back to all news

Turkish Airlines gearing up to start Istanbul-Sydney flights

By David Flynn     Filed under: Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines looks to be gearing up to enter Australian skies next year, with 11 'local staff' positions now being advertised on LinkedIn.

CEO Temel Kotil has previously confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the highly-regarded airline would begin flights between Istanbul and Sydney by mid-2016, with Melbourne to follow.

The LinkedIn listings fall under the heading of 'Turkish Airlines - Sidney', although it's safe to presume that's a spelling error (the alternative would mean flights from Istanbul to a Canadian town of some 12,000 residents on the edge of Vancouver Island, or one of a dozen similarly-small towns scattered across the USA).

Update: A spokesperson for Turkish Airlines has confirmed these positions are for Sydney, but added "Turkish Airlines is not planning to commence operations to Australia in (the) short term."

The full-time positions range from sales and cargo supervisors and agents to marketing, accounting, commercial and 'corporate agreement' roles.

PREVIOUS | Turkish Airlines plans to begin flights between Istanbul and Sydney next year, with Melbourne to follow, airline CEO Temel Kotil has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller.

The flights are slated to take off in the northern summer, "in June", Kotil said. "We are coming, and that's final."

Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta and even the Maldives – all currently served by Turkish Airlines – are shortlisted as the stopover cities, with Turkish abandoning hopes of a non-stop flight of some 17 hours.

However, Kotil says a cap imposed by aviation authorities on flights between Turkey and Australia would prevent the airline running a daily schedule.

"Under the current arrangement we can (fly to) Sydney three times a week only, and Melbourne could be twice a week only" Kotil said, on the sidelines of a gathering of Star Alliance airline CEOs in Warsaw.

"We are asking the authorities to make them daily, because less than daily doesn't make sense. Hopefully by next summer, the civil evaluation (authorities) will have solved the problem and we can be daily to Sydney, and Melbourne will follow."

Kotil did not reveal if the route would be flown by the airline's flagship Boeing 777-300ER.

Regarded as one of Europe's best airlines, Turkish Airlines has previously been cautious about the impact of the Qantas-Emirates partnership on its long-wished-for Sydney-Istanbul flights, but "demand for Australia to Turkey is very high" Kotil says.

Both routes aim to deliver travellers within one flight of most European cities, although Turkish Airlines' Istanbul hub would call for significantly shorter hops than Dubai.

David Flynn travelled to Warsaw as a guest of Star Alliance.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT


About David Flynn

David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 24/6/15 by Dan

Why not a direct flight to Perth and connect with either Virgin or Qantas? So much competition already with a stopover to Istanbul. I believe Etihad partner with Turkish, surely they could both join forces with Virgin and tackle Qantas/Emirates alliance. 

1 on 24/6/15 by Wombus

why direct flight to a city of 1.5m when you can direct flight to a city of 4m and a city of 5m residents?

Sorry, but the idea of connecting through Perth is a little archaic.

1 on 24/6/15 by Dan

Last time I checked Perth was the fastest growing city in Australia and population was over 2 million. Maybe your facts are a little archaic? Regardless the reason for the suggestion is because it is not a direct flight, the stopover is not yet announced. Instead of flying to an already populated destination, open up a new actual direct flight to an Australia city that is geographically more beneficial. Why compete with so much competition with likes of QF, EK, EY, QR, TK, MA, SQ, CX, BA even AI and GA now offering Syd to Europe let alone all those Chinese carriers that serve Syd and Mel. 

1 on 24/6/15 by fxdxdy

A stop over in Perth isn't likely simply because Perth isn't on the shortest path between Syd\Mel and Istanbul.

It's just bad geographical luck.

And nor would there be sufficient demand for them to detour via Perth. You should also be mindful that Sydney and Melbourne both have significant Turkish populations.

1 on 24/6/15 by Dan

Qantas did SYD/PER/IST on their Anzac services? I'm sure they would pick the most profitable route to fly..I could be wrong though - maybe it was just out of convenience, don't quote me. 

