#IstanbulAttack: Flight delays expected, only essential travel advised


Cape Town - The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says no South Africans have been killed following Tuesday's terror attack at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, which killed at least 36 people.  

Several South Africans were caught up in the attacks, with a number of them sharing their experience of being caught-up in the terror crossfire on News24 - read the full story here

Ataturk International Airport, the third largest in Europe, was shut down immediately after the attack, but has since re-opened - some flights have however been cancelled and travellers are being advised to stay in touch with their respective airlines.  

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela says the department is closely monitoring the situation in Turkey and will release updates when possible.

"The South African embassy in Turkey has been interacting regularly with the local authorities" says Monyela and the latest report indicates that "no South Africans were killed or injured in this attack."

"Consular Services is currently dealing with enquiries from members of the public and will render the required consular assistance. South Africans in Turkey or family members in South Africa requiring assistance are requested to contact the South African Embassy in Ankara or the Department at  +27 12 351 1000."

The UK has updated its foreign travel advice following the attack, warning against all but essential travel to certain parts of Turkey. 

"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises "against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir".

"The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the remaining areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Kilis and Hatay provinces as well as Siirt, Tunceli and Hakkari.

"Security force operations against the PKK and related groups are ongoing in the Sur district of Diyarbakir. The FCO advises against all travel to the city of Diyarbakir. Similar operations have taken place in Sirnak and Hakkari. You should take extreme care in these areas," according to the travel advisory.

Flight Centre also confirmed to Traveller24 that it has contacted all its customers in Turkey, reporting they have all been accounted for and are safe. 

Sharmila Ragunanan, Flight Centre spokesperson says,“We have rescheduled some flights and we urge anyone planning to travel to Turkey who are anxious and who want to change their travel arrangements to contact their Flight Centre travel expert.

“However, we don’t anticipate many customers wanting to change or cancel their bookings as South Africans have proved themselves to be very resilient travellers who are unlikely to change their travel plans as a result of a terror attack. But travellers in Turkey should remain extremely vigilant and follow any instructions given by police, tour operators and hotel staff,” she said.

Turkey is a growing tourism market for South Africans, with approximately 40 000 outbound trips undertaken to the country in 2015, according to Flight Centre’s statistics.  Ragunanan cautioned that travellers to Turkey should anticipate delays in the next few days. 

Ataturk is located east of Istanbul and is the 11th busiest in the world in terms of passenger traffic, servicing an estimated 62 million passengers in 2015. It has two main passenger terminals and X-ray checkpoints at terminal entrances.

What to read next on Traveller24:

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