Indians left Istanbul airport two hours before attack
NEW DELHI: Indians travelling from Istanbul’s Ataturk airport had a close shave on Tuesday night as two flights to India departed two hours before the terror strike that killed 41 people.
The attack occurred at around 10 pm Turkish time. “Turkish Airlines flights to Delhi and Mumbai departed Istanbul last night as scheduled. Both leave Istanbul at around 8 pm,” said an official.
No Indian carrier flies to Turkey but Turkish Airlines, the national carrier, has regular flights in and out of India.
“No report has been received so far of any Indian among the casualties. Ataturk airport operations have resumed but long delays are likely,” a senior government official said.
The attack on Turkey’s busiest airport came within months of a terror strike on Brussels airport, and turned the spotlight on the security apparatus at Indian facilities. The government said it will take all steps to ensure the safety of airports.
Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju tweeted he was “deeply shocked and agitated” by the attack in Istanbul. “It’s our commitment that we will continue to ensure safety and security of Indian airports and skies,” he said.
Security checks for passengers had been intensified at all Indian airports. It is only at Jammu and Srinagar airports that passengers are frisked and their bags checked before they enter the terminal.
There is no plan to extend this practice at other airports but the security drill may be tightened following the Istanbul strike.