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TURKISH AIRLINES: December start for flights to Australia

TURKISH AIRLINES: December start for flights to Australia

Turkish Airlines claims to have one of the most extensive destinations lists of any airline, with one glaring omission – Australia. Not any more. From December 2023 Turkish plans to start flights from Singapore direct to Melbourne or Sydney. Over the next decade, it plans direct ultra-long flights from Istanbul.

Back in June 2023, Turkish Airlines announced that it intended to service Australia. We have a little more detail after an event in Melbourne last Friday, and an interview with ET. But there are still a lot of question marks.

Turkish Airlines A330
[Turkish Airlines]


Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance network. And you can currently book tickets between most Australian capital cities and Istanbul. However, because Turkish Airlines currently doesn’t fly into Australia, you will travel on a different airline between Australia and Asia. Transit cities could include Bangkok, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, or Singapore. And the corresponding partner airlines might include Garuda, Malindo Air, Qantas or Thai Airways.

Travelling on Turkish Airlines, Australia and Istanbul in Business, mid-August, a return fare is AU$ 8,500, Economy at AU$ 3,200. There are cheaper and arguably better options. Having recently experienced Oman Air in Business class, I would go with the AU$ 5,668 Malaysian/Oman Air option below:

a screenshot of a website

Friday’s announcement

Turkish Airlines plans to fly into either Melbourne or Sydney from Singapore with a Boeing 787, three times/week. Which city will be decided in mid-August with flights on sale soon after, to start in mid-December 2023.

Turkish will seek ‘fifth-freedom’ rights to sell Singapore to Australia leg as a separate fare. The Chairman, Ahmet Bolat thinks that will be crucial to the economics of the route.

Flights will gradually increase to five days, and then daily over an expected period of two years. Turkish Airlines won’t start servicing the second Australian capital city until flights are running daily to their first chosen destination.

Turkish Airlines already flies daily to Singapore using Terminal 1.

The eventual aim – meaning in the next decade, is to fly direct between Istanbul and Australia direct. They will choose between an Airbus A350-1000ULR, (direct route is five years), or the yet-to-be-launched Boeing 777X, (seven years away.

A lot can change in close to a decade . . .

Sufi whirling dervishes, Istanbul
Whirling Sufi dervishes, Istanbul [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Turkish Airlines Cabins

Their Boeing 787s have 30 flatbed business class seats using the same ‘regional business class’ design as used in some Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A350s and Boeing 787-10s. Turkish Airlines’ business class service is highly regarded due in part to their onboard chefs – who are actual chefs as opposed to flight attendants with Toques.

For your 21-odd-hour flight between Australia and Istanbul, their Boeing 787 have flatbed business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration providing privacy and direct aisle access. The seats also come with an 18-inch video screen and free wifi.


Miles&Smiles is the frequent flyer loyalty program run by Turkish Airlines. You can request a status match by signing up for the Miles&Smiles program and then requesting the match on the airlines’ Feedback page. You may be eligible if you have Emirates Skywards Gold or Platinum, Etihad Airways Guest Gold or Platinum, OneWorld Emerald, or SkyTeam Elite Plus,

Business Class checkin sign at Istanbul airport
[Adobe Stock]

2PAXfly Takeout

This is great news for those of us who want to travel to Türkiye – formerly known as Turkey, and even better news for the expatriate Turkish community.

The rollout of this new route is justifiably cautious, and allowing one route to a single Australian capital city which in my opinion will be Melbourne – is just sensible. Melbourne Airport operates 24 hours and doesn’t have the slot restrictions of Sydney.

On the stated timeline, if they commence a Sydney route, the Western Sydney International Airport, slated for a 2026 opening, might also be a possible destination.

I’m not so confident about the direct flights. That option, I think will depend on the success of rival Qantas’ whole Sunrise Project. If that proves successful, it may indicate an international trend to direct ultra-long-range flights, rather than the wheel and spoke model. And that is before adding in the current uncertainty of the Boeing 777X project if that is the aircraft Turkish Airways chooses.


  1. Paul Sheehan

    Qantas just took delivery of “their last” B787-9. Does this mean that they no longer hold options for this type. If so, I can imagine the A350-9 will at some stage join the fleet as well as the -1000. That would be good from an operational point of view with pilots being able to operate both Airbus types, thereby reducing cost of operations.

    • 2paxfly

      Paul, thanks for your comment. Yes, it does look like Qantas (bar the B787 Dreamliners), is turning into an Airbus outfit. As you say, the upside is the efficiencies in operations. The downside is that they are beholden to one manufacturer and their faults. I would speculate that Qantas may choose to keep some Boeing product in its inventory. As to options, they originally had 115 in 2005. Where they stand now, I don’t know. Here is what they say, and SimplyFlying tends to agree with you about the end of the Boeiing order.


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