The Turkish airline AtlasGlobal has canceled all its flights until December 21st and grounded their 13 planes. This is the 9th major airline grounding of 2019, which has been a terrible year for most airlines, especially low-cost carriers. What’s strange about this grounding is that AtlasGlobal hasn’t declared bankruptcy like the other airlines had. Instead, they speak of having “entered a new phase of restructuring in order to provide you a unique flight experience”.
Apparently, the grounding is only temporary, with flights after December 21st still being expected to be carried out. Ticket sales, however, have been suspended until December 16th. This is an extremely unusual situation. It is also absolutely unclear, what the point of this temporary grounding is, and what the “phase of restructuring” consists of.
AtlasGlobal, founded as Atlasjet in 2001, had started having financial trouble after the 2016 Turkish coup d’etat attempt, which had caused a major decline in tourism. The decline of the Turkish Lira and the costs to relocate to the new Istanbul airport had further worsened the situation, and now the airline seems to have decided to stop everything and rethink their strategy to survive.
What Does This Mean for Passengers?
If you have a ticket for an AtlasGlobal flight before December 15th, we’d recommend contacting email@example.com with your PNR and flight information. The airline declared in their statement, that they will announce their procedure for these cancellations on December 16th. This is sadly very vague, and also means that if you really have to fly before then, you’ll need to book a new ticket on another airline. You can only hope to get a refund.
Even if you have a ticket for a flight after December 21st, you should start making backup plans, as grounded airlines rarely manage to get back into business. It is very likely that this temporary grounding will end up being permanent and end in another airline bankruptcy.