Turkish Airlines locks in first Australian gateway, Melbourne

Three weekly services from Istanbul, via Singapore, to launch from mid-March 2024

The Victorian Government has welcomed the addition of Melbourne to the global network map of Turkish Airlines, commencing from March 2024. The highly-suspected selection of Melbourne as Turkish Airlines’ first Australia gateway had been in the rumour-mill for years, but more so spruiked following an event in the Victorian capital last year.

Natalie Hutchins, Victorian Minister for Jobs and Industry lauded Turkish Airlines’ decision to introduce direct flights between Melbourne and Istanbul, Türkiye, starting with three services each week, with the potential to grow to a daily service in the future. Flights will operate via Singapore, operated by Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

Backed by the Allan Labor Government and Melbourne Airport, this is the first time an airline has offered direct flights between Türkiye and Australia.

Turkish Airlines' website promoting its newest destination, Melbourne

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The new flights will connect Türkiye to Australia’s largest Türkiye-born community, and boost Victoria’s access to key European, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and African markets via its hub in Istanbul – growing our tourism, international education, business and trade markets.

Turkish Airlines will commence its direct flights to Melbourne via Singapore, with plans to acquire new aircraft with the ability to operate the Istanbul to Melbourne service non-stop in the future. In a significant recovery milestone, Turkish Airlines is the 39th international airline to service Melbourne Airport, restoring international seat capacity beyond 100% compared to pre-pandemic.

Turkish Airlines joins a growing list of international airlines the Victorian Government has supported to increase flights to Melbourne including LATAM, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Sichuan Airlines and Air India.

“Attracting a major international carrier like Turkish Airlines to Melbourne is a huge win for Victoria – it shows the strength of our tourism and export markets, whilst boosting local jobs across our state,” Hutchins added.

Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat, Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and Executive Committee said: “As the airline flying to more countries than any other, we are excited to add Melbourne to our flight network. Trade and business opportunities will boom as we bring Turkish and Australian people closer.”

 Jim Parashos, Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation said Turkish Airlines’ arrival will provide Australians with easy connections into Türkiye and beyond.

“Istanbul is the only city to straddle two continents and has always been an important trading post, but it is now also one of the most important transit hubs in the world,” he said.

“It’s no surprise that Turkish Airlines has chosen Melbourne as its first Australian destination, given we are home to the nation’s largest Turkish community and our position as the capital of food, sport and culture.

“Türkiye is already a popular holiday destination, but we expect these new flights will encourage more Australians to explore what the country has to offer, while also enticing more people to visit our incredible part of the world,” he added.

The first flight from Istanbul is due to arrive on Saturday 16 March with services from Melbourne to initially operate on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday before shifting to Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

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