Turkmen Plane Flies to Munich to Pick Up Doctors (Updated)

A Boeing 737 operated by Turkmenistan Airlines (tail number EZ-A020) landed in Munich today at 12.30 local time. According to a turkmen.news source in Germany, the plane was due to fly back to Turkmenistan 90 minutes later (at 14.00), but it eventually departed at 17.50 CET. 

January 7, 2021

There were no passengers on the flight to Munich, but there were six German doctors on board on the return leg to Ashgabat. The purpose of their trip to Turkmenistan is not known. Official media have not reported the flight to Munich.

Turkmen.news has also learnt that the doctors will return to Germany on January 10. After taking them to Munich, the Turkmen Boeing 737 will fly to London’s Luton airport. There is no reliable information about the purpose of that trip either.

This is the third time in six months that doctors from Munich have visited Turkmenistan. Their first flight was on August 27. As with the current trip, there was no official word of this visit. The plane brought in several boxes of medical dressings and boxes bearing the logo of U.S. firm Promega, a manufacturer of technology for the study and identification of viruses, including COVID-19.

The second visit took place on November 26. This time the official media did report the arrival of the German doctors. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov had a personal meeting with Professor Klaus Parhofer, who examined the first president, Saparmurat Niyazov, not long before the latter’s death in 2006. Several other German doctors were made honorary professors of Turkmenistan’s State Medical University.

The official media did not explain why the foreign doctors’ visit had taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic, when regular flights have stopped, foreigners are barred entry to the country, and citizens brought home on special flights have to spend 21 days in quarantine camps.

A Turkmen government Bombardier Challenger 870 provided the transport for the two previous visits. According to turkmen.news’ sources, the visit on January 7 was arranged at short notice. The previous trips had been prepared well in advance.

Update: Turkmen.news has learned that two out of the six passengers due to fly to Turkmenistan cancelled their flight. The reasons are not known. The plane was delayed for almost 4 hours.