For years, passenger jets have darted back and forth between Istanbul and Dubai, the two main hubs connecting airline passengers in the Middle East with destinations across the globe.
But when Turkish Airlines and Emirates began reviving their pandemic-depleted schedules a few weeks ago, that particular route remained closed except for a few scattered cargo operations. Emirates announced in June that the Istanbul flights would resume, but so far hasn’t followed through on that plan. For now, it doesn’t sell tickets to Turkey before Dec. 1, while Turkish Airlines posts the flights on its website — but then cancels bookings a few days prior to the travel date.
The Dubai-Istanbul journey, which takes between 4 and 5 hours, constitutes about 50 weekly flights, ranking among Emirates’ busier routes. For Turkish Airlines, the corridor provided a welcome way to attract budget-minded passengers headed for western Europe or North America through the country’s giant new Istanbul hub. While neither airline has said why the services remain suspended, it comes at a time of worsening relations between the two nations.