With Boeing 787 order, Turkish Airlines once more eyes Australia

By David Flynn, September 22 2017
With Boeing 787 order, Turkish Airlines once more eyes Australia

LATEST | Turkish Airlines intends to launch Istanbul-Sydney flights in mid-2019, using the airline's new Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet and featuring an all-new business class seat.

Speaking at a business travel conference in Istanbul, 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.

Read more: Turkish Airlines wants Istanbul-Sydney flights by June 2019

PREVIOUS | Turkish Airlines has signed on the dotted line for as many as 40 Boeing 787-9 jets, with some of the Dreamliners reportedly bound for Australia.

Regarded as one of Europe's best airlines, the Star Alliance member has both Sydney and Melbourne in its sights, with flights to Istanbul tipped to run via Singapore. 

The deal – which would be worth as much as US$10.5 billion based on list prices, although airlines typically see a discount of at least 40% off the sticker – could reportedly see an initial 10 fixed orders plus options for 30 more jets.

Turkish delight: is another Dreamliner headed 'down under'?
Turkish delight: is another Dreamliner headed 'down under'?

Earlier this week Turkish Airlines Board Manager and Executive Committee President İlker Aycı told Turkish news outlet Hurriyet Daily that the Star Alliance member aims to begin flying to Sydney in 2018.

"We would have started flying to Sydney last year but we had faced many problems such as terror and the coup attempt. Therefore, we had postponed it. Next year, we will fly there for sure."

Aycı also earmarked growth in Asia and "to more points in Latin America" including Mexico City as the airline re-draws its network map.

Turkish Airlines has an on-again off-again relationship with Australian flights, having talked up the route several times over recent years.

In June 2015 Turkish Airlines announced plans to fly to Sydney by mid-2016, with Melbourne to follow – with then-CEO Temel Kotil assuring Australian Business Traveller that "We are coming, and that is final!" – with Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta shortlisted as the stopover cities, the Star Alliance member having abandoned hopes of a non-stop flight of some 17 hours between Istanbul and Sydney.

The airline even began advertising for Sydney-based staff positions, until the airline put its Australian expansion plans on ice.

One year later, Kotil suggested Turkish Airlines could fly to Sydney and Melbourne via Bali, tapping into the Australian penchant for travel to the Indonesian island as well as beyond to its home hub of Istanbul.


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.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1444

Interesting as the could do almost do a non-stop to both cities (or at least SYD), just a tiny bit further than Perth London. They and that would be a good competitor to EK et al on the one stop to Europe (yes I know Turkey is partly in Europe). But it would be a very good hub with a greater reach than even EK. Maybe they are testing the waters with a via Singapore first.

22 Sep 2017

Total posts 63

Melbourne is closer to Istanbul than either SYD or BNE.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 363

TK may have missed the boat with this delay. In the last 12 months we have seen EY going double daily A380 to SYD, QR bringing A380 to both SYD and MEL, EK and SQ increasing frequency. It will be tough for TK to compete in this highly competitive kangaroo route especially if no direct flight to IST can be offered and a subpar 2-2-2 (or 2-3-2 if 777) J product. (And AFAIK, they've also eliminated premium economy, which is a highly popular product for Australian).


14 Nov 2011

Total posts 20

I think this should be a case of believe when you see it. Metal on the ground in SYD or MEL.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2547

Absolutely... the talk is nice but with Turkish Airlines' track record I won't believe this until I see a TK tail sitting on the Sydney Airport tarmac!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 593

I wouldn't fly TK even if someone paid me

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

31 Oct 2016

Total posts 72

Sweet, more seats for us.

Thanks for not driving the price up by buying their tickets!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Oct 2016

Total posts 2

They're my "go to" airline between Asia and Europe, and within Europe. They didn't win European Airline of the Year for 4 years running for nothing. The hard and soft products are superb.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

27 Sep 2017

Total posts 34

Why not? What experience did you have with TK? I'm about to book them to fly to Europe.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Jan 2016

Total posts 61

Outside of those looking to travel to Turkey as a destination or multi-day stop over, not clear where the market is for TK. The ME3 and SQ can get you to pretty much any major in Europe on one stop. And QF now not stopping at all from Perth. Why would I want to 2 stops to Europe?

Until either TK can go direct to IST. Or they discount heavily on the route until they can. I'm not seeing why you would elect TK over so many others.

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 90

Agree. Unless the O&D Turkey traffic is that significant, two stops to Continental Europe is a stretch. Would need to be dollar driven to be competitive.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Apr 2017

Total posts 129

Turkish has a huge reach, and not just Europe - their connections to Africa are invaluable and their pricing is usually very competitive. One stop Sydney (or better yet, Brisbane) to Nouakchott is very appealing to me (usually it's via Seoul and Paris and costs an arm and a leg).

If there pricing is competitive, they'll get the loads here.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1444

TK has a much bigger reach into Europe (served by 737s and A320s) than the ME3 but I agree it would have to be non-stop from Sydney. If that is too far than a non-stop from Brisbane would work for sure. The current airport is a bit crowded so this move may be getting ready for the new Istanbul airport later next year.


03 May 2013

Total posts 655

Having flown them they are all hype. It's a very large operation with wide reach but nowhere near the professionalism of the ME3 or Asian carriers. The food can be excellent in J class but overall its a sub par hard product and average soft product.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 136

I like his honesty about the reasons for the delay, but imagine there’s someone in the PR department right now doing a face-palm.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

22 Jul 2015

Total posts 220

Is it that time of year already, the annual TK announcement of plans to fly here?

30 Oct 2014

Total posts 12

There is also the diminishing appeal of a stopover or longer stay in Istanbul as Turkey becomes increasingly unstable.

04 May 2016

Total posts 34

Yet another Star Alliance airline locally would be welcome. That would bring the total to 12 if I can count. About the same as One World. If only VA would join Star it would complete the set.

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 180

How long have Turkish been saying they will launch flights to Australia now? Yearrrrrrs. I wish they'd just get on with it instead of these constant 'Turkish eyeing Australia' reports.

25 Feb 2017

Total posts 25

Hope the New 787s have 1x2x1 Business Class their current Business Class Configeration is so 20th Century

13 Nov 2015

Total posts 50

TK is a terrific airline, great long-haul J class seat and service! The biggest downside I see in this venture is Istanbul airport (a new one is under construction) being unstable security wise. I flew Europe to Asia on TK J via IST, and days later the murderous attack on the airport took place. Talk about timing. So until the region, Turkey is stable I would not transit there again, along with many other dodgy locations in South Asia, Africa, ME and now Seoul-Incheon given the dramatically heightened tensions. Incheon is only 20 miles as the crow flies from the DMZ and well within target range of MANPAD missiles. Always a thought when I transited there.

In my experience, the TK intraEurope was excellent, however the intercontinental service was not up to the same standard.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2547

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