Turkey diverts

The plane chartered by the Republic of Cyprus to transfer donated medical equipment from China on Wednesday, was forced to change course after Turkey prohibited the plane from passing through its airspace, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said.

The aircraft, carrying 36 tonnes of protective masks, disposable surgical gowns, and shoe covers had departed from China’s Tianjin Binhai airport and was initially expected to arrive at Larnaca airport by around 1.30pm on Wednesday.

According to Karousos, once refused entry into Turkey’s air space, the pilot was forced to re-calculate its route as going around Turkey would not leave it with enough fuel to reach the island.

“The pilot changed course and is heading toward an airport in Moscow, Russia, where it will land to refuel,” Karousos said, noting that the aircraft is expected to arrive at Laranca airport at 8pm on Wednesday.

He added that “the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Cyprus has been notified of the incident in view of taking any steps it deems necessary.”