Turkish Airlines plans flights to Sydney or Melbourne this year

The Star Alliance member will connect Istanbul to Australia via Asia, with non-stop flights to follow.

By David Flynn, April 28 2023
Turkish Airlines plans flights to Sydney or Melbourne this year

Turkish Airlines intends to launch flights from Istanbul to either Sydney or Melbourne by the end of 2023, with plans to serve both cities as the market develops – and right now, Melbourne appears to be the front-runner.

“We think it’s time to show the Turkish Airlines logo in Australia,” Chairman Ahmet Bolat remarked overnight following a visit from an Australian delegation including Victoria’s Governor.

“Among the topics we discussed at our meeting, the inclusion of Australian cities in our ever-expanding flight network was the foremost, and we focused on Melbourne in particular.”

“If the delivery of our new generation wide-body aircraft is done as promised by the manufacturers, we aim to start with three flights a week from Istanbul to Sydney or Melbourne before the end of 2023.” 

Those flights would involve a stopover in Asia – Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore are considered the most likely candidates – and would rely on either the Airbus A350 or Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Non-stop flights to follow

But Bolat hopes to eventually skip the stopover and launch non-stop Istanbul-Sydney and Istanbul-Melbourne flights using a forthcoming order of ultra-long range jets.

“Our main goal is to fly directly to both Sydney and Melbourne every day, with the production of a new generation of ultra-long-range aircraft,” he stated. “If aircraft manufacturers do not increase their productivity, we have another five years for that.”

“We need to see the Boeing 777X or Airbus A350-1000’s proof of its maturity,” Bolat remarked in June 2022 at the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association.

“Whenever we make a decision on one of those aircraft, it will be the right one at the right time. Let’s see how both types develop. We don’t need to be a launch customer.”

Bolat aims to bring to fruition Turkish Airlines’ long-held ambition to connect Istanbul to Australia, noting that the airline “carried 120,837 passengers in 2019 and 118,847 passengers in 2022 with airlines with codeshare agreements from Australia, where we do not have direct flights yet.”

This hints at the untapped potential for Turkish Airlines to add Australia to its network map.

“Both Sydney and Melbourne are two beautiful cities that have a great contribution to our country and our company.”

“Flying to these destinations, even if via connecting, will increase the quality of service we offer and reduce our ‘profit’ a little. Despite this, in December of this year, there was a certain will in the senior management to increase the number of continents under our wings to six.”

In announcing plans for flights between Turkey and Australia, Bolat also cited “the rapid development of cooperation opportunities between the two countries in areas such as tourism, trade and education”

Turkish Airlines is generally held in high regard by business class travellers and offers an extensive network from its Istanbul hub.

As previously reported by Executive Traveller, another appealing twist on the popular Kangaroo Route will take wing by mid-2024 with the launch of direct flights between Tel Aviv and Melbourne by Israeli airline El Al, creating the first non-stop link between Israel and Australia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2017

Total posts 30

It will be lovely to see Turkish Airlines do direct flights to Australia, but what I am reading from this article is really nothing too substantial from Turkish Airlines.    I will believe it when I see it, regarding Turkish Airlines.   They keep saying they are interested in the Australian market, but they keep delaying it.   If they are really interested in the Australian market, why don't they do a one stop to Istanbul, via some south-east asian port, then onto Istanbul with the aircraft they CURRENTLY have.     They keep delaying so I no longer believe them.    In contrast, look at Fiji Airways.   A different market I know, but within 3 days from when they announced a service between Canberra and Nadi, they had fares to buy on all the booking engines, starting from July (this year).   Firm dates and firm commitment.   Media here in Canberra were reporting on the weekend that Fiji Airways received a whopping 3,000 bookings within the first few hours that the schedules became available.   The international market out of Canberra has been overlooked and under-estimated for ages.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 393

That "one-stop via some south-east asian port" is what the article mentions, TK has looked at using existing aircraft to go via Jakarta, Bali, KL, Singapore. I think I recall that s sticking point was they wanted to be able to sell just Asia-Sydney leg on its own, eg Jakarta-Sydney or KL-Sydney, as this would help boost the route's revenue and profitability.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 534

It would be good for Turkish Airlines to offer flights through a SE Asian city and an Australian port of entry that is currently underserved to begin with, such as say, Istanbul-Bangkok-Brisbane or Istanbul-Kuala Lumpur-Brisbane, in addition to Istanbul-Sydney direct (or if a stopover is still necessary in the meantime) Istanbul-Bangkok (or Jakarta)-Sydney. There is no need for any more Singapore stopovers as there are already too many of those, but a stopover in Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali or Kuala Lumpur would be ideal. For flights to Perth, Turkish Airlines can fly direct without needing to offer a stopover. 

