Turkish Airlines plans to resume limited flights in June: draft

FILE PHOTO: A Turkish Airlines (THY) Boeing 777-800 plane is pictured at Hatay Airport in Hatay, Turkey, March 1, 2020. Picture taken March, 1, 2020. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Airlines plans a gradual resumption of flights from June and will take four months to return to near full operation, a draft plan seen by Reuters showed, as the economy reopens following a slowdown in coronavirus cases.

The flag carrier, which flew to 126 countries before the coronavirus outbreak, was forced to shut down all international passenger flights, will fly to just 19 countries next month, the April-dated plan proposed.

It plans to gradually build up the number of destinations to 99 countries in September, according to the plan, which the company told Reuters may be subject to change in line with developments.

Turkish Airlines, which carried more than 74 million passengers last year, has suspended passenger flights until May 28 after borders were shut down to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It plans to resume 60% of domestic flights in June, according to the draft plan. Turkish Airlines shares THYAO.IS were up 0.38% at 0919 GMT.

Ankara has launched efforts to gradually revive the economy from late May after the spread of the virus slowed over the past two weeks. Turkey has about 130,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, the highest total outside Western Europe, the United States and Russia.

Reporting by Ceyda Caglayan and Can Sezer; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun, Editing by Dominic Evans