Turkish Airlines is putting Australia back on its route map, with the airline's CEO confirming plans to launch flights to Sydney next year.
Speaking today at the annual Corporate Club business travel conference in Istanbul, as reported by Airways Magazine, Turkish Airlines Chairman İlker Aycı said the Star Alliance member planned to begin flying to Sydney by June 2019. "It’s going to happen," Ayci affirmed.
It's believed the route could be flown by the airline's new Boeing 787s, which will also see the debut of an all-new business class seat with a 1-2-1 layout for direct aisle access and a strong focus on privacy.
Speaking with Australian Business Traveller earlier this month, Turkish Airlines Chief Marketing Officer Ahmet Olmuştur said "we would like to start direct flights to Sydney as soon as possible, as you may know."
"We are still working on some solution methods to start flights directly to there in a most optimal way. If we do not able to reach such an ideal solution in our short-term planning, which is our priority, we may focus on connecting flights."
With Turkish Airlines already flying from Istanbul to Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, one of those routes could act as stopover for an add-on leg through to Sydney, although the airline could also bite the bullet on non-stop flights.
Sydney has long been an on-again off-again destination for Turkish Airlines. In June 2015, then-CEO Temel Kotil told Australian Business Traveller that flights between Istanbul and Sydney would begin in June 2016, with Melbourne to follow. "We are coming, and that's final," Kotil enthused. However, in February 2016 the airline pushed back on those plans.
Turkish Airlines has been approached for comment on this latest executive announcement.