UPDATE – Germany bans Boeing 737 MAX airplanes from airspace

            CHANGES LEDE, ADDS BANS FROM MORE COUNTRIES</p>  <p>By Ayhan Simsek </p>  <p>BERLIN (AA) - Germany said Tuesday it has banned Boeing 737 MAX planes from its airspace following a weekend plane crash in Ethiopia that killed everyone on board.</p>  <p>Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer told local n-tv television the ban was effective immediately. </p>  <p>“Security comes first. I have ordered the closure of German air space immediately to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, and this will be effective until all doubts are cleared,” he said. </p>  <p>France also joined the growing number of countries banning Boeing 737 MAX airplanes. </p>  <p>&quot;Given the circumstances of the accident in Ethiopia, the French authorities have taken the decision, as a precautionary measure, to ban all commercial flights of Boeing 737 MAXs into, out of, or over French territory,&quot; the French civil aviation authority DGAC said in a statement. </p>  <p>The Netherlands also closed its airspace to the Boeing 737 MAX, said Infrastructure Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen. </p>  <p>Austrian Transport Minister Norbert Hofer also said security is the top priority in aviation and they have grounded Boeing 737 MAX from Austria’s airspace for the safety of passengers and aircraft. </p>  <p>The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has also suspended all flight operations of Boeing 737-8 MAX and 737-9 MAX planes from European airspace. </p>  <p>&quot;EASA has published a Safety Directive, effective as of 19:00 UTC, suspending all commercial flights performed by third-country operators into, within or out of the EU of the above-mentioned models,&quot; it said in a statement. </p>  <p>On Sunday, a Kenya-bound Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed just six minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. </p>  <p>All 157 people on board – 149 passengers and eight crew members – representing 35 countries were killed in the crash. </p>  <p>It was the second deadly crash involving a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in less than five months. In October, Lion Air flight JT610 crashed outside of Jakarta, Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board.

Turkish airports serve 26.8M passengers in 2 months

             By Gokhan Ergocun</p>  <p>ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey saw 26.8 million air passengers in the first two months of 2019, according to state airport officials. </p>  <p>The number of passengers dropped 3.7 percent in January-February versus the same period in 2018, according to the General Directorate of State Airports Authority (DHMI).</p>  <p>In the first two months, international passengers made up 39.6 percent (10.6 million) of total passengers.</p>  <p>Among 56 airports nationwide, Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, on the European side of the city, was the most active, with 9.8 million passengers.</p>  <p>Serving 5.23 million passengers, Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the city's Anatolian side was the second-busiest airport in Turkey over the last two months.</p>  <p>In the same period, other active airports were the ones in the capital Ankara (2.3 million), the Aegean province of Izmir (1.8 million), and the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya (1.7 million).</p>  <p>Official figures also showed that Istanbul Airport, whose first phase officially opened on Oct. 29, welcomed nearly over 202,000 passengers over the first two months of 2019.</p>  <p>At a full annual capacity of 200 million passengers -- with the completion of all four phases with six runways by 2028 -- Istanbul Airport is set to become a global aviation hub hosting more than 100 airlines and flights to over 300 destinations around the world.</p>  <p>While the country's airports hosted nearly 202,000 planes, Turkish airspace was used by 272,667 planes -- including overflights -- in the same period.</p>  <p>Turkish airports also served over 523,000 tons of air cargo -- baggage, cargo and mail -- in the two-month period, up 4.9 percent from the same period in 2018.</p>  <p>Last year, Turkish airports hosted some 210 million passengers, while the number of planes using Turkish airspace was over 2 million, including overflights.

UPDATE – Bangladesh foils suspected attempt to hijack plane

                                  UPDATES WITH SUSPECTED HIJACKER KILLED, MORE DETAILS; EDITS THROUGHOUT</p>    <p>By Md. Kamruzzaman</p>    <p>DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - A suspected plane hijacker was killed in an operation by Bangladesh army in southern port city of Chattogram on Sunday, a military official said.</p>    <p>“The hijacker has been wounded during our commando operation and within short time he died,” Rashidul Alam Khan, assistant director of Bangladeshi army’s media wing, told Anadolu Agency</p>    <p>Khan said the hijacker was trying to take control of the Dubai-bound plane of Biman Bangladesh Airlines in the sky but failed as the flight crews and pilot somehow kept him engaged and able to ensure emergency landing.</p>    <p>“After safely landing all passengers were evacuated from the aircraft very tactfully,” he said, adding that army commandos had to exchange fire with the suspect as he declined to surrender.</p>    <p>The hijacker has been identified as Mahadi, 20, local daily Dhaka Tribune quoted army officer Maj. Gen. SM Matiur Rahman as saying.</p>    <p>The Dubai-bound plane had flown from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport of capital Dhaka at 3.20 p.m. local time (0920GMT) on Sunday.</p>        <p>The pilot of the plane made emergency landing in Chattogram as a cabin crew member raised alarm after finding the behavior of a passenger suspicious, local Daily Star quoted Civil Aviation Secretary Mohibul Haque as saying.

Bangladesh foils suspected attempt to hijack plane

                By Md. Kamruzzaman  </p>    <p>DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - Bangladeshi police on Sunday thwarted a suspected attempt to hijack a Dubai-bound plane of Biman Bangladesh Airlines in southern port city of Chattogram, local administration said.</p>    <p>“We have succeeded to land the plane safely and we have detained a suspected hijacker and all passengers were evacuated from the aircraft,” Md. Ilias Hossain, the district commissioner, told Anadolu Agency.</p>    <p>“We will interrogate him and try to dig out his real motive. But it’s too early to say anything specific,” Hossain added.</p>    <p>The pilot of the plane made emergency landing as a cabin crew member raised alarm after finding the behavior of a passenger suspicious, local Daily Star quoted Civil Aviation Secretary Mohibul Haque as saying. </p>  <p>According to the local media, the Dubai-bound plane had flown from Shahjalal International Airport of capital Dhaka at 3.20 p.m. local time (0920GMT) on Sunday.

