ISTANBUL- The Australian Government has thrown a wrench into Turkish Airlines (TK) plans to initiate flights to Melbourne, Australia, in December. The airline has revealed that it has yet to receive any response to its application submitted to both the federal Transport Minister and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
As a result, it seems that the Star Alliance carrier will not be able to commence its eagerly anticipated service linking Istanbul and Australia until early 2024.
Turkish Airlines Delays Australia Flight
Ahmet Halid Kutluoglu, the Australian manager for Turkish Airlines, conveyed this information during a Senate committee hearing regarding air service agreements.
As reported by The Australian, he stated, “To this day, we have not received a response. It has been 45 days since we submitted our plans to begin flights to Australia, starting with Melbourne and later Sydney. This delay has regrettably prevented us from launching Istanbul-Melbourne flights in December as originally planned.”
“Our initial intention was to commence operations in December, but at this point, it appears unfeasible.”
“The need for a prompt response is crucial in aviation since planning is at the core of everything. We must allocate aircraft for the upcoming season. Without a confirmed start date, we are compelled to assign these aircraft to other routes, making it challenging to reverse these decisions,” he elaborated.
Flights to Sydney and Melbourne
Turkish Airlines had initially aimed to inaugurate its Istanbul-Australia flight route in “mid-December of this year,” as revealed by Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat in a late July interview with Executive Traveller.
While in discussions with Sydney and Melbourne, Melbourne was consistently favored as the leading contender for the initial phase, with plans for “three flights per week via Singapore utilizing our Boeing 787 aircraft.”
Bolat’s vision includes eventually increasing flight frequency to five times per week before transitioning to a daily flight schedule, with the ultimate strategic goal being daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne.
Turkish Airlines Boeing 787 aircraft are equipped with 30 flatbed business class seats, designed like Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A350 and Boeing 787-10 ‘regional business class.’
It’s noteworthy that Turkish Airlines already operates daily flights to Singapore, utilizing Terminal 1 at Changi Airport—the same terminal used by Qantas, Emirates, and other carriers.
During the Singapore layover, business class passengers and Elite and Elite Plus members of the airline’s Miles & Smiles rewards program and their counterparts with Star Alliance Gold status will have the opportunity to relax at T1’s SATS Lounge.
The extended journey segment between Singapore and Istanbul spans approximately 11 hours, resulting in 21 hours for passengers traveling from Melbourne or Sydney to Istanbul, including the stopover in Singapore.
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