Turkish Airlines flight lands in Melbourne

It’s been years in the making, but Aussies will now have access to 346 destinations in 130 countries after the national flag carrier of Turkiye made its debut into the Australian market.

Turkish Airlines flight TK168 landed in Melbourne on Saturday night, with the historic touchdown marking the carrier’s expansion into Aussie shores.

“We’ve been working long and hard on this. [It] has been a great team effort,” Minister for Jobs and Industry Natalie Hutchins said at an event following the inaugural flight.

“It’s a significant milestone to have Turkish Airlines to Melbourne Airport.”

She said for the first time in more than a decade, Melbourne now serves directly, a European-based airline and noted it will bring competitive prices.

“Having such an important player in Australia is great for this whole country because it gives our travellers, our tourists, our businesses [and] our exporters more choice and more competition.”

Melbourne marks the airline’s 346th destination, with Turkish Airlines flying to more countries than any other, with an impressive 450 aircraft in its network.

It will start by flying thousands of passengers on the Instanbul-Melbourne route three times a week with special introductory prices via the Singapore Changi International Airport transfer point.

Economy fares from Melbourne start from $1,499 return, valid for ticketing between

January 19 and April 15, 2024, for travel from March 15 to May 15, 2024.

Business fares from Melbourne will start from $7,599 return, for ticketing between February 24 and April 15, for travel from March 1 to May 15.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus said the increased competition helps put downward pressure on prices.

“[This] will ensure Victorian residents and businesses can stay connected with family, friends and clients around the world,” she said.

“Melbourne is proudly home to the largest Turkish population in Australia, so we expect these flights will prove particularly popular with people looking to visit friends and relatives.”

Professor Dr Ahmet Bolat, Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines, said Turkey and Australia are two countries with a long history of friendship.

“Although our countries are far apart, we know that the people of both countries feel very close to each other the thousands of Australian visitors who visit the Gallopoly, Peninsula every year for Anzac Day, and the thousands of Turkish people who have made this beautiful country their home,” he said.

M Bolat said the airline’s entry into the Australian market follows “meticulous planning and extensive infrastructure developments”.

Ms Hutchins also added it’s the “hardest I’ve ever worked to get an airline to Melbourne,” adding she is thrilled “you chose us”. .

Mr Bolat said the inauguration of the Melbourne route is a testament to the airline’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Australia, with its breathtaking landscapes and warm-hearted people, now becomes the 130th country to join our expansive network, signifying our presence across six continents,” he said.

Sydney doesn’t miss out either, with Mr Bolat revealing the airline would add the city to its network by the end of the year. The carrier is yet to reveal more information on this move.

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