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.
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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.
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.
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.