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Russians Form Long Queues at Turkish Airlines’ Moscow Office as Flight Restrictions Begin

Denis Voronin / Moskva News Agency

Long lines of would-be tourists have formed outside Turkish Airlines’ Moscow office on Thursday as people seek refunds for canceled bookings, local media reported

Russia suspended most flights with Turkey from April 15-June 1 earlier this week, shutting over 500,000 Russian tourists out of the popular holiday destination. 

Videos posted to social media showed dozens of people standing in line to return or exchange their tickets on the day the restrictions came into force. 

During the restriction period, Aeroflot and Turkish Airlines will only operate two flights between Moscow and Istanbul per week.

Turkish Airlines on Thursday advised those wishing to exchange tickets to contact the airline’s call centers, sales offices or the travel agencies where they were purchased.

The Russian Association of Tour Operators (ATOR) said Tuesday that the tourism sector will lose more than $422,000 from 533,200 canceled flight bookings alone due to the Turkish flight restrictions.

Russia has also suspended flights to Tanzania over cases of Covid-19 and malaria in the African country, affecting slightly under 10,000 Russian tourists.

Resorts in southern Russia and annexed Crimea have seen a surge in demand since the restrictions were announced, causing industry officials to warn that an influx of tourists could severely deteriorate service quality.

While Russian health officials attributed the restrictions with Turkey to a surge in coronavirus cases in Turkey, some lawmakers linked the move to the Turkish president’s recent support for Ukraine. 

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