Turkish Airlines Launching Mexico Triangle Flight

Turkish Airlines flies to more countries than any other airline in the world, and shortly they can add yet another country to that list. While this has been rumored for a while, Turkish Airlines has just put their first ever flight to Mexico on sale.

Turkish Airlines will launch a 3x weekly flight to Mexico City and Cancun as of August 21, 2019. The schedule for this flight will be as follows:

TK181 Istanbul to Mexico City departing 8:55PM arriving 4:10AM (+1 day)
TK181 Mexico City to Cancun departing 5:30AM arriving 7:50AM
TK181 Cancun to Istanbul departing 9:20AM arriving 5:25AM (+1 day)

That’s a rough arrival time in Mexico City, and also rough departure time! Then again, a lot of longhaul Mexico City flights have non-ideal times, and I guess this at least lets you avoid the heaviest traffic hours.

Turkish Airlines will use a Boeing 787-9 for the route, the first of which they’re taking delivery of this year.

This will be the first plane to feature Turkish Airlines’ new business class seat. The 787-9 will have 30 of these seats, and it’s rumored that Turkish will be using the below seat in their new cabins, which is also what Singapore Airlines uses for their 787-10 regional business class.

Turkish Airlines has quite a few triangle flights nowadays (Istanbul to Bogota to Panama City to Istanbul, Istanbul to Havana to Caracas to Istanbul, etc.), though in this case there’s a particularly compelling reason. Mexico City Airport is at such a high altitude that it would be virtually impossible for them to fly nonstop all the way to Istanbul.

So they’d need to first operate a flight to somewhere not quite as far, which is presumably why the flight stops in Cancun. Since Mexico City to Cancun is a domestic flight the airline won’t be able to sell tickets exclusively between those cities.

What I also find surprising is that as of now they’re not selling tickets to & from Cancun. While I realize the primary motivator of this route is to serve Mexico City, you’d think they’d sell tickets to & from Cancun as well, especially since they have 90 minutes on the ground here. I suspect they’ll still sell these but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Emirates is also planning on launching flights to Mexico City, and their plan is to fly from Dubai to Barcelona to Mexico City, which they’ve finally received approval for. One has to wonder if otherwise Emirates could fly something like the Mexico City and Cancun “triangle,” in order to deal with the altitude issue.

What do you make of Turkish Airlines’ new Mexico flight?

Comments

  1. I’m psyched about this. MEX airport is operating way above intended capacity so its possible TK just couldn’t get better slots.

  2. Yeah LH520 (MUC-MEX) also has a pretth early arrival at 4:30 (but tbf it departs at 11:00). Do you think that TK entering MEX could have on EK’s route? Although only x3 weekly, TK will be a direct competitor and it makes me question whether EK will stick with daily flights or a reduced frequency

  3. I’d question the comment about MEX’s altitude as being the reason for the CUN stop.

    MEX-IST is only 100 miles more than MEX-NRT (7,104 vs 7,004 miles), and on MEX-NRT there are generally headwinds. Granted AM and NH are using 788s vs 789s to Tokyo, so the latter might require a bit more roll to get off the high altitude ground in MEX, but even with MEX being 7,300 ft above sea level, a medium-loaded 789 can get off the ground in 11k-12k feet (MEX’s runways are 12,900 ft); this is identical to the 788. (Boeing has a nice PDF for airport planning with the 787 family: http://www.boeing.com/resources/boeingdotcom/commercial/airports/acaps/787.pdf)

    I would imagine the stop is more for “insurance” for that one time winds are not favorable, or one can’t forget that if Europeans want to head to warm places in the winter, it’s usually the Caribbean/Mexico or Thailand, so they’re used to flying far to get out of the cold.

  4. Hi,
    I consult with THY customer service and I questioned these flights for November 2019. There aren’t any flights yet. Turkish Airlines does not have an official statement on this issue.
    I wondered your source 🙂

    Happy days…

  5. The ETA is nice in regards to traffic as you said.

    The other thing is, honestly Mexico is cheap enough that I don’t mind paying for the night before if it means I can go straight to a hotel/Airbnb.

    It’s Early AM ETAs in places like NY, BOS, LON and Paris that get on my nerves. Not paying like $120USD just to get into a hotel in the AM. But $60 in MEX, much more tolerable.

  6. It’s worth noting that those seats will also be available on Singapore Airlines’ 2-class (regional) A350-900. You can check SQ965 out of CGK and the incoming flight before that, as well as ADL I believe.

  7. @ Cincinaicinci — As of now the new flight is only bookable through late October, which is probably the issue. I imagine the schedule will be updated soon.

  8. “Then again, a lot of longhaul Mexico City flights have non-ideal times, and I guess this at least lets you avoid the heaviest traffic hours.”

    The airport is at capacity so there are serious slot restrictions. All new entrants are stuck with the worst times unless they buy a better slot

  9. As a Mexican City resident, let me tell that arriving at that time is the best option in MEX busy airport. The lines for immigration and customes are long. And then the traffic. At that time is easy to get at any point. After 7am, to get to any point in the city from the airport takes one or two hours if lucky.

  10. If Turkish doesn’t start selling tickets to/from Cancun, perhaps Huntsville, Alabama, with its very long runway would be a good refueling location? I can’t imagine that landing fees would be high there but you never know.

    If there was a technical stop at HSV, I wonder if visas would be required if all passengers remained on the plane?

  11. Actually, the 3-5AM arrival bank is quite popular for a few long hauls, Including China Southern, Iberia, Lufthansa’s Munich flight, and quite a few Aeromexico flights.

  12. @Mark: I know for a fact that NH has severe load restrictions on the MEX-NRT leg, they never take a full passenger load. So the CUN stop may well be rational for that reason.

  13. Love TK’s superb onboard service but did not care for their uncomfortable 777 flatbeds. We’ve always used LH F using Miles out of MEX but then when redemption rates skyrocketed, we started flying on UA to IAH to conx with TK to Istanbul/E.U. So this news is fantastic! @Lucky, any idea when/what type of award space they will be releasing this fall on Star Alliance carriers? Better to use MileagePlus or Singapore? I also have Chase Ultimate Reward Miles I could transfer.

  14. This is amazing news! I’m pumped about this. How do you think award space will be to IST on this route?!

    Also, will TK use terminal 1 or 2? Terminal 2 in the early AM is a nightmare for non Mexican citizens…

    Either way, great for TK and great for Mexico!

  15. the arrival time at MEX is on par with almost all long haul fligths, AMX arrivals from SCL, EZE, LHR, CDG, and others from USA and S. America which arrive 03.50 – 05.30, this is not due to slots, it its obviously time zone and most important to connectivity, that early morning you can connect to almost anywhere on the USA and central America and be in LAX, SFO, PTY, BOG, CUN, TIJ, SJD, ATL, JFK, YUL, YVR before 11.00

  16. @RC most likely T1, TK is star alliance, T2 is Sky Team (except CM).

    @derek they would moat likely need a USA visa.

  17. @Mark
    I know the Areomexico flight to Shanghai has a refuel stop in Tijuana on the outbound. Not sure about Tokyo.

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