1 on 24/6/15 by fxdxdy

That was really a one off for ANZAC and I'm not sure how commercially viable it was, however, I'm sure the free publicity from news coverage probably paid for itself.

2 on 31/8/15 by potatograss

Lol. When was the last time you looked at the map? Perth IS on the shortest path between SYD and IST.

Many flights from Dubai to the Eastern states also go over (or near) Perth.

2 on 24/6/15 by robbo135

Last time I checked, the mining boom was well and truly over. Another PER fanboy trying to justify service. If Perth was so lucrative, there would be plenty of carriers flying there, but it evidently isn't given most carriers choose to fly to SYD/MEL first. But then again, what would those silly airline CEO's know, they are obviously can't see the goldmine in Perth that you can !

1 on 24/6/15 by Dan

I think you are failing to see my point...Ok, so unless they offer cheaper fares and undercut the one stop options, the majority of people they will cater for are the Turkish population who just want to fly to Istanbul? Why would your average regular joe want to stop via a yet to be announced city and then Istanbul to get to somewhere else in Europe? Surely an extra stopover would add more cost to the ticket. And if Turkish are to stay competitive they will need to compete with one stop airline choices. Maybe Perth isn't best option then the likes of Sydney, but Qatar seem to do just fine with Perth and no flights to Sydney. 

1 on 25/6/15 by hutch

You do realise that Qatar want to fly to Sydney but are hampered by curfew. It has nothing to do with PER being a preferred choice.

Emirates sell a number of daily SYD/MEL/BNE two stop European options. 

Flying from PER would still be a two stop option for the majority of the population.  

The average Joe public will most likely buy on price. Hence why indirect flights are often cheaper than direct flights. 

People currently flying Turkish currently fly to Asia to get onto a Turkish service. Perhaps they want to get these customers onto their own metal.

One day, a plane  will fly SYD -IST with a suitable payload to offer nonstop flights. Perhaps Turkish are taking a long term view of the market. 

1 on 25/6/15 by Dan

I am aware of the Qatar issue and Sydney curfew that's been around for some time now. But Sydney is the busiest airport out of Australia, if Qatar Ex Melbourne flight leaves at 10.55pm, and Sydney curfew is 11pm (according to google) then Qatar could seriously not be flying to Sydney based on just a curfew alone? Just my thought. I get  the 2 stop option if people coming from east Coast if via Perth, maybe 2 international stopovers could be better. My initial post was just enquiring if Turkish was better flying direct to Perth, but then Sydney and Melbourne airport fans are quick to jump on the hate! 

3 on 26/6/15 by AgentGerko

It was announced today that Melbourne has overtaken Perth as the fastest growing city.

But Turkish flying here would be great. They are a very good airline.

4 on 31/8/15 by tronixstuff

Someone really needs to start 

2 on 25/6/15 by Shoudy

Perth isn't a stopover city. The last time Perth was a stopover city was back a long time ago. (Due to the fact that I wasn't born yet!) 

Yes, Perth needs to become a stopover city for people wanting to transit to Sydney from an international flight. Consider the fact that THY needs to fly from Istanbul to Sydney/Melb via Perth. That is just absolutely confusing. 

2 on 24/6/15 by Dean

Will there ever be a day when an airline can announce a route to Sydney or Melbourne without people asking "why not Perth"? These things take time, and from a financial perspective it would make more sense to start with a larger market before introducing smaller ones.

1 on 24/6/15 by robbo135

Well according to some, Perth is the economic heartbeat of Australia (not). A few years, Perth was certainly the shining light in Australia, but the mining boom is over, Perth has got a LONG way to go before it ever begins to rival SYD/MEL

1 on 25/6/15 by petrhsr

IST-SIN-PER follows pretty-much a great circle routing.


BKK is a little out of the way.


PER is WAY out of the way, and of little interest to anyone other than the people who live there.

1 on 26/6/15 by CityRail

PER-DXB-IST could even be more direct if you loook at circle map.

