Russia will resume charter flights to Turkey July 7 after a six-month break.
Flights ceased in November 2015 following the downing by Turkish fighter jets of a Russian strike aircraft as it crossed into Turkish airspace while on a sortie against Islamic State forces in neighboring Syria. The incident led to Russia imposing sanctions on Turkey, including the halting of charter flights.
The cessation of the flights and advice from the Russian government to its citizens not to holiday in Turkey caused considerable losses to the Turkish tourist industry; the Mediterranean nation is a popular holiday destination for Russians.
The number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey plummeted by more than 90% to 40,000 in May 2016 compared to a year earlier, according to Turkish government figures. This came on top of shrinking numbers of tourists from Western Europe over security fears in the wake of multiple terrorist attacks in Turkey, including last month’s bombing of Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport.
However, following last month’s apology by Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the shooting down of the Russian aircraft, charter flights are to resume.
According to a tweet from Turkey’s Directorate-General of Civil Aviation, 17 charter flights from Russia will take place June 7.