</p>  <p>&quot;We continue to grow in our new home Istanbul Airport, where we served over 66,000 passengers so far,&quot; Bilal Eksi tweeted.</p>    <p>He said that the carrier would add new domestic and international flights from Istanbul Airport to its schedule.</p>    <p>Eksi also stated that Istanbul Airport is a source of pride.</p>    <p>Istanbul Airport, of which first phase was opened on Oct., 29, has a capacity of 90 million passengers annually.</p>    <p>This capacity will raise around 150-200 million passengers by completing its second phase till 2028.

Saudi launches first direct flight to Erbil

By Aref Youssef

Erbil (AA) – Saudi Arabia on Monday launched its first direct flights from Jeddah to the city of Erbil in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region.

Director of the Saudi Civil Aviation Authority Saleh bin Nasser was aboard the flight and was welcomed by a host of Kurdish regional officials, including interior minister Karim Sinjari and tourism minister Nawrouz Mouloud.

“Three flights will be launched weekly between Erbil and Saudi Arabia,” Talal Faiq, the director of the Erbil International Airport, told a press conference.

She said the flights will help bolster trade relations between the Kurdish region and the oil-rich kingdom and facilitate the movement of pilgrims to and from the holy sites in Saudi Arabia.

Erbil is the second destination in Iraq for Saudi flights after Baghdad.

Albania’s national airline makes maiden flight

By Fatjon Cuka and Dzihat Aliju

TIRANA (AA) – Albania’s first national airline company — a joint venture with Turkey’s flag carrier Turkish Airlines — launched its first flight from Tirana's Mother Teresa International Airport to Istanbul on Saturday.

Air Albania — which made its test flight from Istanbul to Tirana on Friday — returned to Istanbul carrying 80 Albanian students on board.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Turkey’s ambassador in Tirana Murat Ahmet Yoruk and Albanian ministers as well as officials from Turkish Airlines participated in a ceremony on Friday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Rama said: "It is a symbolic flight. There will be similar flights throughout the month."

On Wednesday, Turkish Airlines announced the establishment of the joint venture company.

In a statement sent to Turkey's Public Disclosure Platform (PDP), an electronic system through which electronically signed notifications required by capital markets and Borsa Istanbul regulations are publicly disclosed, Turkish Airlines said the new company will operate in the field of passenger and cargo transportation.

"The aforementioned company will be established with capital of up to $30 million," it said.

The flag carrier said stakes of 49 percent, 41 percent and 10 percent are being held respectively by Turkish Airlines, MDN Investment SHPK and Albcontrol, which manages Albania's airspace and air traffic, representing the government of Albania.

In first, India-Israel flight traverses Saudi airspace

By Said Amouri

JERUSALEM (AA) – Setting a precedent, an Indian Airways passenger plane touched down at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport late Thursday after traversing Saudi airspace.

According to Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, the flight set out from New Delhi at 12:30 GMT and landed at Ben-Gurion at 18:30 GMT.

India’s national carrier is now reportedly offering three direct flights a week between New Delhi and Tel Aviv, effectively ending a decades-long Saudi ban on the use of its airspace for Israel-bound flights.

Like most other Arab states, Saudi Arabia does not recognize Israel, meaning the two countries do not maintain formal relations.

Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz welcomed the breakthrough.

“The first direct flight to Israel through Saudi airspace reflects the positive change that is gradually taking place in the region,” Katz tweeted Friday morning.

“I hope that Israeli airlines like El Al [Israel’s flagship carrier] will be allowed to use this route in the future,” Katz said.

The Saudi government, for its part, has not officially commented on the development.

On more than one occasion, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that Israel’s relations with the Arab world are now better than ever.

The new air route between Israel and India was announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a visit to Israel last summer.

And during a January visit to India, Netanyahu asserted that the new air route over Saudi territory would drastically reduce flight time.

Ryanair breaks into Turkish market

Bu Gokhan Kurtaran

LONDON (AA) – Ryanair launches its first flights to Turkey starting June, the company announced on Thursday.

The Irish low-cost carrier will start direct flights from Dublin, in Ireland, and Bratislava, in Slovakia, to Dalaman in southwestern Turkey starting June, according to a company statement.

“Ryanair is pleased to announce our entry into the Turkish market, initially with two routes to Dalaman from Dublin and Bratislava commencing in June. Both routes will operate once a week as part of our Summer 2018 schedule.” Ryanair’s Chief Commercial Officer David O’Brien said.

US: Busiest airport to resume flights after blackout

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – Flights are expected to resume Monday at the world’s busiest airport after a crippling power outage halted all operations for 11 hours.

Power was restored at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport late Sunday and security checkpoints re-opened at 3:30 a.m. (0830GMT).

Atlanta is a major transit hub, and more than 1,000 flights were canceled in and out of the airport Sunday, stranding thousands of passengers. Delta Air Lines, which has its largest hub in Atlanta, canceled 300 flights Monday as it seeks to rebook passengers. Most of the flights were inbound for Atlanta on Monday morning.

The airline said it plans to resume its normal flight schedule by Monday afternoon.

More than 400 flights are expected to be canceled Monday.

The blackout was caused by a fire in an underground electrical facility, according to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. The fire also knocked out a backup power system for the airport that was meant to stand in for the primary system.

The fire was so intense that service crews were forced to wait before fixing the issue, according to Reed said authorities have no reason to believe the fire was intentionally created but an investigation is underway.

After earlier declaring a full ground stop, the Federal Aviation Administration the airport's air traffic control facilities are "fully operational & staffed.

"We began departure prioritization there to help accelerate recovery," the agecny added.

But fog in the area may lead to air traffic delays, it said.