Connect New World

New Route of the Day (1 March 2024): Turkish Airlines between Istanbul IST and Melbourne

IST-MEL

Turkish Airlines inaugurated flights between Istanbul IST and Melbourne via Singapore on Friday 1 March, marking a historic feat for the carrier as it entered the Australian market and commenced services to its sixth continent. The route will be maintained 3-weekly, departing Istanbul IST on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and continuing its journey from Singapore onwards to Melbourne on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

The airline will deploy a mix of aircraft on the service, initially starting off with the 777-300ER jet and transitioning to the 787-9 from 6 March. From April, the carrier will utilise its 329-seat A350-900 on the route.

Flight TK168 departs Istanbul IST at 17:30 local time, arriving in Singapore at 08.50 local time the following day. It departs the city-state at 10:20 local time, touching down in Melbourne at 20:40 local time. The return service, operating as flight TK169, will leave the Victorian capital at 22:30 local time every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, setting down at Changi Airport at 03:00 local time the following morning. Then at 04.30 local time it’s time for the long leg to Istanbul, where the jet will pull up at 11:15 local time.

What they said

Ahmet Bolat, Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee at Turkish Airlines, said: “Today marks a monumental milestone for Turkish Airlines, as we celebrate the realisation of a long-held ambition- to extend our reach to the Australian continent. This achievement follows meticulous planning and extensive infrastructure developments, symbolising the successful bridging of Istanbul with a new and vibrant continent. The inauguration of our Melbourne route is a testament to our growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region and underscores our unwavering commitment to fostering connections between diverse cultures and communities across the globe.”

Lorie Argus, CEO of Melbourne Airport, added: “Turkish Airlines has an extensive network and flies to more countries than any other airline so this new competitor in the Australian market is fantastic news for consumers. We’ve worked closely with the Victorian State Government to bring Turkish Airlines to Melbourne, and we now look forward to see them growing their services over the coming years. Increased competition helps put downward pressure on prices, which will ensure Victorian residents and businesses can stay connected with family, friends and clients around the world. Melbourne is proudly home to the largest Turkish population in Australia, so we expect these flights will prove particularly popular with people looking to visit friends and relatives.”

Turkish Airlines plans Australia expansion

Turkish Airlines plans to eventually turn its first service to Australia into nonstop flights, once it takes delivery of the A350-1000 aircraft.

Dublin Airport

Turkish Airlines has won approval from the Australian government to serve Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth, and has been initially awarded the possibility to maintain up to 21-weekly flights to the country. From October 2024, the carrier can operate up to 28-weekly rotations to Australia. This will rise to a notable 35-weekly from October 2025.

The Turkish flag carrier has also been granted approval to fly into Sydney’s new airport – Western Sydney Airport – currently under construction, from late 2026.

Turkish Airlines one of two European carriers to serve Australia

With the gradual withdrawal since the 1980s of flights to Australia by European airlines, among them Air France, Alitalia (now ITA Airways), Austrian, JAT Yugoslav Airlines (now Air Serbia), KLM, Lauda Air, Lufthansa, Olympic Airways, and Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines becomes only one of two carriers from the continent to serve Australia, the other being British Airways.

Australia now becomes Turkish Airlines’ 130th country and 346th destination.

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