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Turkish Airlines Given Green Light For Big Australia Expansion But Qatar Snub Remains in Force

Turkish Airlines Given Green Light For Big Australia Expansion But Qatar Snub Remains in Force

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Turkish Airlines will be allowed to operate as many flights to Australia’s four biggest airports as Qatar Airways, despite the fact the Istanbul-based airline hasn’t even started flying to Australia yet.

Barbie actor Margot Robbie is being lined up to become the celebrity face of Turkish Airlines ahead of its expected arrival in Australia as early as March 2024, although no exact date has yet been set, and it’s still not known whether the airline plans to launch flights to Sydney or Melbourne or perhaps even both.

What we do know, however, is that Australia’s federal government has reached an agreement with the government of Türkiye to initially allow the country’s air carriers to operate up to 21 weekly flights to Sydney and Melbourne, as well as Brisbane and Perth.

In effect, that capacity is reserved for Turkish Airlines because no other Turkish airline has plans or the capability to launch passenger flights to Australia.

From late 2024, however, the permitted capacity will increase to 28 weekly flights and by late 2025, up to 35 weekly flights will be allowed – the same number that Qatar Airways is currently permitted to operate to Australia’s four biggest international gateways.

Qatar Airways wants to increase its quota to 56 weekly flights, but Transport Minister Catherine King rejected that application earlier this year.

King insists that the reason she snubbed Qatar’s request was partly down to an incident during the pandemic when a number of Australian women were subjected to highly invasive vaginal exams at Doha Hamad International Airport.

A parliamentary inquiry was launched following King’s controversial decision over fears that continued capacity constraints on busy international routes to and from Australia would keep airfares unnecessarily high.

Australia hasn’t amended its air services agreement with Qatar since early 2022, but King has refused to back down on the issue. There is, at least, the hope of increased competition coming soon.

Turkish Airlines doesn’t, however, have the ability to operate non-stop flights between Istanbul and Australia and instead plans to operate flights via Singapore.

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