Turkish Airlines Prepares to Launch Flights to Melbourne

with a timeline of late March 2024 now confirmed
Turkish Airlines is poised to launch its long-anticipated flights to Australia, with Melbourne as the likely starting point in March 2024.

Melbourne Airport’s aviation boss, Jim Parashos, expressed his enthusiasm for the proposed move which would increase the city’s appeal as a top international destination. Turkish Airlines’ chairman Ahmet Bolat told a local media outlet that the route would be launched on 15 March. But what should you expect? Here’s everything you need to know…

Extending to Melbourne

Turkish Airlines is set to connect Istanbul and Melbourne with direct flights, marking a significant milestone in the airline’s expansion plans. However, a crucial aspect of the proposal involves obtaining “fifth freedom rights” for its Istanbul-Melbourne and Istanbul-Sydney flights via Singapore, allowing them to sell tickets for individual legs of the journey. This is pending regulatory approval from Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Enhanced Connectivity

The addition of Melbourne to Turkish Airlines’ extensive route map enhances the airline’s connectivity, providing a growing number of passengers with more efficient and convenient options to travel across continents. Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat’s long-held ambition to connect Istanbul and Australia is underscored by the airline’s success in carrying passengers between the two regions through codeshare agreements.

the number of hours a flight takes from Istanbul to Australia, not including a frequently made stopover in Singapore.

number of passengers Turkish Airlines carried in 2022 via codeshare agreements with Australia.

A Renewed Fleet

Turkish Airlines is renowned for its modern fleet and holds a solid reputation for providing outstanding in-flight services. To supplement their bid to launch a new route to Melbourne, the airline recently spent US$40 billion for 220 Airbus jets, including an A350-1000 which could facilitate non-stop flights between Australia and Türkiye. The plan is to launch three flights per week via Singapore initially, and then increase the frequency to daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne.

Utilising the A350-1000

The A350-1000, initially designed for Qantas’ long-haul flights connecting Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York, is being adapted for non-stop journeys between Turkiye and Australia. The modifications include an extra fuel tank and a ‘premium-heavy’ seating arrangement, allowing the aircraft to cover the 15,000km distance. Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat mentioned plans to also utilise these jets for flights to South American destinations like Santiago and Buenos Aires.

the number of A350-900 jets that were purchased in the blockbuster US$40 billion deal made by Turkish Airlines.

the range in kilometres that the recently boosted Airbus twinjets can travel, enough to get between Istanbul and Melbourne.

In Summary

While specific details about the inaugural flights and the potential addition of Sydney are still unfolding, Turkish Airlines’ entry into the Australian market is eagerly anticipated. Turkish Airlines Chairman Bolat’s long-held ambition to connect Istanbul and Australia is underscored by the airline’s success in carrying passengers between the two regions through codeshare agreements and the move to bolster this with a Melbourne route has been expected. 

However, though the airline recently made a significant US $ 40 billion purchase to expand its impressive fleet, they have yet to formally apply for fifth freedom rights, leaving the specific route details uncertain. As such, it is unclear whether the route will be operational by the late March timeline that Bolat recently proposed.

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