Turkish Airlines eyes flights from Istanbul to Sydney, Melbourne

By David Flynn, July 8 2016
Turkish Airlines eyes flights from Istanbul to Sydney, Melbourne

Turkish Airlines is considering flying to Sydney and Melbourne via Bali, to tap into the Australian penchant for travel to the Indonesian island as well as beyond to its home hub of Istanbul.

While keen to extend its reach to Australia, the route has been an on-again off-again exercise over the past few years.

In June 2015 Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil announced plans to fly to Sydney by mid-2016 and even began advertising for Sydney-based staff positions, until the airline put those plans on ice.

However, Kotil now says that both Istanbul-Sydney and Istanbul-Melbourne routes are being examined, with a stop-over at Denpasar rather than the previously flagged pit-stops at Singapore, Bangkok or Jakarta.

Speaking to The Centre for Aviation, Kotil also raised the possibility of eventually establishing a 'mini-hub' in Bali, with several daily flights spearing out to popular Australian cities while also feeding primary Bali-Istanbul services.

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 502

I'm personally taking this with a grain of salt but will be interesting to see what happens next.

A grain is too modest. Talk of this happening keeps coming back like herpes.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Jan 2015

Total posts 35

Well my first thought if this were ever to happen is they better make sure the security of baggage , transiting passengers etc etc is absolutely air tight - enough said.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2015

Total posts 121

I read in the news that the government had taken steps to improve airport security. A special police force with machine guns and guard dogs is now on duty 24/7 around the terminal, which is good, BUT it still does not solve the overall security problem of the country itself.

27 Jul 2014

Total posts 1

Where do i apply for a position? 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Mar 2014

Total posts 38

Does Australia to Bali really need any more capacity...?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Feb 2014

Total posts 443

I could see Brisbane, but not much else.

Perth is overserved with up to 10 flights a day.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

19 Mar 2014

Total posts 567

Sydney definitely does, especially full service. Garuda is the only option at present.

11 Jul 2016

Total posts 2

AirAsia will withdraw their Bali flights to Sydney and Melbourne from September.  

07 Feb 2016

Total posts 21

Bali-Australia will be competitive for Turkish Airlines or any sixth freedom carrier. Maybe they can re-visit the previous Singapore or Bangkok options which have a premium advantage over Bali. Even a nonstop service could be evaluated with long range aircrafts (like the Airbus A350-900ULR and Boeing 777-8) as well as connections to the scores of destinations that THY serves in Europe.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Dec 2013

Total posts 16

If they want to join the competion of Kangaroo Route, they must fly direct to Istanbul. If not, Dubai, Abudabi, Singapore, and Hong Kong will be a better option for customers.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2015

Total posts 121

I agree. I'm sure they would if they could, but, currently, they do not have the aircraft that is capable of flying the distance. My guess is that they are betting on their lower cost base in order to lure customers.

If I were TK I'd focus on OW hubs like KUL, HKG or NRT/HND. There is pretty much no like for like competition outside of OW for these hubs. SIN is a silly place to compete from; SQ and QF will hammer you. I'm not sure how good yields are from BKK or CGK. You're going to tarnish your brand with DPS. MNL might be a wild card under the old Philippines administration. But I'd wait and see how the Philippines economy fares under the new renegade administration.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621

"If I were TK I'd focus on OW hubs like KUL, HKG or NRT/HND."

Not sure what do U mean by "focus" but anyway fm IST hub, TK has been serving KUL+HKG+NRT nonstop for @ least a decade.  2x daily KUL, daily NRT and 6x wkly HKG as of northern summer 2016.  With NRT and its cargo advantage, HND is less critical and difficult for TK to secure 'pax-friendly' slot anyway.

As for 5th freedom rights to AU for TK to focus on, flat chance fm HKG and Japan for obvious reasons(e.g. neither HK nor Japanese carrier need any similar rights in return fm Turkey/IST...let alone local slot constraints).  TK rights on KUL-AU should be easy to obtain(Don't know why but typically easy between Islamic nations) but not sure how good volume is...especially vs DPS-AU.

