Turkish Airlines to announce launch of Australian flights

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

Turkish Airlines intends to formally announce the start of flights between Australia and Istanbul this week, with Melbourne set to see the Star Alliance member’s debut by December – although there’s a chance Sydney could soon follow.

Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat will fly to Australia this week to join a ‘gala dinner event’ held on Friday evening at Melbourne’s Crown Towers, where he’s expected to reveal the official start date and schedule for Istanbul-Melbourne flights.

Bolat has previously suggested to Aviation Week those flights would initially run three days a week “and with a stop in Singapore.”

The Istanbul-Australia route is expected to rely on a Turkish Airlines Airbus A350 or Boeing 787, which each have around 30 flatbed business class seats in the same design as Singapore Airlines’ ‘regional business class’.

Turkish Airlines already has daily flights to Singapore, where it uses Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 the same terminal as used by Qantas and Emirates, among others with the long leg between Singapore and Istanbul taking around 11 hours, and a total Melbourne-Istanbul travel time of 21 hours including that Singapore stopover.

However, Bolat eventually hopes to launch non-stop Istanbul-Australia flights using a forthcoming order of ultra-long range jets from Airbus or Boeing.

“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 shared via LinkedIn following a visit by a Victorian delegation to Istanbul back in April.

But while that remains some years away, for now “it’s time to show the Turkish Airlines logo in Australia.”

Bolat says his ambition to connect Istanbul and Australia is a long-held one, noting 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, with scores of convenient connections spearing out from Istanbul across Europe, the UK and Africa.

For stopovers at Turkiye’s impressive new Istanbul Airport between six and 24 hours, the airline offers two free packages for exploring the sprawling city, which straddles both Europe and Asia on either side of the Bosporus: a choice between eight city tours, and a more comprehensive Stopover in Istanbul program including a complimentary stay of up to two nights in a five-star hotel.

Turkish Airlines is held in high regard by business class travellers, with one highlight of the journey being “restaurant quality” gourmet meals prepared by the airline’s signature Flying Chefs – and yes, they’re actual chefs, not cabin crew wearing a fancy hat.

The airline’s A350 and Boeing 787 flatbed business class seats are arranged 1-2-1 to provide privacy and direct aisle access for every passenger, with an 18-inch video screen plus free inflight WiFi.

Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul Airport hub features two stunning lounges – one for business class travellers, the other for frequent flyers holding Elite and Elite Plus status in Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles program (and their Star Alliance Gold equivalents).

Top-tier frequent flyers with Qantas, Emirates, Etihad Airways and any member of the Oneworld and SkyTeam alliances can apply for a Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles status match to obtain up to 12 months as a Miles&Smiles Elite tier member, unlocking practical perks such as lounge access, a higher checked luggage allowance and the use of priority lanes at Istanbul Airport.


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