Despite earlier intentions to launch daily flights to just one city before expanding to the other, Turkish Airlines has stated that it might start flying to Sydney and Melbourne in early 2024.
“We are allowed seven flights per week to Australia,” Turkish Airlines chairman Ahmet Bolat said last week at a media meeting announcing the fleet increase resulting from the Airbus order for 355 aircraft.
“We need to finalize the procedures, which may take a few more weeks. We may launch flights to Sydney and Melbourne in a very short time.”
The airline had hoped to begin such flights in December 2023, but the Australian government took too long to respond to their application.
Bolat has also confirmed that it is in talks with Airbus to buy 355 planes, with deliveries from 2026 to 2036.
Rumour has it that a record-breaking purchase of up to one hundred long-range Airbus A350 planes is in the works. Out of this order, fifteen A350-1000s might operate nonstop service between Istanbul, Melbourne, and Sydney.
Qantas’ planned nonstop marathons connecting Sydney and Melbourne to London and New York are based on the A350-1000. However, the planes will have an extra fuel tank and a lighter premium seating arrangement than regular A350-1000 jets to cover the 17,000 kilometres between the two cities.
Nevertheless, the conventional A350-1000 can more than cover the 15,000 kilometres between Sydney/Melbourne and Istanbul, particularly considering that Airbus has since increased the twinjet’s range to over 16,500 km.
Bolat notes that connecting Istanbul and Australia has long been his desire, stating the airline “carried 120,837 passengers in 2019 and 118,847 passengers in 2022 with code-share agreements from Australia, where we do not have direct flights yet.”