"...pretty much no like for like competition outside of OW for these hubs."

If talking about 1-stop AU to Europe, competitive landscape won't change even if TK enter the 5th freedom to AU game @ these 'OW' hubs.....except IST, TK's product will still be 2 stops.

If talking strictly only about OD mkt competition @ these OW hubs to/fm AU:

KUL=Stiff competition in the form of the powerful AirAsiaX.  For such a low volume OD mkt, lack of competition by *A and ST carriers is unsurprising. 

HKG=Stiff competition WITHIN OW in the form of the long war between CX and QF....they're alliance partners pretty much only in theory.  Besides, VA will join the competition nex yr....no bad for such a structurally slot constrained airport.

NRT/HND=May be U forgot these are also *A hubs(In fact, larger than the OW presence there overall) and NH is no small potato?

"SIN is a silly place to compete; SQ and QF will hammer you."

You mean like NRT/HND is as silly a place to compete where JL, QF and NH will hammer TK?  And we've not even accounted for the much longer detour AU-NRT-IST vs AU-SIN/DPS-IST.

"You're going to tarnish your brand with DPS."

Wow, what an absolute insightful declaration.  I'm guessing that's why CX, SQ, EK and QR are all there....seeking downgrade fm their SkyTrax 5* rating.

"MNL might be a wild card..."

It'll be a wild place for TK...with PR, QF and Cebu Pcf all competing on MNL-AU nonstop...

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621

"My guess is that they are betting on their lower cost base...to lure customers"

In contrast, my guess is that for IST-DPS segment, TK is primarily betting on the vastly under-served pax mkt for 1stop to Bali from the majority of 100+ TK European cities.  Even if TK deploy a 77W(its largest @ 349 seats) daily on IST-DPS and connection schedules @ IST hub only makes sense for 50 TK European cities, TK will reach 100% load factor on IST-DPS by just selling an avg of 7 tickets per European city per day heading to Bali....well before any "luring" of customers in Australia start to occur.

For DPS-AU segment, my guess is that TK is primarily betting on Rev$ cargo traffic between AU and Europe..especially if TK deploy a 77W on IST-DPS-SYD or MEL.  Low yield 5th freedom pax traffic will just help to pay the fuel bills of this route segment.

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621

"If they want to join the competion of Kangaroo Route, they must fly direct to Istanbul."

That's the opposite of my conclusion about the core intention/strategy of TK's IST-DPS-AU route plan: I don't think TK currently wish to compete directly in today's Kangaroo mkt(i.e. 1stop between everywhere in Europe and AU cities)...@ least not now and clearly not with IST-DPS-AU.

I believe the priorities/objectives for TK to launch IST-DPS-AU are as below ranked in order of commercial importance:

Top priority=It's really about everywhere in Europe to Bali in 1-stop(i.e. IST).  Just observe how rapidly the Gulf Big3 hv been adding capacity @ DPS in recent yrs to get a clue...TK is trying to catch-up and chances are, TK can due to its European network(e.g. 100+ European cities outside Turkey, 14 in Germany alone, etc.) being far superior than any of the Gulf Big3(Yes, including mighty EK's).  TK is counting mainly on this priority on the main deck for overall route profitability.

Secondary focus=Plug a key AU city into TK's global cargo hub @ IST.  Unlike pax traffic, intercon cargo in the belly don't really mind an extra stop @ DPS.  Ever wonder why it seems to take TK forever to make up its mind re adopting 380 but no trouble @ all for its 77W fleet, with a huge belly for Rev$ cargo, to grow fm zero to 31 in less than 6yrs?  TK is counting on this focus below main deck for overall route profitability.

3rd objective=5th freedom traffic in DPS-AU mkt.  Typically, frequency/schedule is the largest competitive weakness for a 5th freedom operator but this is a low yield, volume leisure mkt where frequency/schedule is least important.  Exit by AirAsiaX also making life easier for TK.  TK's objective here for the DPS-AU segment is simply to breakeven on the main deck.