Going via Changi requies a sharp up then a relaively flat north west direction whilst via Middle East you go straight North West from Perth all the way to the gulf.

2 on 25/6/15 by maabbot

I am sure a lot of the intelligent Perth bashing posts here are from well travelled people who have never been there.  Yes. perth has far more affordable property and better weather than Sydney or Melbourne...its gross state product per head is higher, its export performance dominates Australia...its unemployment is lacks on over rated bridge or a stadium that people think is the best, but are run of the mill by world standards. Qantas and other airlines singular focus on Sydney is stupid (but hey they are making a profit now due to falling oil prices). ANA apparent offering a 767 in competition to a better product offered by qantas and JAL is bemusing when there are other markets that support i with less competitiont...Turkish airlines offering a two stop service to Europe from Sydney is likewise silly...finally on Qatar airlines to Sydney...the curfew is a non excuse noting other M/E carriers make it work.

3 on 24/6/15 by jet_setter

4 on 31/8/15 by Horvath

Apprently when Qantas did the SYD-PER-IST Anzac flight, it was also to test it out as a regular route. So there must be a demand yes :)

5 on 1/9/15 by Serg

I agree - stopover in Perth and then Sydney or Melbourne. Though Turks may have different POV.

2 on 24/6/15 by GgFlyer

Good to see some European airlines going for Australia, Turkey has always been a place iv wanted to go to, via SIN could be a good option as from SIN you can get to every major Australian port and via SIN could also be good as Turkish are in Star alliance with SQ

3 on 24/6/15 by RealKid

It may sound silly, but honestly of those options I think the Maldives makes nearly the most sense. 

Turkish Airlines serves two primary purposes: O&D traffic to Turkey, and using Istanbul as a hub for longhaul travel to and from Europe.  Someone going from Europe to Australia would not choose to stop twice with Turkish vs only once with the ME3 or Asian carriers.  Ditto the reverse for Australians.  

So if Turkish can't operate as a hub connecting Aus and Europe, it makes sense for them to pick the routes on which they can maximise their competitive advantage.  

By routing through the Maldives, they will have a monopoly on direct SYD - MLE flights, which while not a sizeable market is still certainly something people want.  They will also remain competitive on SYD - IST (as no other non-stop option exists) and Europe - MLE (again, no nonstop option).

By routing through the Maldives, TK would be able to be likely the most competitive airline for 1) Europe to Maldives traffic, 2) Sydney to Maldives traffic, and 3) Sydney to Turkey and vice versa traffic.  Routing through any of the other options mentioned above puts them in direct competition with SQ/QF/Scoot (SIN), TG/QF/EK (BKK), or QF/Garuda (CGK). 

That's a lot of text for me basically saying I want a Star Alliance partner to get myself to the Maldives, cause SQ don't release no business seats for my cheaply bought Lifemiles

1 on 24/6/15 by etihadguestgold

Dear RealKid,

Unfortunately you are very wrong. The market between Europe and the Maldives is very saturated. Just to mention a few: British Airways offers non-stop flights between London and Maldives, Austrian Airlines offers non-stop flights from Vienna, Edelweiss Air offers non-stop flights from Zurich, Condor offers non-stop flights from German cities, Aeroflot offers non-stop flights from Moscow, and Thomson Airways and FirstChoice join in with non-stop flights from the UK in the high-season. To finish off, Lufthansa is launching non-stop flights from Frankfurt this summer, while Eurowings is Launching flights from Cologne later this year as well.

This market is saturated beyond imagination. 

2 on 24/6/15 by Desert_Emu

RealKid, Not only is the MEL market saturated from Europe (refer etihadguestgold's comments), but it's saturated with cheap as chips yields. Turkish's margins on Istanbul - Male would already be wafer thin, so to make that an intermediate stop on a Sydney operation would be suicidal. Also, one shouldn't assume the Governments of Australia and the Maldives would allow Turkish to uplift passengers between their countries …. 5th freedom traffic rights are always a white hot topic of discussion.

3 on 24/6/15 by Desert_Emu

Typo, MLE not MEL ..... been a long day here in Dubai !

