Turkish Airlines plans to begin flights between Istanbul and Sydney next year, with Melbourne to follow, airline CEO Temel Kotil has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.
The flights are slated to take off in the northern summer, “in June”, Kotil said. “We are coming, and that’s final.”
Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta and even the Maldives – all currently served by Turkish Airlines – are shortlisted as the stopover cities, with Turkish abandoning hopes of a non-stop flight of some 17 hours.
However, Kotil says a cap imposed by aviation authorities on flights between Turkey and Australia would prevent the airline running a daily schedule.
“Under the current arrangement we can (fly to) Sydney three times a week only, and Melbourne could be twice a week only” Kotil said, on the sidelines of a gathering of Star Alliance airline CEOs in Warsaw.
“We are asking the authorities to make them daily, because less than daily doesn’t make sense. Hopefully by next summer, the civil evaluation (authorities) will have solved the problem and we can be daily to Sydney, and Melbourne will follow.”
Kotil did not reveal if the route would be flown by the airline’s flagship Boeing 777-300ER.
Regarded as one of Europe’s best airlines, Turkish Airlines has previously been cautious about the impact of the Qantas-Emirates partnership on its long-wished-for Sydney-Istanbul flights, but “demand for Australia to Turkey is very high” Kotil says.
Both routes aim to deliver travellers within one flight of most European cities, although Turkish Airlines’ Istanbul hub would call for significantly shorter hops than Dubai.