Turkish Airlines no longer expects to begin flying to Australia mid-year, with the Star Alliance member walking back from a 'final' commitment made by its CEO last year.
Flights were due to run between Sydney and Turkey's Istanbul hub with a stop-over at Singapore, Bangkok or Jakarta.
In June 2015, after months of speculation, Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil seemingly locked down the schedule, telling Australian Business Traveller that the service was due to begin in the northern summer, "in June", Kotil said. "We are coming, and that's final."
Three months later, in September 2015, the airline began to spool up for its Aussie take-off by advertising on LinkedIn for 11 Sydney-based full-time staff positions ranging from sales and cargo supervisors and agents to marketing, accounting, commercial and 'corporate agreement' roles.
However, Australian Business Traveller understands that Turkish Airlines has pushed back on Kotil's preferred timeline to late 2016 or more likely 2017.
A spokesman for Turkish Airlines said that "the Board of Directors have no decision in this regards" but declined to comment further on a revised schedule beyond the previously-slated mid-2016 launch.
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 flights down under, but continues to see high passenger demand between the two countries.
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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.