TURKISH AIRLINES: Flights to Melbourne start delayed
Turkish Airlines has applied to fly into Australia, initially to Melbourne via Singapore. The start was scheduled for December 2023. Doesn’t look like that is going to happen now.
At the Senate Select Committee on Commonwealth Bilateral Air Service Agreements earlier this week (Tuesday 26 September 2023), the Australian Manager for Turkish Airlines, Ahmet Halid Kutluoglu, advised that it was still waiting for news on their application. According to a report in The Australian, Turkish Airlines applied to the Transport Minister Ms King and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority – 45 days ago, and has still not had a response.
Given the need to schedule aircraft, and advertise fares, a December start for the Istanbul to Melbourne route, via Singapore, does not look likely. Expect a delayed start in 2024, presuming that the application is approved. That seems more likely now that this senate inquiry is underway!
“It’s important to have a quick response because in aviation everything is about planning. We need to allocate aircraft for the season but if you don’t have a certain starting date you have to allocate the aircraft elsewhere, you can’t pull it back.”.Ahmet Halid Kutluoglu, Australian Manager for Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines will need Fifth Freedom permissions to make that route economic. Fifth Freedom’ is permission for an airline to market a flight from a destination, other than the airline’s home country. In this case, it would be the ability to sell as a stand alone fare, the Singapore to Melbourne leg.
Turkish Airlines will be a welcome addition to travel options available to Australians. It will be especially competitive when it moves to ultra-long-range flights directly between Australia and Türkiye. The implications of refusing applications like granting additional flights to Qatar Airways is anti-competitive. That’s also the agreed view from witness participants in the current Senate Inquiry.
Qantas, at the recent Senate Inquiry indicated that they would not oppose the application.