Singapore Sends Turkish Airlines Aircraft Back without Passengers after Coronavirus Case

Flight TK54 was sent back home empty after a transit passenger tested positive for COVID-19.
Derya Ozdemir

A Turkish Airlines airplane was flown back to Istanbul without any passengers aboard Thursday in Singapore after a passenger who had arrived on the same plane on Tuesday tested positive for the novel COVID-19. The aircraft was being held at the Changi Airport on Wednesday night. 

The decision was executed after an order from authorities on Thursday, Reuters reports.

The Transport Ministry has started contact tracing for passengers on flight TK54 since they may have had contact with the infected person.


A Turkish aviation official told Reuters that the passenger who was infected with the COVID-19 was not Turkish and was transiting through Istanbul to Singapore from another location. Apparently, there were 143 passengers aboard the flight, with three pilots and 10 crew members.

According to The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore’s (CAAS) statement, “The crew had come into close contact with a passenger on flight TK54 who subsequently tested positive for Covid-19."

The crew was tested for the virus in Singapore, and the results were negative. Since the incubation period for the COVID-19 is longer than 10 days, the three pilots and 10 other crew members must be placed under quarantine once they return to Istanbul. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore is in contact with the Turkish Embassy, which has confirmed that the crew will be quarantined upon arrival. Turkish Airlines hasn’t made any comments.

As of today, Singapore had 112 confirmed cases of coronavirus while Turkey has had no reported cases of the virus. The majority of the patients in Singapore have recovered and been discharged from hospital, while 33 remains in hospital with seven in critical condition.

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