Turkey's national flag carrier to bring 25,000 citizens back to Turkey from 59 countries via 195 flights amid coronavirus pandemic.

Airplanes of Turkish Airlines sit on a tarmac, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), at Istanbul Airport, Turkey, March 29, 2020.
Airplanes of Turkish Airlines sit on a tarmac, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), at Istanbul Airport, Turkey, March 29, 2020. (Reuters)

Ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Turkey's national flag carrier is mounting a massive nine-day operation to bring back Turkish nationals stranded by coronavirus transportation shutdowns. 

Turkish Airlines will operate 195 flights between April 20-28, to bring home nearly 25,000 Turkish citizens from 59 countries as passenger flights were suspended to stem the virus' spread.

"Thousands of citizens who went abroad as tourists, students, or temporary workers will be able to join their families by the holy month of Ramadan," the company said in a statement on Monday, describing the service as a “national responsibility.”

The flights are being operated by over 100 planes.

"With unity and solidarity, we will once again carry out an exemplary operation," said chairman Ilker Ayci.

The airline says the largest number of citizens coming home is expected to be from Germany with 3,269 people, followed by 2,201 from Saudi Arabia and almost 4,000 from the US and UK.

Ramadan in Turkey this year starts on April 24 and ends on May 23.

Turkish Airlines had suspended international and domestic flights in line with decisions taken by authorities to protect the public health, but the company is continuing cargo flights to maintain the global supply chain of food and medical products.

Turkish Airlines, established in 1933, has a fleet of 361 passenger and cargo aircraft.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies