Turkish Airlines Plans To Fly To Australia (Finally!)

Turkish Airlines Plans To Fly To Australia (Finally!)

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Turkish Airlines flies to more countries than any other airline in the world. One major gap in Turkish Airlines’ network is Australia, as the airline doesn’t even fly to the continent. That’s supposed to change later this year, according to company executives. More details about the carrier’s plans have been revealed this week.

Why Turkish Airlines doesn’t fly to Australia

Turkish Airlines has scaled its network to the point that it can seemingly make just about any route work, offering one-stop connectivity between most major markets around the globe.

However, the airline has never flown to Australia. This ultimately comes down to the distance. The journey from Istanbul to Sydney would cover a distance of 9,300 miles, while the journey from Istanbul to Melbourne would cover a distance of 9,093 miles.

Both of these routes exceed the range of Turkish’s Boeing 787s. For context, Qantas does fly from Perth to London, which covers a distance of 9,009 miles (one of the longest flights in the world). The difference is that Qantas’ 787s are in a much less dense configuration, improving the plane’s range. Qantas’ 787s have just 236 seats, while Turkish’s 787s have 300 seats.

Turkish could fly from Istanbul to Perth, as that’s only a distance of 7,491 miles. However, I imagine the demand just isn’t there for the time being, especially without any Star Alliance airlines in Australia to offer connectivity.

It’s also worth noting that under the current agreement between Turkey and Australia, airlines from Turkey can only operate up to four weekly flights to the country. So traffic rights would need to be changed for Turkish Airlines to offer daily flight in one market, let alone multiple markets. Australia tends to take a pretty protectionist approach to its airlines, so that could be a battle.

Turkish Airlines doesn’t currently fly to Australia

Turkish Airlines plans to add Australia flights in late 2023

As reported by Executive Traveller, Turkish Airlines has plans to launch flights to Australia as of later this year, despite not having a plane capable of operating the desired route nonstop. Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat traveled to Australia this week to outline the carrier’s plans:

  • Turkish Airlines hopes to launch flights to Australia as of mid-2023, initially offering 3x weekly flights
  • The airline is trying to decide whether to fly to Melbourne (MEL) or Sydney (SYD), and the airline is leaning toward Melbourne, both due to ease of being able to service, plus the Turkish population in the region; a decision should be made by mid-August 2023, and flights will go on sale shortly after that
  • Turkish Airlines plans to operate this service via Singapore (SIN), and the airline hopes to offer fifth freedom flights, meaning you could fly Turkish exclusively from Singapore to Melbourne or Sydney
Turkish Airlines plans to fly to Melbourne or Sydney via Singapore

I’m sure that Turkish Airlines is serious about launching this service, though I’m curious if it actually comes to fruition with the planned timeline. It seems like there are a lot of details to iron out if the service is supposed to launch in several months.

I suppose some service is better than no service, but ultimately 3x weekly flights with a stop in Singapore will hardly be competitive to what other airlines can offer, at least for those not originating or terminating in Istanbul.

Turkish Airlines plans to fly to Melbourne or Sydney via Singapore

Turkish Airlines has plans to add more Australia flights

While three weekly flights from Istanbul to Melbourne or Sydney via Singapore is better than nothing, the airline has ambitious plans in the long run. We know that Turkish Airlines is planning on placing a massive aircraft order in the near future, and it’s expected that this could include planes like the Boeing 777X or more Airbus A350s.

Turkish Airlines is hoping to eventually operate daily nonstop flights from Istanbul to both Melbourne and Sydney, though that’s probably five or more years from becoming a reality, according to management at the airline.

Turkish Airlines is also reportedly considering flights to Brisbane and Perth, but that will probably be even further in the future.

Turkish Airlines could order more Airbus A350s

Bottom line

Turkish Airlines has plans to serve Australia at last, which has been a major gap in the carrier’s network. As of late 2023, Turkish plans to fly 3x weekly from Istanbul to Melbourne or Sydney via Singapore. The airline hopes to expand that service over time, but needs additional traffic rights and new planes in order to fly nonstop to Melbourne and Sydney. The airline hopes to achieve that in the next five years or so.

We should learn all the details about Turkish Airlines’ initial service to Australia in the coming weeks.

What do you make of Turkish Airlines’ plans to fly to Australia?

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  1. Errol Guest

    I am glad finally my Favourite airline coming australia I'll definitely be flying my National carrier

  2. Graham Kerr Guest

    Plans to fly to Sydney and Melbourne are most welcome and I look forward to a starting date. I have just returned to Sydney on Turkish and really loved the Business class. Food was outstanding and the aircraft very comfortable. Aust people are tired of QANTAS and will appreciate an airline which takes them to Europe without having to fly with QF and link up in several Asian cities. My last trip to Europe was...

    Plans to fly to Sydney and Melbourne are most welcome and I look forward to a starting date. I have just returned to Sydney on Turkish and really loved the Business class. Food was outstanding and the aircraft very comfortable. Aust people are tired of QANTAS and will appreciate an airline which takes them to Europe without having to fly with QF and link up in several Asian cities. My last trip to Europe was using QFto Jakarta. As QF was 5 hours late leaving Sydney we missed the Turkish connection. Coming back Turkish was great but when we arrive in Jakarta QF was hours late so we left for Sydney at 3.30AM. Really looking forward to your starting date for Australia. Flying to Europe with Turkish will be terrific.

  3. longhaul Guest

    The start date of the expedition will be officially announced this Friday.

  4. KCW Guest

    Looks like Qantas have managed to get in the Government's ear on this one. AFR are reporting that the Federal Government are stalling this development, hot on the heels of blocking Qatar's request for more flights too.

    https://twitter.com/FinancialReview/status/1683099810033745921?s=20

  5. glenn t Diamond

    The key to success for TK will be the creation of the 5th freedom route MEL-SIN.
    Of course it is guaranteed that Qantas will object and will call on some of their political capital for this not to happen.
    I can imagine the lobbying in the Chairmans Lounges in SYD/MEL/CBA over canapes and champagne with hapless Ministers and their toadies!

  6. Alec-14 Member

    Looks like TK flies twice daily to Singapore in the northern hemisphere summer and not at all in winter. So I this is another way to add capacity to Singapore year round.

  7. Brianair Guest

    It’s great to see TK in Australia. It’s the last territory they haven’t reached. So how does this work? Do people have to get off the plane in Singapore? Can people book just the SIN-SYD/MEL leg? Is it like BA’s flight to SYD? Or is it like that Qantas flight that goes from SYD-LAX-JFK where there aren’t fifth freedom rights? If so, I’m not sure I see the point.

  8. Leigh Diamond

    TK will make it work. They didn't develop a network of 268 destinations by being stupid.

    I understand the sentiments of those that say 2 stops is not pleasant (where does lavanderialarry get 3 stops?), but it's a heavy economy config and it will not factor to the large VFR segment, who are price driven.

    Also, TK has a far larger European network than the ME3, meaning that they serve many markets where the...

    TK will make it work. They didn't develop a network of 268 destinations by being stupid.

    I understand the sentiments of those that say 2 stops is not pleasant (where does lavanderialarry get 3 stops?), but it's a heavy economy config and it will not factor to the large VFR segment, who are price driven.

    Also, TK has a far larger European network than the ME3, meaning that they serve many markets where the ME3 is not an option. I understand if the comments reference capital cities that have 1 connection options, but many of TK's destinations have no other option than 2 stops.

  9. lavanderialarry Guest

    No thanks. TK is not what it used to be, or what it was aiming to be. And 3 stops to get to Australia? Forget about it. There are better options. This is not a competitive offering.

  10. Sam A Guest

    3 stops? No thanks, I'll just continue flying SQ and EK.

  11. David Guest

    I refuse to fly Turkish ever again. They keep their cabins way too hot and rudely refuse customer requests for cooler temps. Just pure torture.

    1. Juanita Guest

      Maybe you were just suffering hot flushes from menopause at the time?

  12. Steven E Guest

    I hope this eventuates and the fifth freedom between SIN/ SYD/ MEL is also great news

  13. innocentabroad Guest

    On the surface this might be an unusual expansion for Turkish, but there's actually (mostly unknown) strong ties between Australia and Turkey (and to some extent New Zealand). ANZAC Day is as close as it comes to a sacred day in Australia. Many Australians, including major dignitaries, travel to Gallipolli for the ceremony; the Turkish government provides major logistical and political support for the ceremonies. Even more unusual is that Australian and Turkish veterans can...

    On the surface this might be an unusual expansion for Turkish, but there's actually (mostly unknown) strong ties between Australia and Turkey (and to some extent New Zealand). ANZAC Day is as close as it comes to a sacred day in Australia. Many Australians, including major dignitaries, travel to Gallipolli for the ceremony; the Turkish government provides major logistical and political support for the ceremonies. Even more unusual is that Australian and Turkish veterans can sometimes march in each others' veteran parades - one of the only cases of enemy combatants marching together.

