There is confusion regarding the “planning of flights” before the wider reopening of North Cyprus’ external border on 1 July.
While airlines have prepared their own flight schedules, the TRNC authorities are now limiting the number of daily flights to avoid overcrowding of PCR testing facilities. However, they have not given clear instructions to the airline companies involved.
In a last minute about-face the cabinet decided that visitors from Turkey would be required to take a second PCR test at Ercan or at the port of their arrival and to remain in quarantine at their residence or accommodation until they receive notification of a negative result. This decision has led to the fear of overcrowding at the airport and overwhelming existing facilities.
Pegasus Airline Director Zeki Ziya stated that he had organized a total of 41 flights within the 7-day period from July 1 to July 7, however, the Ministry of Transport issued a written statement yesterday which said that the number of flights had been restricted to ‘once a day’.
It was announced on THY’s official website that it will organize a total of seven flights to North Cyprus between July 1-7.
Neither official sources nor relevant institutions have shared information on air transport traffic to Ercan.
Ziya said: “The Ministry informed us in writing yesterday that both Anatolian jet and Turkish Airlines can schedule one flight a day and Pegasus once a day. He stated that it can be organized once a day until 10 July”. He also reported that passengers could not take the plane without a PCR test.
“I have very serious grievances according to the number of trips I have taken before. We do not have clear information about what will happen, I have not met anyone yet,” he said.
According to a decision taken by the Council of Ministers on 11 June, three categories were determined for passengers coming to the country by sea, air and land. Among them was announced that passengers from Turkey would not need to quarantine but must bring a certificate of a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, showing a negative result. Following a spike of new infections in Turkey, there were protests from the medical community, unions and politicians who demanded mandatory 14 day quarantining for passengers from Turkey. The government compromised by saying that passengers would need to take a second test on arrival at Ercan airport.
In order to avoid chaos the authorities have decided to limit flights.
Pegasus Airlines organized 41 flights in total over a 7-day period from July 1 to July 7.
The number of daily flights of Turkish Airlines was published on the official website. Countries and their flights details are announced on the website. “Description; It is stated that there will be 4 flights a week to Ercan until the end of June, 7 flights a week as of July 1, 14 flights a week as of July 9, 21 flights a week as of July 20.”
Although there was no official statement, it was learned that THY’s Sabiha Gökçen Airport flights were cancelled.
T&T Ercan Airport General Manager M. Serhat Özçelik stated that they do not have a clear plan yet about Ercan Airport traffic, and that it will become clear on Monday.
Özçelik, stating that the calendar plans for flight are constantly changing, “There is a decision that planes will not arrive one after the other in order not to create crowding in the area. For us, this process is not clear now, but we have made our preparations.”
Stating that a separate area for PCR testing can be prepared at Ercan Airport, Özçelik said, “Intensive work such as social distance planning and sterilization work for passenger safety and other works were carried out.”
Turkish Airlines and Civil Aviation silent
Civil Aviation Department Manager Mustafa Sofi has avoided offering any explanation regarding the double PCR testing application at Ercan Airport and whether or not it was ready for intense activities in this context. He pointed to the Ministry of Transport to answer questions.
THY’ Ercan Manager Karamurat Atici let questions posed by Yeniduzen questions regarding the number of flights unanswered.
Stating that he did not want to make any statement on any issue, Atici said that information can be obtained from the Ministry of Transport.
Prime Minister Ersin Tatar
“The number of passengers coming to the country will be adjusted according to health infrastructure,” said Prime Minister Ersin Tatar.
He noted that some of the Covid-19 PCR tests that will be made for visitors entering by sea and airport as of July 1 can be evaluated a the PCR laboratory in Famagusta State Hospital.
Commenting on the importance of establishing a laboratory where Covid-19 tests can be carried out, Tatar stated that during his visit to Famagusta State Hospital, he learned that some of the PCR tests on the tourists coming to the country will be evaluated at its laboratory and this is an important achievement.
Stressing that TRNC has successfully overcome the pandemic process and that the opening is inevitable at this point, Tatar said that the number of passengers coming to the country will be adjusted according to the health infrastructure.
Health Minister Ali Pilli
The health minister said that as of July 1, free PCR tests will be conducted at Ercan Airport on all passengers coming from Turkey. They will be required to self-quarantine until the results of the tests are announced. Visitors will be required to sign an undertaking to remain in quarantine and to state where they are staying.
Minister Pilli stated that the passengers will also be informed by Ministry of Health teams, in accordance with the quarantine rules.