Southwind Airlines banned from EU

On 28 March 2024, the EU decided to ban Southwind Airlines from Türkiye from flying to and over the EU. This decision was made after the airline applied to operate flights between Finland and Türkiye.

Finland denied the request and the Head of Finland's Transport Agency said; "Our overall assessment indicates that a significant portion of ownership and effective control does not belong to Turkish individuals or companies. We have concluded that the airline and its control are associated with Russian players.”

As Russian airlines are currently banned from operating in EU airspace, and because of the doubts surrounding the ownership structure of Southwind, the EU followed Finland's assessment and banned the airline from operating into the EU.

Southwind Airlines was established in April 2022, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and was set-up to ensure the continuous flow of Russian tourists to Türkiye. It commenced flights in August 2022, first to Russia. Later it added destinations in Bahrain, Belarus, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Switzerland.

The airline currently has a fleet that is made-up of two Airbus A321s, one A321neo, two A330-200s, three Boeing 737-8s, three 777-300s, and one 777-300ER.

Interesting to note is that two of its A321s and one of its A330s were previously operated/destined by/for Nordwind Airlines, while its Boeing 777-300ER was operated previously by Azur Air, both Russian airlines.

Photo by Anton Homma.

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