Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and Aeroflot halt flights
The BBC reports today that the international airport in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine has been closed for all incoming and outgoing travel. NBC tweets that airport security confirmed there are no flights in Donetsk today or tomorrow, including flights from Moscow and Kiev.
Donetsk is the gateway to eastern Ukraine with a range of international flights. This includes Lufthansa to Munich, Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and Aeroflot to Moscow as well as domestic carriers’ flights.
The Ukrainian authorities have not given a reason for the temporary closure and did not say when the airport would be reopened. It comes ahead of Victory Day celebrations on May 9 and a possible referendum in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic scheduled for May 11.
“Ukrainian authorities control this airport,” a correspondent for eTN reports. “It appears they want to avoid to have Russian special forces or agents arrive from Moscow or indirectly from Moscow via Istanbul. Since this is the major gateway in and out of this region the closure may cause not only speculations but some panic among people wanting to leave.”
eTN / BBC
[pictured: Donbassaero plane at Donetsk International Airport]