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Turkish Airlines Hasn’t Applied For Permission to Operate Crucial Fifth-Freedom Flights From Singapore to Australia

Turkish Airlines Hasn’t Applied For Permission to Operate Crucial Fifth-Freedom Flights From Singapore to Australia

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Turkish Airlines is yet to apply for permission to operate so-called ‘Fifth Freedom’ flights from Singapore, which are necessary for the airline to launch flights to Australia – something that the Istanbul-based carrier wants to do in just over three months’ time.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has confirmed to the Straits Times that Turkish Airlines is yet to submit an application to operate Fifth Freedom flights and the airline won’t be allowed to operate these flights until it has received approval.

Fifth Freedom rights allow a foreign airline to operate an international flight via a third country and sell tickets on both segments. In this case, Turkish Airlines would be allowed to sell tickets for the flight from Istanbul to Singapore, and the flight from Singapore to Australia, as well as the direct service from Istanbul to Australia.

Earlier this month, Turkish Airlines’ chairman, Ahmet Bolat, made it known that the carrier hoped to launch its eagerly anticipated flights to Australia at some point between March 15 and March 2024 and that the flights would operate via Singapore.

Bolat also said the airline was in advanced talks with Hollywood superstar Margot Robbie to become the celebrity face of Turkish Airlines ahead of the inaugural flight, although few other details are yet to be released.

Turkish Airlines hasn’t confirmed which city or cities it plans to fly to in Australia, although the Australian government will initially allow Turkish Airlines to operate up to 21 weekly flights to Sydney and Melbourne, as well as Brisbane and Perth.

From late 2024, capacity will increase to 28 weekly flights and by late 2025, up to 35 weekly flights will be allowed.

The Straits Times attempted to reach out to Turkish Airlines about its plans, but multiple emails went unanswered.

The Australian government is keen to get Turkish Airlines to launch flights to the country in an effort to increase competition on key international routes and drive down airfares.

Transport Minister Catherine King has faced criticism over her decision to reject an application from Qatar Airways to increase its quota of flights to Australia as it is stifling competition.

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