Breakthrough deal reached to lift ban on Turkey’s Onur Air

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey agreed in principle with several European countries to lift a ban on its private airline Onur Air, the semi-official Anatolia news agency quoted the transport minister as saying yesterday. Binali Yildirim said in Moscow, where he was attending a gathering of European transport ministers, that he agreed with French, Swiss, German and Dutch ministers to remove the ban on Onur Air. The Netherlands and Germany temporarily withdrew landing rights from the airline, saying its planes were unsafe. France and Switzerland have also imposed a ban on the airline. «As the result of a serious struggle, this problem was solved in 12 days,» said Yildirim. The minister also urged Onur Air to take flawless safety measures on its planes. Onur Air, a low-fare challenger to state-owned Turkish Airlines and other established foreign airlines, has been flying since 1992. It has 26 planes – five Boeings and 21 Airbuses. The airline says it transports 1.4 million passengers a year, including 350,000 from the Netherlands. It makes 300 flights a week to Europe, including 75 to the Netherlands. The ban had come at a critical time as May marks the start of the main tourist season.