If there's enough demand then sure but I reckon SYD and MEL would have to be first, they are the larger cities and would have a much bigger Turkish population too. I agree that a stop over in Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok or Jakarta would be better than Singapore, that market is already saturated.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1193

Brisbane is unlikely.  The largest Turkish diaspora in Australia is in Sydney followed by Melbourne so it will definitely be one of those cities that appear first.  I assume MEL is favoured currently due to curfew issues making SYD less attractive otherwise I would have expected SYD to be the TH's first Australian destination.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1193

Perth direct doesn't really achieve anything.  The Turkish population in Australia is concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne and TK can already offer a one-stop connection on Star partner SQ via SIN so there is no obvious advantage in swapping a transfer to SQ in SIN for a transfer to VA in PER. 

15 Jun 2018

Total posts 8

I agree that Perth would be a great connection for Turkish Airlines to then act as a feeder hub for them - all with existing aircraft type.

That would all depend on agreements with Virgin to be be successful - which avoiding is perhaps a primary reason a ultra long long haul to Sydney even if it relies on future aircraft. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jul 2016

Total posts 11

Love to have Turkish Airline fly to Australia. The best food in the skies!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jul 2016

Total posts 11

Love to have Turkish Airlines fly to Australia. Best food in the skies.

Aegean Airlines - Miles & Bonus

16 Jul 2019

Total posts 20

Jakarta would make sense. Indonesia and Turkey are both large muslim countries with close business ties. I've flown TK from Jakarta to Istanbul a few times and the flight was full. If they flew an extension to from Syd/Mel that could work - if they had the 5th Freedom rights to sell tickets from Aus to Jakarta as well as to Turkey and beyond. 

Ultimately though - TK would want to fly direct to IST without the costs of stopping over en-route. Those stopovers increase, for example, crew costs significantly with crew away from home base for much longer. A direct to IST would also let it compete with Emirates, Qatar and Eithad and therefore be able to charge a fare premium, especially in Business, to corporates looking for 1 stop flights to Europe. I can't see TK winning much corporate business in Oz offering 2 stops to everywhere expect Istanbul?  


Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Oct 2014

Total posts 5

Turkish flights from Sydney and Melbourne will only work when they are non stop.

But when they are,the Gulf carriers will have to watch it-TK flies to plenty of cities in Germany France & Italy which the Gulf carriers don’t.

As an aside, looking at a Star Alliance RTW trip via South America the quickest journey was using TK from SIN & IST.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 452

the question mark is would it work.SQ have been doing these services through Singapore for close to 36 years or late 1987 with a change of plane and a decent transit.for anywhere else beyond Istanbul Turkish can provide a feeder to a lot of places Singapore Airlines does not do in their own right.


07 Jan 2016

Total posts 18

It would be good to have more seats on offer and bring fares down to a more reasonbale price. But I belive it when I see it

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

29 Apr 2023

Total posts 2

flew turkish business class last year to europe and in and out of turkey, super impressed with the service seat and food.. also the new airport in Istanbul is amazing... love this airline..

29 Apr 2023

Total posts 1

The Gallipoli tourism is quite considerable. Direct to Istanbul would be a substantial aid to the journey there.


19 Jun 2013

Total posts 60

Would be nice if it ever happens, given their connections to so many smaller cities in Europe. Along with ElAl to MEL, TK flights to Oz are modern Mid-Eastern mythology. And no, I don’t believe the pandemic or lack of it would have made a difference. 

Although their Biz-cl fares are very competitive, I wish they’d bring back a PY cabin, like they used to have on their 77Ws. 

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

19 Jul 2014

Total posts 30

Bring it on I say. A great airline I have flown many times and we need more competition. Istanbul is and amazing city as is Turkey as a country. I welcome TK to our skies.


03 May 2013

Total posts 667

Unless TK's fares are at the level of QF/CX -AY/RJ levels, I cant see how attractive initial flights with a stopover will be. That will mean a 2 stop flight if your final destination is other than IST. I've also heard of some dodgy things/workers at IST despite the physical terminal being world class.

01 Sep 2018

Total posts 2

Actually, initially it will all be about supporting a second service into an existing port or extend the DPS service onto Melbourne.  The revpar on this sector is greater than CGKMEL which is heavy on VFR. It will also enable TK to increase DPS flights to daily without significant scheduling change. 

If it was CGK, SIN or KUL it would be about supporting & increasing their morning IST service. This would mean a 01:00 departure ex MEL arriving IST late afternoon to connect beyond and an arrival back into MEL late afternoon too. 

The issue will be 5th freedom traffic rights. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jul 2014

Total posts 60

A fifth-freedom service between MEL and DPS on a TK widebody would hold significant appeal ...

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