Turkey's trains to run next week, airline to avoid staff cuts

by Reuters
Saturday, 23 May 2020 12:48 GMT

ISTANBUL, May 23 (Reuters) - Turkey said on Saturday some intercity trains will re-start next week as it gradually eases a partial coronavirus lockdown, while the chairman of Turkish Airlines said it was likely there would be no staff cuts for two years.

Turkey has imposed weekend stay-at-home orders, closed restaurants and schools, mostly sealed its borders and halted some travel between large cities to curb the spread of the virus.

The government has begun rolling back some restrictions and said it aims to reopen the economy heading into June.

From May 28 trains will be able to make 16 trips daily on routes including Istanbul, Ankara, Eskisehir and Konya, the transport ministry said. Passengers will be monitored for illness while travelling and those 20 years or younger and 65 or older cannot travel, it said.

In an interview with news website Haberturk, Ilker Ayci, chair of Turkish Airlines, said it aims to "protect employment" until the end of 2021. "Our job is to resist layoffs as much as we can," he was quoted as saying.

The flagship airline has cancelled domestic flights to June 4 and international flights to June 10.

Nearly 4,300 people have died in Turkey from the new coronavirus. The country ranks ninth globally in confirmed COVID-19 cases with more than 154,000.

The containment measures are expected to tip the economy into recession.

(Reporting by Irem Koca and Jonathan Spicer. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.