Southwind Airlines faced sanctions from the European Union

Photo by © Southwind Airlines

The European Union has imposed a ban on flights through its airspace for Southwind Airlines, based in Antalya. The basis for such measures was the presumption that the airline is linked to Russia.

Finnish transport authority Traficom attempted to determine whether the airline is Russian rather than Turkish. In Helsinki, it was concluded that a significant share of ownership and actual control over the Turkish tourist carrier were not in Turkey. “We have come to the conclusion that the airline and its control are connected to Russian players,” Traficom stated.

On Thursday, March 28, Brussels informed its members that Cortex Havacilik Ve Turizm Ticare – the official name of Southwind Airlines – falls under the ban on take-off, overflight, and landing according to Article 3d of Regulation No. 833/2014 dated July 31, 2014. This regulation governs sanctions imposed in connection with Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. This measure came into effect on March 29.

As reported by the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), on the same day, flight under the code of Air Cairo SM903 from Sharm el-Sheikh was detained, which is actually operated by Southwind Airlines with a technical landing in Hurghada. According to the Sheremetyevo airport schedule, it was scheduled to depart at 17:30 Moscow time but was delayed. Russian tourists actually flew out of Egypt on the morning of March 30. The delay was 11 hours, during which they waited at hotels, as reported by ATOR.

The association also mentioned that Southwind Airlines’ flight program to Antalya from Kaliningrad was canceled due to the prohibition on overflights through EU countries. Seat blocks on the airline’s flights from Kaliningrad in 2024 were held by three Russian tour operators – Pegas Touristik, Coral Travel, and Anex. Tourists of these airlines, who were supposed to fly to Egypt on Southwind Airlines’ flights on March 30 and 31, were transferred to the Red Sea by Azur Air flights from Vnukovo.

Southwind Airlines was established in April 2022 and is based in Antalya, Turkey. According to German tabloid Bild cited by DW, all three aircraft of the carrier and a majority of its staff were acquired from the Russian airline Nordwind, which is 95.1% owned by the tour operator Pegas Touristik.