A distant 4th priority=2stops Kangaroo traffic between AU and Europe.  Just a dessert in the full course meal and a nice to have but volume+fare are definitely not expected to be critical to sustain IST-DPS-AU route.  Fares will be designed to attract bottom-feeders, backpackers, lowest of the low end segment, etc.

10 Aug 2015

Total posts 125

Virgin Australian and Jetstar also serve Bali from Sydney @NZflyer

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 20

How about starting BNE-KUL-IST? Currently there's no nonstop service between KUL and BNE, a monopoly. Way safer bet then flying through Bali to MEL/SYD. It's a great way to get a slice of the Australian market. From the major capitals bar Darwin, Canberra and Hobart there is at least 2 carriers flyng between the capital and Bali. 

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1245

And there is data suggesting strong demand for BNE-KUL flights?

11 Jul 2016

Total posts 2

Darwin does have two carriers going to Bali. 

BUT I do I like your thinking about BNE-KUL.   

31 Mar 2016

Total posts 621

"..there's no nonstop service between KUL and BNE, a monopoly."

Technically yes but in mkt reality, no, it won't be a monopoly thx to KUL-OOL.  Before we try to claim Brisbane and Gold Coast are 2 independent mkts, consider the followings 1st:  MH used to serve KUL-BNE for decades until the whole carrier went into serious troubles in recent yrs and terminated it.  Hv you ever wondered why BNE is cut while other AU cities are still kept by MH?  It's econ logical to expect MH to keep SYD /MEL /PER-KUL due to their mkt sizes(i.e. big enough to sustain multiple competitors).  But why ADL+DRW are kept while BNE is dropped by MH?  Common sense will say BNE-KUL is a far larger mkt than ADL /DRW-KUL.  I can't help but conclude that AirAsia Group doesn't compete in ADL /DRW-KUL but it does in the Brisbane mkt via OOL-KUL by AirAsiaX.  Sure, MH is a FSC while AirAsiaX is largely a LCC but the fact that no FSC is in that mkt anymore while the LCC is still there means there's insufficient demand for pure FSC flights in the BNE-KUL mkt.....and TK is a pure FSC.

Think of the scenario fm a fare perspective:

OOL-KUL by AirAsiaX = 377seats on its 333 vs

BNE-KUL by TK = 349seats on its 77W

Assuming 333 and 77W hv the same trip op cost(Actually they don't...not even close with 333 being far lower), AirAsiaX can charge 7.5% lower fare per ticket than TK and still being able to cover the same cost as TK's.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 384

In regards to the above, I have read in the financial papers that Air Asia plan to start Brisbane - KL services within the next 6-12 months.

18 Nov 2015

Total posts 118

I flew with Turkish Airlines from London to Tokyo last year, in their premium economy.  Highly recommend it.  The seats were wide and comfortable and it was very good service and food, and they had good reliable wifi.  The downside (and it was pretty significant) was that the cabin temperature was extremely warm, I'm guessing around 25C/26C.  I've since read that it's not uncommon on their flights for the cabin temp to be this high.  It was pretty uncomfortable/sweaty.  When I asked about it they just said that was the normal cabin temp.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

02 Sep 2014

Total posts 17

It's a shame they are removing their Y+ :(

I flew it a few times between HK and IST. In a league of it's own. I remeber flying on Swiss Air back in 2001 in J and it reminded of this seating from then with the reclining seats. 

but TK in AUS will most likely he pushed back for their start date again. 


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 730

The last time I complained about onboard airconditioning I was told it was a matter of opinion... I said it was a matter of fact.  Nothing changed.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 191

sure Istanbul is getting one of the busiest airport not to mention the possible terror threat-who would fly with them I won't for sure

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 502

Fine then, don't fly to London, Brussels, Paris, Madrid, New York because they have all had airport attacks in the past not to mention other more violent attacks. 

And also you can bet Istanbul is the safest civilian airport in the world right now with all the extra security.

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