5 die as plane crashes in Kenya

By Andrew Wasike
NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – A light plane crash claimed fives lives Wednesday in the west of Kenya’s Rift Valley, southeastern Africa, police confirmed.
All the passengers on board died when the plane crashed in the Kericho country, Rodgers Mbithi, National Police Air Wing Commander, said.
The plane was carrying the passengers, one Kenyan, four foreigners, from Mara region in the Rift Valley to Lodwar town in Turkana, a northwesternmost county in Kenya.
Mbithi said the nationalities of the victims, three men and two women, are yet to be identified.
The cause of the crash is still unknown.
The plane belonged Safarilink Aviation, a local safari airline in Kenya.

Body recovered from wreckage of footballer Sala's plane

            By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal and Hasan Esen</p>  <p>LONDON (AA) – A body has been recovered from the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the English Channel last month while carrying Argentinian footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot, British investigators said Wednesday.</p>  <p>The aircraft was discovered on the seabed of the English Channel on Sunday, but efforts to remove the body had been hindered by tidal conditions. </p>  <p>In a statement, the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said that “in challenging conditions”, the AAIB and its specialist contractors had successfully recovered the body, which had been seen amid the wreckage. </p>  <p>The AAIB said the operation was carried out in “as dignified a way as possible” and the families were kept informed of the progress.</p>  <p>&quot;The body is currently being taken to Portland to be passed into the care of the Dorset Coroner,” it said. </p>  <p>The statement did say whether the body was that of Sala or pilot David Ibbotson, who were the only ones onboard the aircraft. </p>  <p>&quot;Unfortunately, attempts to recover the aircraft wreckage were unsuccessful before poor weather conditions forced us to return the ROV to the ship,” it added, referring to a remotely operated vehicle.</p>  <p>Sala was on his way to join his new club, Cardiff City FC, after signing a £15 million ($19.5 million) contract.</p>  <p>The airplane was en route to Cardiff from Nantes, France before it disappeared from radar on Jan. 21 near the Channel Islands.

Netherlands: Huge plane to be placed at hotel garden

             By Abdullah Asiran</p>    <p>BADHOEVEDORP, Netherlands (AA) - A huge plane will be placed at the garden of a hotel in the Netherlands, which is the largest hotel of Benelux countries.</p>    <p>The hotel is owned by a Turkish businessman Atilay Uslu and the transfer of the plane, Boeing 747, has started, as observed by Anadolu Agency correspondent on the ground.</p>    <p>Boeing 747 is one of the largest planes of the world, weighing 170 tons.</p>    <p>The plane is being transferred from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the relocation started on late Tuesday.</p>    <p>Transfer process will be completed on late Saturday, when the plane will be put at the garden of the hotel in Badhoevedorp village of Haarlemmermeer municipality.</p>    <p>In order to allow the transfer of the plane, A9 motorway will be closed to traffic on late Friday and the lampposts and barriers on it will be removed.</p>    <p>The media has already shown great interest in the relocation of the plane.</p>    <p>Before the transfer process started, Uslu told reporters that the plane will be a &quot;nice detail&quot; at the garden of his hotel.</p>    <p>Operational since last year, the hotel is located on an area of 35,000 square meters (3,251 square feet) and has 680 rooms.

Istanbul Airport to become megahub of aviation sector

By Gokhan Ergocun

ISTANBUL (AA) – The new Istanbul Airport will be a megahub in the world and locomotive for the Turkish aviation sector, said Ilker Ayci, chairman of the board of directors of Turkish Airlines.

"Turkey will become one of the important centers of the commercial aviation sector in the world," he told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

The first phase of the airport opened on Oct. 29 and commercial flights started early November.

The airport has the potential to welcome 90 million passengers annually and following the second phase of construction, expected to be completed in 2023, this number will rise to around 200 million.

The airport can serve for 60 airways in the first phase, and 150 airways in the second phase, Ayci said.

"Turkey which is 17th in the world with regards to the number of passengers will be 9th by 2032," he added.

He said the fleet of planes the country owns is expected to reach 700 with the contribution of the new airport.

The flag carrier carried over 36,000 passengers through its three domestic and two international flights via Istanbul Airport during the last month, he noted.

Turkish Airlines will soon start to operate all flights via Istanbul Airport, he said.

"The airport will not contribute to only passenger transportation, but also make Istanbul the biggest cargo city in the world."

The airport has 2.5 million tons of cargo capacity annually and it will reach 5.5 million tons when all phases are completed, he added.

Ayci said the facility will add 73 billion liras (nearly $14 billion) — 4.9 percent of the GDP — to the Turkish economy.

The airport employs 36,000 people currently, 120,000 people will work in the coming months, and 225,000 people will work when all phases are completed. It will provide employment to 1.5 million people indirectly.

The airport would take flight to 350 destinations worldwide including Africa.

Turkish Airlines will provide added services to its passengers such as Business Class and Exclusive Lounge.

The flag carrier will make its subsidiary Turkish Cargo one of the five best cargo companies in the world, he said.

Turkish Airlines, founded in 1933, flies to over 300 destinations in more than 120 countries with its nearly 330 aircraft.

Last year, the airline carried 68.6 million passengers with a 79.1 percent seat occupancy rate.