Turkey’s AtlasGlobal declares bankruptcy

Turkish airline AtlasGlobal declared bankruptcy on Friday after a long period of financial difficulties.  

The budget carrier, owned by the brother of Turkey’s Tourism Minister Mehmet Ersoy, had been having cash flow issues caused by last year’s move to the new Istanbul Airport.

The Turkish Civil Aviation Authority (SHGM) announced the bankruptcy in a tweet, saying the airline had halted flights and could not continue its operations.

AtlasGlobal temporarily suspended all flights between Nov. 27 and Dec. 21 last year, followed by the announcement of a break in flights to Europe from January to March due to low seasonal demand.

The SHGM had issued the airline’s licence and was therefore responsible to compensate consumers, Aydın Ağaoğlu from the Consumer Appeals Centre told Turkish daily Sözcü in a statement. The SHGM “should not allow this airline company to leave behind thousands of affected people in its wake,” Ağaoğlu said.

The move from Atatürk Airport to the Istanbul Airport has put extra strain on Turkey’s airlines, combined with the continued depreciation in the Lira’s value since the currency crisis of 2018.

Turkish air firms called on the government in November to pressure the operator of Istanbul Airport to reduce charges.