The Ministry of Health, based on the authority given by the Communicable Diseases Law, decided to “limit the number of daily flights to six flights ‘excluding private planes’ as of 23 August”.
In accordance with the decision taken, Pegasus, which operates flights to North Cyprus, and Turkish Airlines (THY) were allocated three flights each.
The decisions was announced on 22 August and implemented on 23 August; In other words, airlines and passengers had only one day’s notice, putting both of them at an impasse and leaving them to deal with the problem.
Following the government decision to limit daily flights to the country after a spike in Covid-19 cases, Pegasus TRNC closed all its offices and displayed a notice in both Turkish and English on the doors.
The notice stated that with the instructions from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, all flights were canceled as of August 23, the flights were limited to three flights, and the service cannot be provided until new arrangements are approved and implemented.
Also in the notice in question, “In order to eliminate the unjust treatment of passengers; It was emphasised that passengers can apply to the Prime Ministry, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transport ”:
Meanwhile, Pegasus continues to make three trips a day in accordance with the decision, but is considering firing 80 employees because it cannot generate sufficient income.
Head of Pegasus North Cyprus, Zeki Ziya referred to governmental responsibility for the decision. Saying that the government did not consult with the airlines, they simply took a decision and gave one day’s notice. The airlines and passengers were victimised by the sudden decision and lack of proper notice.
For example, a new decision to identify negative PCR test certificates using a QR code was also suddenly implemented leading to only 27 passengers on a flight from Adana being permitted to leave the aircraft on arrival at Ercan because the remainder of the passengers’ certificates did not have the barcode required.
Stating that 80 people are working in his company and that he will have to dismiss all of his workers today or tomorrow, Ziya continued as follows:
“I have been insisting on not stopping the work since March. A chain of bankruptcies are imminent. I will talk to the Ministry of Labor about my decision to dismiss my employees. I have to fire everyone. We spent the month of March refunding tickets. We had no earnings until July. We were able to sell a limited number of tickets after July… “
Ziya concluded by saying:
“Let them say they have had a successful process if they want, they should be praised. ‘Success’ doesn’t even merit grade ‘B’. The economy is ruined, transmission [of Covid-19] could not be prevented. TRNC is ‘game over’ for me… I hope I am wrong. “