Turkish carrier Southwind Airlines is rejecting allegations that it has connections with Russia, after being refused permission for operations to European destinations.

Southwind operates services from Antalya and has about a dozen aircraft including Boeing 777-300s and Airbus A330-200s, as well as single-aisle types.

Finnish transport and communications agency Traficom had received a request from Southwind to start operations to Finland, but in March the agency stated that it had informed Southwind that its services were not permitted.

Traficom believes Southwind’s main ownership and effective control “does not belong” to Turkish citizens as required by the bilateral air services agreement.

“According to our assessment, the company is backed by Russian entities,” says Traficom chief Jarkko Saarimaki

The agency says operation of the airline, as a result, is not compatible with European Union sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian conflict.

Southwind says Finnish authorities filed a complaint to the European Union and an “airspace ban” has been imposed.

But it claims this measure – put in place on 28 March, just before the Easter holiday period – has been implement “without providing any evidence or concrete justification”.


Source: Southwind Airlines

Leisure carrier Southwind ran into problems after seeking permission for Finnish flights

Southwind says an official notice regarding the ban has “not been sent” to Turkish authorities or the airline through formal documentation.

The airline describes the decision as “political” and the situation as “completely unfair”, adding that it has “seriously affected” its business, particularly in Germany.

According to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, Southwind still holds third-country operator authorisation as of 4 April.

Southwind says it has initiated legal procedures to ensure that the restriction is lifted “as soon as possible”.

“We have been carrying out all our operations in compliance with the rules applied by the EU and the USA since the day we were founded,” it states.

“We have not received any warnings about any issue, and we continue our commercial activities as a company that has received approval from the relevant official institutions of Europe within the scope of the security and safety policies we implement.”