Turkish Airlines pushes back on Istanbul-Sydney flights

Turkish Airlines pushes back on Istanbul-Sydney flights

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.

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

David Flynn

David Flynn (David)

[email protected] / @djsflynn

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.


  • Matt J


    26 Feb, 2016 01:44 pm

    Shame... I was looking forward to flying with them...

    No member give thanks

  • mrp


    26 Feb, 2016 02:00 pm

    Nothing stopping you flying with them. I'm sure they codeshare on the appropriate SQ flight to Singapore and then you pick up TK from there.

    No member give thanks

  • Serg


    27 Feb, 2016 09:27 am

    Unless Istanbul your destination. And even then you can do it right now via Singapore with first leg with SQ. I would rather become excited if BA will fly MEL (and other city apart from SYD for this merit) or AY fly to Australia.

    No member give thanks

  • iamwill


    27 Feb, 2016 03:41 pm

    I flew Qantas up to Hong Kong business in one of their refurbished A330s than on Turkish Airlines business to Istanbul on a 777 last April for Anzac Day.  Wow. The service and food was sooooo much better than Qantas. A eating extravaganzer. It was 2 3 2 across and in bed mode was no where near as good as Qantas new seats. But would fly with them again and sing their service to all. 

    No member give thanks

  • TheRealBabushka


    27 Feb, 2016 04:49 pm

    What about the comments from many pax that they don't deal with adverse events very well? There is anecdotal evidence that their ground handling staff at IST is not the easiest to deal with. There is also anecdotal evidence that their online (call-centre/support office) customer service team is not the easiest to deal with.

    No member give thanks

  • kimshep


    28 Feb, 2016 12:45 pm

    I would be a little loathe to paint adversely TK just yet. It seems that similar comments may be made regarding other ME competitors as well.

    Perhaps it is a cultural issue that is endemic? Or a sign that whilst these operators have focussed on providing superior in-flight service rather than concentrating efforts in customer ground handling? Hell, at that rate, even some of our local outfits could occassionally come under that scrutiny.

    No member give thanks

  • TheRealBabushka


    28 Feb, 2016 12:58 pm

    Local outfits who displayed poor remedial controls are mainly restricted to low cost carriers or those transitioning from low cost to a "traditional" model aka Virgin (e.g. Check in system failure).

    In my opinion flag carriers and traditional modeled airlines should have no reason not implementing superior remedial controls. If there were issues, I would put it down to a "sales-driven" culture by management without due concern to total quality management. This is myopia and short-term thinking at its most pronounced.

    No member give thanks

  • kimshep


    2 Mar, 2016 12:22 pm

    Clearly TRB, you're never read any of the myriad of complaints about the customer response services at our two majors or experienced them firsthand ? Unanswered letters / complaints, failure to resolve split seating issues for families travelling together etc.

    In the main both QF and Virgin are pretty good - but thay are not perfect nor immune to criticism.

    No member give thanks

  • FLX


    29 Feb, 2016 12:16 pm

    <<It was 2 3 2 across and in bed mode was no where near as good as Qantas new seats.>>

    Agree.  In terms of tech specs, TK's current J seat design is only on-par with QF's last gen Skybed2.  It is a horizontal flat bed but 1 gen behind QF's latest J mainly due to the lack of direct aisle access +nearly full privacy partition(I personally call such layout semi-cubicule) for every seat.

    If U've noticed, TK has never won any award for J class seat design itself(TK might hv won a few in terms of F&B or service) but it did for its PY seat(Before that class was completely scrapped by TK 1-2yrs ago).

    No member give thanks

  • Jimmy Tortora


    1 Mar, 2016 07:39 am

    Yep. Like you mates below, I am really disappointed for the following reasons:

    1 it is unthinkable and unacceptable that we innagurated long haul flights like LAX-Sydney or Dallas-Sydney and left out other important routes such as this one

    2 it is not that the partnership  qantas emirates is cause of hindrance to launch new routes...  we operate in a free market system , competition is the rule number one.

    Last but not least I really wished I could experience this flight...

    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin


    1 Mar, 2016 09:50 am

    Hi Jimmy, and welcome to AusBT.

    We've replaced the ICAO airport codes in your comment above (which are mainly used by pilots) with the names of the cities as everyday people would know them. (Your average person has no clue that YSSY = Sydney).

    As we're more so a 'travel' site than an 'aviation/AvGeek' site, we'd appreciate you using the city names in any future posts so that our readers know what you're talking about. :)

    No member give thanks

  • thewinchester


    11 Mar, 2016 01:25 pm

    "Regarded as one of Europe's best airlines"

    That line cracks me up, because that's a complete pile of horse manure.

    TK is a complete laughing stock amongst EMEIA frequent flyers. They may have nice lounges, but their ground services and competency as an airline are pathetic. They couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag when things go wrong.

    They are an airline best avoided. 

    No member give thanks

  • smit0847


    11 Mar, 2016 02:08 pm

    I've flown TK J a few times. As others have said, their onboard food is incredible, possibly the worlds best J food. Their lounge in IST is also probably the worlds best J lounge. They also have a huge route network and fly to more countries that any other airline (including EK).

    Unfortunately their onboard service is poor, their hard product varies greatly and IST airport has not kept up with TKs massive expansion (they have over 300 aircraft with a single hub) so can be a bit of a nightmare to navigate. I would consider them to be a very good *A carrier, on par with SAS, Asiana, Air NZ etc.

    No member give thanks


17 Jan, 2018 08:13 am


Forgot Password

If you’ve forgotten your password, simply enter your email address below, then click 'Submit'. We’ll send you an email to re-activate your account and enter a new password.