1 on 25/6/15 by RealKid

Wow, I stand corrected didn't know there was so may routes from Europe. 

4 on 24/6/15 by Timothy

Even though Turkish Airlines has no interest in purchasing the A380 even the ones Malaysian Airlines are trying to sell off, it would potentially be able to make the direct flight from Istanbul to both Sydney and Melbourne. Why haven't they rethought this idea? 

5 on 24/6/15 by somethingy23

Lets be honest, there are few people (other than those that are going to IST directly) that would want to do a 17 hour flight before going on another plane to mainland Europe. 

Going via SIN would be suicide with all the competition. They could also move through India. but I doubt they will exercise this option.

I have a feeling they will opt for extending one of their daily BKK flights to Sydney (as TG are a star alliance partner).

6 on 25/6/15 by Michael

KUL could be a good option now that MH has cut several flights between AUS to KUL, there is a gap to be filled. Geographically it's also on the way to IST. 

7 on 26/6/15 by bl812

can hardly wait for them-hopefully a competition to Emirates if their price is right and much better connection to Europe than from the overcrowded Dubai airport

8 on 26/6/15 by Anjan

No body has mentioned but Turkis also flys to CMB a couple of times a week direct with the return via MLE on a A330 service. They could cut off Male and extend to Sydney and Melb. Out of CMB they could code share with UL to Male given they have about 6 flights a day, there could be a good connection. UL is also rumoured to return to Mel in the new year, therefore there could be good competition between OW and SA. There is a significant Sri lankan population in Mel and Syd which could make it viable in the interim, also there would be opportunites for Indian traffic out of CMB with Air India connections given they are SA partners though this would cannablise the AI Sydney/Melb routes. Though if the code to India and Pakistan on UL and they are competitve there would be good loads.

9 on 26/6/15 by aug15

This might sound a bit farfetched, but how about Istanbul - Australia via the Maldives? Male is directly in the middle of the flight path and it gives people from Aus a direct flight to the Maldives, which is beneficial since MH has cut flights to Male.

10 on 26/6/15 by Peter

Where can I book?  This is great news, I couldn't care which route they take; just to be able to fly Turkish direct from here is a good thing.  And if they went through DEL, even better!

11 on 27/6/15 by Roger

Re   the  Debate   about   Perth,  there   is   no  point  in   getting   upset    about   the  non  inclusion   of  Perth  as   a  destination by  various    airlines. They   make   commercial  decisions based  on  demand   and   that's   it. Interesting  point    about  the  Turkish   airlines   transit   point  from  Australia. I  agree   that  Singapore and  possibly  Bangkok   are    quite   saturated   markets .  India  (  Delhi  or  Mumbai )  would  make   sense since    this   is a   big    emerging   Market   with  lots   of   potential growth  ,  esp  for  business  travellers.

1 on 27/6/15 by petrhsr

Mumbai would only add a handful of miles to the great circle distance, and it just might work!

12 on 30/6/15 by lotsamiles

So, talking of routes from AU to UK/EU, we have the Kangaroo Route, and Canton with Turkish Airlines we have the Gobbler Route !!! Turkish delight all the way:)

13 on 14/8/15 by AB__CD

I do think CGK is the the stopover; CGK-SYD is underserved by the flag carriers of both nations, and IST-CGK is pretty much lined up to continue on to SYD; TK56 lands at 5.55pm, continuing on after a 2h stopover would put it at a 7.55pm departure to land in Sydney at 6am, 10 minutes before QF42. It would then do a 7h turnaround in Sydney, departing SYD at 1.50pm to land CGK 6.35pm, do another 2h stop, and head to Istanbul on the same schedule as TK57 currently flies.

14 on 31/8/15 by Dean

Great news to see this fantastic airline flying to Australia,I most definately agree with the majority about no Perth it may have the mining boom but its the most exspensive city to visit ($7 for a coffee) tourists dont want that

15 on 31/8/15 by AFL_SBDN



No direct flight from Colombo to SYD and MEL but there is a huge demand.

