Belgium welcomes ‘banned’ Turkish airline
17 May 2005 BRUSSELS – Charleroi and Brussels National airports are welcoming extra flights from a Turkish airline that has been temporarily banned in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and France.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Turkey’s budget airline, Onur Air, had redirected some of its flights to Belgian airports, using coaches to then ferry passengers home to the Netherlands, Germany and France.
On Friday the company approached Charleroi and Brussels for permission to land after around 40,000 passengers were left stranded after temporary bans from some European countries.
“After checking all the documents and authorisations necessary for this operation, we’ve given it the green light,” Charleroi’s spokesman Pierre Fernemont told the public radio and TV station RTL.
He insisted that the airport wasn’t acting opportunistically.
He said Charleroi had checked with the aeronautical authorities that Onur met the safety requirements and had no objective reason to deny it landing rights.
“Onur Air is a company honourably known on the charter market,” he added.
Onur’s spokesman Rauf Gerz said the flights to Belgium “could last until the authorities from the different countries concerned find a solution.”
The airline’s vice-president Shabettin Bolukcu told Reuters: “The security reasons cited are unjustified. We would never allow any plane that had the slightest fault to fly.”
Onur has threatened legal action against Germany and the Netherlands if they don’t justify their decision to ban the airline for a month.
On Sunday, the German newspaper ‘Bild am Sonntag’ stated the Dutch civil aviation service considered Onur had planes with “defective reactors and used tyres”.
Turkish, Dutch and German civil aviation authorities were due on Monday to meet to discuss the ban.
Belgium’s Mobility Minister Renaat Landuyt told the news agency Belga that extra checks were being carried out on Onur flights landing in Belgium.
He added that Onur was probably also taking extra safety measures, knowing that it was under the spotlight.
“We are adopting the strictest possible attitude,” said Landuyt.
“We have been checking everything and so far we haven’t found anything to justify a general ban on Onur Air.”
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news