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Turkish Airlines to evacuate 25,000 people ahead of Muslim holy month of Ramadan

Turkish Airlines to evacuate 25,000 people ahead of Muslim holy month of Ramadan

Turkey’s national flag carrier is mounting a massive nine-day operation to bring back Turkish nationals stranded by coronavirus transportation shutdowns.

On April 20-28, Turkish Airlines will operate 195 flights to bring home nearly 25,000 citizens back home from 59 countries ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as passenger flights were suspended to stem the virus’ spread.

“Thousands of citizens who went abroad as tourists, students, or temporary workers will be able to join their families by the holy month of Ramadan,” the company said in a statement Monday, describing this service as a “national responsibility.”

The flights are being operated by over 100 of the airline’s planes.

“With unity and solidarity, we will once again carry out an exemplary operation,” said Ilker Ayci, Turkish Airlines’ chairman.

The largest number of citizens coming home is expected to be from Germany with 3,269, the airline said, followed by Saudi Arabia (2,201), the U.S. (1,631) and the U.K. (1,559).

Ramadan in Turkey this year starts on April 24 and ends on May 23.

Turkish Airlines is also continuing cargo flights to maintain the global supply chain of food and medical products as the company suspended international and domestic flights in line with the decisions taken by authorities to protect the public health.

Turkish Airlines, established in 1933, has a fleet of 361 passenger and cargo aircraft.

Since appearing in Wuhan, China, last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.

Data compiled by the U.S.’ Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections have surpassed 2.4 million, with the death toll above 165,200, while nearly 629,800 people have recovered.