Turkish already flies to CMB via MLE.... Maybe they can fly IST-CMB direct and continue on to SYD and later MEL. 

1 on 31/8/15 by Andrew

From November the 2nd, Srilankan Airlines will resume flights to Melbourne.

1 on 31/8/15 by AFL_SBDN

They can still fly to SYD, besides there is no official annuncement from UL regarding resuming operations to MEL.

16 on 31/8/15 by johnnypc67

KUL seems logical, given MH may drop it

17 on 31/8/15 by aldrigsomandre


Just wanted to point out that "Sidney" is Sydney in Turkish and it is not a spelling error.

1 on 31/8/15 by David

That's true – but given the other errors (spelling and grammatical) in the advertisement, and that it's written in English and aimed at English-speaking people in Australia, you think 'Sydney' would not be too far a stretch...

18 on 31/8/15 by Tom

Exciting News! Will be going to spot this on its inagural arrival! 

19 on 1/9/15 by Eli

Going Via CGK or SIN adds 3nm...yes 3!.   Via PER add's 227 miles (no, not a lot) but every mile counts.  People looking at maps does nothing, unless you factor in the GC routing.

Everyday flying conditions probably route some of these flights over Perth, but planning departments do not take this into consideration for daily op planning.

Oh yes, and some of you fighting over Perth vs X is silly.  Australians are better than this.

20 on 1/9/15 by Jono

I know I am most likely to get down-voted like all hell for this, but why do airlines only ever think Sydney?

I'm Melbourne based and can't remember the last time we had a new international airline announce Melbourne as their base? 

1 on 1/9/15 by Andy H

Quite a few actually, though not 'bases' because international airlines don't have them in Australia, we are rather just 'spoke' destinations. MEL got QR, 3U, EK first to name a few. TZ and CI will launch services to MEL later this year.

TK will launch services to MEL once SYD is done, but that is still subject to bi-lateral agreements between Turkey and Australia which limits TK here - they have been very vocal about that. So don't worry, MEL will get its time.

21 on 2/9/15 by Bavarian

There might be a fairly simple political reason not to go through Perth: Offering IST-PER-SYD would require TK to offer a flight within Australia, whereas flying IST-BKK/SIN/HKG/KUL/whatever-SYD is an international flight, for which it might be a bit easier to get a permission.

22 on 2/9/15 by Nick Sydney 2

Enjoy reading the comments board. Did not think I would be reading about the relative merits of Perth compared to the eastern capitals ...seems to be a slight chip on West Australian shoulders judging by the comments. Notwithstanding, its great to see Turkish Airlines taking the plunge. It is a long way between IST and SYD but as a regular on the SYD/DFW it's not that much longer. SYD/DFW is around 15.5 hours and add an hour coming home. Happy to give it a try and IST is a fantastic city. Choices galore for us on the run up to Europe

23 on 2/9/15 by Les White

I reckon Kuala Lumpur would be the go, seeing as Malaysia is downsizing it's routes, seems like a decent fit and I reckon they would get a good deal from the Malaysians on landing costs.

1 on 2/9/15 by John

Adding to Les W comments there are cultural parallels with KL plus they need a city with decent "critical mass" for pax numbers both ways.

24 on 2/9/15 by Michael

Finally a Miles&More partner for Aussie skies on the horizon! SQ's conversion rates are woeful...

25 on 4/9/15 by anthony watts

why IST-Syd first? MEL has no curfew, is a much better and friendlier airport (No busses!) it even has connecting flights to Perth!!

26 on 4/9/15 by Roger

By  the   time   they   start  Flights   to  Australia  the  Aussie  Peso   will  likely  be   hovering around  50  cents  US if   the   Forecasts  are   correct -   doubt   that   too  many   will  be   able  to  afford    overseas   travel  then

27 on 7/9/15 by Tom

Good news! Another plane to spot! 


Related News Items


Australian business traveller newsletter

Get Updates as they happen, tailored to your preferences, right in your inbox


What topics interest you?