Turkish Airlines wants Istanbul-Sydney flights by June 2019

By David Flynn, September 18 2018
Turkish Airlines wants Istanbul-Sydney flights by June 2019

Turkish Airlines is putting Australia back on its route map, with the airline's CEO confirming plans to launch flights to Sydney next year.

Speaking today at the annual Corporate Club business travel conference in Istanbul, as reported by Airways Magazine, Turkish Airlines Chairman İlker Aycı said the Star Alliance member planned to begin flying to Sydney by June 2019. "It’s going to happen," Ayci affirmed.

It's believed the route could be flown by the airline's new Boeing 787s, which will also see the debut of an all-new business class seat with a 1-2-1 layout for direct aisle access and a strong focus on privacy. Unfortunately, there will be no Turkish Airlines Comfort Class offerings for such a long flight, as the class has been discontinued. 

Read: Turkish Airlines' all-new business class for Boeing 787, Airbus 350

Speaking with Australian Business Traveller earlier this month, Turkish Airlines Chief Marketing Officer Ahmet Olmuştur said "we would like to start direct flights to Sydney as soon as possible, as you may know."

"We are still working on some solution methods to start flights directly to there in a most optimal way. If we do not able to reach such an ideal solution in our short-term planning, which is our priority, we may focus on connecting flights."

With Turkish Airlines already flying from Istanbul to Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, one of those routes could act as stopover for an add-on leg through to Sydney, although the airline could also bite the bullet on non-stop flights.

Sydney has long been an on-again off-again destination for Turkish Airlines. In June 2015, then-CEO Temel Kotil told Australian Business Traveller that flights between Istanbul and Sydney would begin in June 2016, with Melbourne to follow. "We are coming, and that's final," Kotil enthused. However, in February 2016 the airline pushed back on those plans.

Turkish Airlines has been approached for comment on this latest executive announcement.


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.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 383

'Direct flights' means 'one or more stops', not a nonstop flight.

Apparently this airline flies to more international destinations than any other: some 121 I read this week.

I have used IST: unless it's changed, nothing special. A long immigration queue to get into Turkey from a lunchtime arrival: the only other airport I've had a similarly long wait in was BKK (prior to Smartgates, MEL and SYD, MEL especially came close).

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2547

We use ‘direct flights’ in the most logical and commonsense manner as understood by most people - meaning direct from A to B, not A to B with a stopover halfway along. Whether this flight (a) actually happens, and (b) is non-stop or has a stopover, remains to be seen :)

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 60

Istanbul’s new airport is opening on 31 October and it will be huge. So expecting better processing times.

As for the routing, the 787 might just make it to the east coast of Oz.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 15

The new airport in IST opens next month ,which is a added bonus.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 383

I’m not convinced how they will make yields works on separate IST-SIN/BKK-SYD/MEL sectors. It’s a tough game. In this day and age they really need IST-SYD/MEL non stop to compete seriously and make the yield work.

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 383

Good [point. As an adjunct, remember the days when some foreign airlines used to come in, do the SYD - MEL or v.v. domestic leg and depart for o/s? The days of triangular routing have gone.

What if any restrictions on payload would TK need for IST - MEL, for instance?

07 Mar 2017

Total posts 55

...Except for Singapore Air.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 May 2014

Total posts 49

I’ll believe it when I see it.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 May 2013

Total posts 354

My sentiments exactly.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 117

I agree. 3 years they’re coming and ‘it’s final’ yet there’s no TK tail to be seen. This is also where their previous 773 with Comfort class would have done well. They also had amazing pricing for that product ex Asia.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 May 2011

Total posts 363

Wish it were Lufthansa coming back

12 Aug 2017

Total posts 76

Unlikely. The current political climate here is against immigration so European airlines might not see a bright future.

14 Jan 2016

Total posts 5

Here we go again, must be that time of the year again 😂

Asiana Airlines - Asiana Club

09 Feb 2017

Total posts 41

IST-SYD is barely 500 km longer than LHR-PER (and IST-MEL barely 200 km longer), plus SYD has many more diversion options than PER so one could predict that IST-MEL/SYD would need less reserve fuel. The prospect isn't too far away ...

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Sep 2012

Total posts 221

Not entirely out of topic, but the Turkish livery looks good on the 787. The text could use an update though.

13 Nov 2015

Total posts 50

With a new IST airport, and TK's excellent service and network, I can't see this route being a big seller. With BA's non-stop to LHR and many not wanting a really long haul, but are content to transit DXB or SIN to break it up. Add the political, economic and security instability in Turkey and it's a bad time to think about expansion - save to the Middle East and other dangerous areas of the globe. If they fly to Oz will be interesting if they tie up with Qantas or Virgin for the domestic onward flights.

06 Jan 2013

Total posts 9

Aviation and tourism in Turkey right now are booming and are recovering very quickly from the 2016 annus horribilus.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Aug 2014

Total posts 74

Great news again,

I have done a few flight with them in J class and it is great, sure to ruffle a few feathers if it dose happen...


03 May 2013

Total posts 655

Very good average airline. Great food . Hard product will be good witu new ac 1-2-1 in J. They will have nothing on Emirates or Qatar though.

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1175

I have flown TK and found them to be excellent with great service and modern planes. The only issue was Ataturk Airport is a complete zoo leading to long queues and delays. The new airport will hopefully overcome these problems.

30 Sep 2011

Total posts 46

The new Istanbul airport has been delayed at least till Jan 19. There are also major delays in the way the airport's change over. It now looks like a domestic airport (new) and international at the existing airport. Cross town transfers are now on cards! European are classified as domestic!

Qatar Airways

06 Jul 2016

Total posts 48

I was tempted by a low J fare on TK last year but was very disappointed and won't fly them again. Seats (2-2-2 onA330), crew, food and wine were all well below my preferred QR

01 Jun 2017

Total posts 15

Direct dash (IST - SYD) is the likely way to go as even Emirates has ditched DXB - KUL - MEL due to passengers dread the fact needing to do an extra stop over in Asia. Similarly, Qatar also does direct dash darting between Doha and the Australian cities. As a start, perhaps to do a stopover in one of the Asian cities would be a good test just like what Emirates did. Good thing about doing a stopover despite introduces more complication to the flight in terms of booking, and crew management it can fill up the flight. Between CGK, BKK, SIN, KUL, I would say CGK and KUL would be better choices because BKK and SIN have too much competition with Emirates operating on A380s (DXB - BKK - SYD and DXB - SIN - MEL).

20 Sep 2018

Total posts 1

My wife and I flew Turkish Airlines Business Class for the first time in Aug/Sept 2018 from Hong Kong to Malaga Spain return as layover in Honk Kong on way back to Sydney.

Absolutely fantastic experience and will definitely use again where available.
The short, last leg flight from Istanbul to Malaga was equally as good in every aspect despite the smaller aircraft.
Not only wonderful on board staff, the food was the best ever experienced from any airline and that includes their Business Class Lounge.
Looking very forward to new route in 2019 as our preferred airline for the yearly visit to our new holiday home in Spain.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 191

sure-the Turkish economy is in tatters-they built a new airport in the middle of nowhere for mega billions-try to compete with EK with much less planes and money-will be a miracle if they can pull this out from the shrinking magic hat!

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 191

the airport project alone should have been built in a decade but Erdogan's pet project was hurried up in 40 month for 22 billion pound at least-27 workers died-officially so far....


05 Apr 2018

Total posts 1

So is this really going to happen this year 2019?

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