Travel industry leaders are condeming the June 28 attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport as “cowardly and murderous.”
Reports indicate that 41 people – including 13 foreigners – are dead and 239 people have been wounded in an attack carried out by 3 suicide bombers.
There are also additional reports indicating that the toll of dead and injured from the attack may rise.
In a statement following the attack, Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism stated: “We would like to express our gratitude for [those who] showed their support to the Turkish Public after the hateful attacks that took place on 28/06/2016 in Istanbul Ataturk Airport.”
The ministry’s statement continued: “We would also kindly inform the public that right after the hateful attack all the necessary security measures have been taken by the state’s security forces and that as of today [Ataturk] airport is open to the air traffic and all the services are continuing.”
IATA director general and CEO, Tony Tyler said: “Once again, innocent travellers have been attacked in a cowardly and murderous act. Our thoughts are with the victims, and their families and friends.”
“Air transport brings people together and facilitates both social and economic development. Istanbul has a particularly significant and historical role in connecting East and West. Last night’s attack was a broad attack on our shared humanity,” Tyler said.
And he continued: “Terrorism will never succeed in reversing the interconnectedness of the world. The desire of the human spirit to explore and trade will always triumph over suspicion and fear. That Istanbul airport is operating today is a testament to the resilience and determination of the Turkish people and the aviation industry. We stand together in solidarity-confident that we will emerge stronger and more united in our resolve to keep connecting our world.”
And Tyler made it clear that: “The safety and security of passengers are our top priorities. This tragedy in Istanbul and the one in Brussels earlier this year show that there is a growing challenge for governments to keep people safe in the ‘landside’ parts of the airport. Moving people ‘airside’ more quickly can help to mitigate risk. The industry has a number of initiatives in place to achieve that aim and we are working with governments and airports to implement them.”
For more, go to http://www.iata.org .
UNWTO URGES ACTION
The UNWTO’s secretary-general, Taleb Rifai said following the attack: “On behalf of the entire international tourism community, UNWTO conveys its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims and expresses its full solidarity with the people and the Government of Turkey.”
Rifai said that: “[Yesterday] we were reminded once again that we are facing a global threat that requires a firm and coordinated response by all governments and the international community.”
And the UNWTO’s secretary-general called upon the international tourism community to stand by Turkey in facing this challenge, noting that in times like these, “we need to cooperate and not isolate affected destinations.”
Said Rifai: “Turkey is a leading tourism destination and we are confident it will continue to be so; it is now time to support Turkey.”
Visit http://www.UNWTO.org for additional information.
WTTC STANDS WITH TURKEY
The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) president and CEO, David Scowsill said: “Again we find ourselves having to express condolences to victims of a horrendous act of terrorism. The Council stands behind the Turkish government in managing this devastating incident.”
Scowsill continued: “The attack is a further blow to Turkey’s tourism sector, which in 2015 contributed 13% of GDP and generated 2 million jobs. While our research shows that tourism is extremely resilient in the face of terrorism, this latest incident will undoubtedly have far reaching impacts.”
And he concluded: “The international community, both private and public sectors, must come together in support of Turkey to ensure that as a destination it can rebound and thrive in the future.”
AC ISTANBUL FLIGHT ADVISORY
In an advisory on its web site, Air Canada is telling passengers that: “As a result of the events in Istanbul, Air Canada has implemented a policy for customers who purchased an Air Canada ticket no later than June 28, 2016 and whose itinerary includes a flight to, from or via Istanbul Airport (IST) between June 28 and July 5, 2016.”
And the advisory continues: “If you are scheduled to travel during the affected time period, you may contact Air Canada Reservations to change your flight, free of charge, to another date between now and Sept. 30, 2016, subject to availability in the cabin you originally purchased. Otherwise, any fare difference will apply. If you purchased your ticket with Aeroplan, or Air Canada Vacations, please contact them directly.