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Turkish Airlines yet to apply for Australian flights, says Minister

written by Jake Nelson | July 25, 2023

Image: Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines’ launch of services to Australia has been delayed, with Transport and Infrastructure Minister Catherine King set to review the carrier’s plans.

The Turkish flag carrier is hoping to fly daily to Sydney and Melbourne, totalling 14 flights per week, as reported in The Australian Financial Review, but needs federal government approval as well as “fifth freedoms” that would allow it to fly from Melbourne and Sydney to Singapore.

“There are some legal issues that we have to solve between the Turkish government and the Australian government,” Turkish Airlines chairman Ahmet Bolat told the Financial Review, adding that Melbourne Airport’s parent company is “on the issue”.

British Airways is currently the only European airline that flies into Australia, with Austrian Airlines having pulled out in 2007. BA flies daily between Sydney and London (Heathrow) via Singapore.

A spokesperson for Minister King said that no Turkish airline has yet formally applied to Australian aviation authorities to operate services here.


“Turkish airlines are already entitled to operate a total of up to seven services per week to Australia (between the four major gateways) under current bilateral arrangements, subject to meeting safety, security and licensing requirements. These critical regulatory processes will take many months to complete before services could commence to Australia,” the spokesperson said.

“Australian aviation officials earlier this month received a request from the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for initial discussions on updating air services arrangements between our two countries. We look forward to these discussions shortly with the Türkiye DGCA, after completing consultation with our stakeholders.”

In June, The Australian reported Turkish Airlines was in talks with both Sydney and Melbourne Airports for up to three services per week to Istanbul via Singapore. Turkish Airlines had been tipped to name Melbourne as its 130th destination airport at an event on Friday.

In a speech at the gala, Victoria’s Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said the launch of Turkish Airlines services to Melbourne would expand the state’s high-value exports.

“We also know that an important part of the aircraft is underneath of it and for freight opportunities, with Victoria being the food and fibre capital, being the defence capital, being the advanced manufacturing capital, there is an enormous amount of opportunity,” he said.

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