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TURKISH AIRLINES: Istanbul to Melbourne – March 15 start confirmed

TURKISH AIRLINES: Istanbul to Melbourne – March 15 start confirmed

Starting with three Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights per week via Singapore, Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines will be flying to Australia for the first time. Melbourne will be its first destination in Australia, with a stop in Singapore on the way.

Turkish Airlines has more destinations than any other airline. A revised air services agreement between Australia and Türkiye has made the route possible. Initially it provides for 21 flights per week to Australia, and over time expands to 35 by October 2025.

However, the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners they will use, will have to make a stop in Singapore. Unlike the Dreamliners that Qantas use on the Perth to London route – which is of roughly similar distance, Turkish Airlines 787-9s have much greater passenger density. Qantas Dreamliners are premium heavy with a total of 236 seats, while Turkish 787s have 300 seats.

At some stage when Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines takes delivery of its ordered ultra-long-range Airbus A350-1000s it will be able to fly the Istanbul to Melbourne route directly.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey 2008 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey 2008 [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

The flights, departure and arrival times

Below are the initial flight timings for the 19 to 21 hour journey between Türkiye and Australia, with the first flight out of Istanbul on 15 March, and the return from Melbourne the next day, 16 March.

  • TK168 departs Istanbul at 5:30 pm (Mon, Wed and Fri), arrives Singapore 8:50 am +1 day;
    Departs Singapore at 10:20 am arrives Melbourne 8.40 pm.
  • TK169 departs Melbourne 10:30 pm (Tue, Thu and Sat) arrives Singapore 3:00 am;
    Departs 4:30 am, arrives Istanbul, 11:15 am +1 day.
a man and woman in uniform standing in an airplane
Cabin Crew, Business Class, Turkish Airlines [Turkish Airlines]

Sydney next?

The flights to Melbourne do not preclude an expansion of the route to Sydney. The revised air services agreement lists Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and the new Western Sydney airport (opening in 2026) as possible Australian destinations s well as Melbourne.

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

Fifth Freedom rights

The revised air services agreement also gives Turkish Airlines the write to sell single legs of its Istanbul to Melbourne, via the Singapore route. So, it could sell just Istanbul to Singapore or Singapore to Melbourne – in both directions, opening up another option for those travelling between Melbourne and Singapore. The latter route is already serviced by Emirates, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, and low-cost carriers Jetstar and Scoot.

a group of rock formations
Fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, Türkiye [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Lounge Access

Premium passengers and Star Alliance Gold members will have access to the Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand lounges in Melbourne. In Singapore it will be the T1, SATS Lounge. In Istanbul, passengers will have access to Turkish Airlines own lounges before they move on to additional destinations.

The library at Ephesus, Turkey [Schuetz/2PAXfly]
The library at Ephesus, Türkiye [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

2PAXfly Takeout

Turkish Airlines has a great reputation for service, notably in Business and First cabins. Their on-board chefs – who are actual chefs – raise the standards of their meal service.

With a new Business Class ‘Crystal’ cabin product to be installed on their ultra-long-haul Airbus A350-1000s, this service is one to watch. It has the potential to make Istanbul a ‘hub’ alternative to the Middle East for those travelling to Europe or elsewhere in what we used to call Asia Minor. Think, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Crete and Cyprus.

Can’t wait to try this route.


  1. derek

    Is local Singapore-Melbourne traffic allowed on this flight? SIN-MEL timing is ok but MEL-SIN timing is terrible.

    • 2paxfly

      Yes, you can purchase the Singapore-Melbourne leg separately, as a fifth freedom rights granted to Turkish Airlines as part of the air rights agreement allowing the route. 3 am arrival in Singapore = bracing!


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