The aviation sector is also influenced by the economic crisis affecting global economics. Strikes, flight cancellations and exchange rate depreciation of Turkish Lira led the flights to intensify in Turkey and increased number of tourists more than the expected. Therefore, flight delays become current issues. What is flight delay, and when does it become significant? What rights do passengers have?


Passenger rights are regulated internationally under the Montreal Convention, to which Turkey is a party. In addition, according to the Chicago Convention, to which Turkey is also a party, every country has exclusive sovereignty over its airspace and is able to regulate its own legislation. In Turkey, passenger rights are regulated by the “Regulation on the Passenger Rights Travel with Airline” which is consistent with European Union legislation.


What is flight delay? Why does it occur?


Flight delay is the situation in which a flight cannot be performed at the planned time for various reasons. Congestion, technical issues, lack of personnel, security problems, natural events, and many other situations may cause delay.


When is the airline operator liable to passengers for delay?


The airline operator that will perform the flight must assist passengers within the scope of service right, if as of the planned departure time a delay occurs as follows:


  • 2 hours or more (for flights no longer than 1500 km and domestic flights),
  • 3 hours or more (for flights between 1500 and 3500 km), and
  • 4 hours or more (for flights longer than 3500 km).


If there is a delay of 5 or more hours, the ticket price must be refunded to the passenger on demand and a free flight must be provided for the passenger to turn to his or her place of departure.


Which services should airlines provide in case of delay?


  • Delays between 2 and 3 hours: hot and cold drinks within reason,
  • Delays between 3 and 5 hours: breakfast or a meal depending on the time of the day, with hot and cold drinks,
  • Delays 5 hours or more: breakfast or a meal depending on the time of the day with hot and cold drinks, and additional hot and cold drinks and snacks,
  • If one or more nights’ accommodation or any additional accommodation becomes necessary, accommodation in a hotel or a facility,
  • Transportation between the airport and the place of accommodation (hotel, etc.).


In addition to the above: two telephone calls without a time restriction, fax message service or e-mail message service should be offered to the passengers free of charge.

The airline operator that will perform the flight must show particular care in satisfying the needs of people having a limited ability to move, their companions and children traveling alone.

Are all of those services enough?

The regulations made in Turkey, which have a significant role in the aviation sector due to its population and location, are consistent with modern international regulations. However, these regulations may sometimes be insufficient to accommodate all inconveniences suffered by passengers. Because the regulations are not always sufficient in every case, it is important to be solution-oriented and to carefully weigh the balance of benefits between the airline operators and passengers. The airlines adopting this approach will definitely make a positive difference in long term.



Serap Zuvin (Partners.zuvin@cakmak.av.tr

Deniz Hançer (Legal Intern)

Çakmak Avukatlık Ortaklığı
Zorlu Center
D Lobisi, T3 Katı, Daire 348 Levazım Mahallesi, Koru Sokak No:2
34340 Beşiktaş Istanbul – Türkiye



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