Turkish Airlines starts flights to Melbourne

Turkish Airlines has launched scheduled flights to Australia's Melbourne and hopes to start flights to Sydney by the end of the year.

The first plane on route to Melbourne departed from Istanbul Airport on March 1 with 349 passengers, including Ahmet Bolat, chairman of Turkish Airlines, and a group of journalists. 

Australia, with a population of 26 million and a GDP per capita of $70,000, is an important market, Bolat said.

Australians come to Türkiye to attend the ceremonies to commemorate the fallen Australian soldiers during World War I, embarking on a long journey, Bolat noted.

"With the launch of the new route, Australians will be able to fly directly to Türkiye in a 17.5-hour flight via Singapore," the company executive said.

He also said that the flag carrier may soon start flights to Sydney.

"We are continuing to hold talks about this. Depending on the availability of planes, we may launch flights there [Sydney] by the end of this year."

Turkish Airlines flies to 345 destinations in 129 countries in five continents.

In January, it carried a total of 6.3 million passengers, up 2.7 percent from a year ago, with the international traveler tally rising 5.4 percent to 4.1 million.

In 2023, the number of passengers Turkish Airlines carried increased by 16 percent from the previous year to 83.4 million.

International passengers rose more than 14 percent to 54 million, while domestic passengers increased by 19 percent to 30.4 million.

Turkish Airlines aims to double the number of aircraft in its fleet in 10 years and to become one of the top seven carriers in the world, Bolat said in comments he made in January.

The company currently operates a fleet of 440 jets, Bolat said,...

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