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Turkish Airlines Celebrates Inaugural Flight to Melbourne, Australia

New flights from Istanbul to Melbourne, via Singapore, takes Turkish Airlines to its sixth continent

by Fergus Cole

March 6, 2024

Photo: Turkish Airlines. Courtesy of Samet Dayı / Unsplash

Turkish Airlines celebrated the launch of its first commercial flight between Istanbul and Melbourne, marking the Turkish flag carrier’s first-ever service to Australia.

The new service’s inaugural flight departed Istanbul Airport (IST) at 5:30 PM on March 1. After a short layover at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), it reached Melbourne Airport (MEL) at around 8:40 PM on March 2. The service is scheduled to operate thrice weekly, departing Istanbul on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Turkish Airlines used a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to operate the initial flight, but from March 6, it will use a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Then, from early April, an Airbus A350-900 will be used to operate the route.

Photo: Turkish Airlines, Boeing 777-300ER. Courtesy of Mohamed Shaffaf / Unsplash

The new service marks a significant expansion of Turkish Airlines’ extensive global network, which spans six continents. Melbourne has become the carrier’s 346th destination, and Australia is its 130th country. Turkish Airlines has also become the only European airline to operate flights to Melbourne.

“Today marks a monumental milestone for Turkish Airlines, as we celebrate the realization of a long-held ambition – to extend our reach to the Australian continent,” said Turkish Airlines chairman Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat. “This achievement follows meticulous planning and extensive infrastructure developments, symbolizing 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. Australia, with its breathtaking landscapes and warm-hearted people, now becomes the 130th country to join our expansive network, signifying our presence across six continents.”

Business Class, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines

Lorie Argus, CEO of Melbourne Airport, also hailed the new route, claiming the new competition will help to bring airfares down for Australians while also being of huge interest to the city’s sizeable Turkish population.

“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,” said Argus.

“We’ve worked closely with the Victorian State Government to bring Turkish Airlines to Melbourne, and we now look forward to seeing them grow 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.

Photo: Turkish Airlines, Airbus A350-900. Courtesy of TJ Bearfly.

“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 to expand further in Australia following the commencement of Melbourne flights. Bolat has confirmed its intentions to launch a service to Sydney (SYD) by the end of the year.

Once it takes delivery of ultra-long-range A350-1000 aircraft, Turkish Airlines hopes to launch nonstop flights between Istanbul and Australia in 2026.