    There's also an enormous Eastern Mediterranean community in Australia - there'd be close to a million first and second generation Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian etc. Australians.

    And, lets be honest, Australians just really really like to travel!

    1. Julia Guest

      "there'd be close to a million first and second generation Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian"

      Let's be honest, it would make more sense for them to fly to those countries one stop on Qatar or Emirates than 2 stops on Turkish.

    2. Dreamliner Guest

      You are right, that makes more sense but these people love seeing Istanbul. Most of the Lebanese, Iranian or Balkanian people I know, usually visits Istanbul on their trips back home.

      Also, Turkish people love their own airline. Just the Turkish diaspora in Melbourne is enough for these 3x weekly flights.

  14. Nelson Diamond

    I hardly doubt this will start, let alone work financialy.
    There are enough (and better) options to fly to Australia.

    1. Sam Guest

      Plenty of O&D traffic & can pick up a few more pax if SQ codeshares.

  15. Tommygzzz Guest

    Any idea how many Turkish miles would be needed for US - Australia in J? Long, but fun way to go!

  16. Mick Guest

    I’m excited by this but really only for the nonstop. I had Citi points that I had to transfer out to airlines and thought about sending them to Turkish a few months ago. Wish I had now being based in Sydney

    1. Mick Guest

      What’s the redemption rate in points on Turkish for the possible fifth freedom to Singapore from Sydney. Noting it’s 40k aa points on ba or Malaysian. Or 40k LifeMiles via tokyo on ana.

  17. Matt Guest

    If they can offer a fifth freedom flight between Singapore and Australia, what does that mean for passengers who originate in IST and who are going to Australia? Do they have to deplane in Singapore and wait for the aircraft to be serviced for new passengers? I assume a passenger who is getting on the plane in Singapore doesn’t want to sit in a dirty seat that someone occupied for several hours.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Matt -- I would assume that everyone has to deplane, the cabin is fully cleaned, etc. This is what happens on the British Airways and Qantas fifth freedom flights through Singapore.

    2. Anonymous Guest

      The source article mentions Star Alliance elite passengers can enjoy the lounge in Singapore during stopover, meaning everyone will deplane.

    3. Kendall Guest

      I flew Turkish from Istanbul to Panama and the plane stopped in Bogota. Some people got off in Bogota, but I remained in my seat while the cleaners refreshed the cabin and (now) empty seats

    4. Jim Guest

      I've experienced it both ways on 5th Freedom flights - sometimes it is, for all practical purposes, two separate flights, even if it's the same aircraft; others, you stay on the plane. Not sure if the decision is made ny the airline, the airport, the aviation authorities of the origin/layover/destination country, or some combination of those.

      To Ben's point, though, if QF/BA hops through SIN are done as "separate flights," it's reasonable to imagine that...

      I've experienced it both ways on 5th Freedom flights - sometimes it is, for all practical purposes, two separate flights, even if it's the same aircraft; others, you stay on the plane. Not sure if the decision is made ny the airline, the airport, the aviation authorities of the origin/layover/destination country, or some combination of those.

      To Ben's point, though, if QF/BA hops through SIN are done as "separate flights," it's reasonable to imagine that TK will do likewise.

    5. Juanita Guest

      Everyone in Singapore will need to deplane while it is cleaned, and then go through security clearance again before re-boarding.

    6. Dreamliner Guest

      The airline CEO said, they don’t need fifth freedom flights as they have enough traffic between TR-AU and there are already many flights on MEL-SYD route a few months ago. Now he just switched to fifth freedom. If it’s not just a stop for refueling like IST-BOG-PTY kinda routes, it’s pointless for IST-MEL/SYD passengers to be on this flight.

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Errol Guest

I am glad finally my Favourite airline coming australia I'll definitely be flying my National carrier

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Graham Kerr Guest

Plans to fly to Sydney and Melbourne are most welcome and I look forward to a starting date. I have just returned to Sydney on Turkish and really loved the Business class. Food was outstanding and the aircraft very comfortable. Aust people are tired of QANTAS and will appreciate an airline which takes them to Europe without having to fly with QF and link up in several Asian cities. My last trip to Europe was using QFto Jakarta. As QF was 5 hours late leaving Sydney we missed the Turkish connection. Coming back Turkish was great but when we arrive in Jakarta QF was hours late so we left for Sydney at 3.30AM. Really looking forward to your starting date for Australia. Flying to Europe with Turkish will be terrific.

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longhaul Guest

The start date of the expedition will be officially announced this Friday.

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