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Turkey | Istanbul in slow motion after heavy snowfall

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(Istanbul) Istanbul was partly paralyzed on Friday morning due to heavy snowfall which continued in the Turkish metropolis, with buses stopped, more than 200 flights canceled, and schools and universities closed.

Turkish Airlines had to cut 180 flights on Friday, at Istanbul airport (162 flights) and at Sabiha Gökçen airport (18), located on the Asian side of the city.

The company is also forecasting flight cancellations on Saturday, with snowfall — which began on Thursday — expected through Sunday.

The Turkish company Pegasus reported on its website about thirty domestic flights canceled during the day, departing from and arriving at Sabiha Gökçen airport.

Buses, trucks and trucks are banned from driving in the city, where most major roads were covered in snow on Friday morning, the governorate of Istanbul announced.


PHOTO DILARA SENKAYA, REUTERS

The governor of Turkey’s largest city (15.8 million inhabitants) also called on motorists to avoid any unnecessary travel.

Schools, daycares and universities, already closed on Thursday, will remain closed until Monday, while shopping malls will only open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday.

A spokeswoman for IGA, the operator of Istanbul airport, the busiest in Europe in 2021, told AFP that the infrastructure would remain open on Friday, estimating that around 770 flights were expected. meet at the airport, compared to almost a thousand on average each day.

At the end of January, Istanbul International Airport had to suspend all of its operations for two days due to heavy snowfall.

The management of the crisis at this ultramodern airport inaugurated in 2019 – and closed for the first time to traffic – had been the subject of strong criticism. Hundreds of passengers were stranded in the terminal, unable to fly or get to town as roads were blocked by snow.

The construction of the new airport, in the middle of the countryside and without train or metro to facilitate access, had given rise to many controversies, in particular on the damage caused to the environment but also for the choice of its location, near the Black Sea. , where heavy fog frequently occurs in winter.

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