Great Circle Mapper SYD-IST diagram

Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil intends to connect Europe and Australia with its first commercial non-stop air service next year by operating the Istanbul-Sydney route with either a 777-300ER or 7770200LR.

The report in ATW is light on details, but clear about aims.

Turkish Airlines doesn’t have any 777-200LRs in its large fleet of Airbus and Boeing airliners, which like the Airbus A345 is a jet with the range to fly the route non-stop both ways with a commercial payload, but it has been speculated that it could source some of the -200LRs within a year, and readily integrate them into its -300ER operations.

The story should be taken seriously. Istanbul airport is growing faster than Dubai airport, and unlike the latter, can be greatly expanded.

In the report, Kotil refers to both the non-stop ambitions and the possibility of connections through either Jakarta or Bangkok, which implies using either of those cities if the Sydney flights were operated with 777-300ERs which would need to refuel on the return leg.

From an air treaty perspective Indonesia is considered a difficult state with which to negotiate new services, making Bangkok the favourite when it comes to the -300ER probabilities.

The nominal great circle distance between Sydney and Istanbul is 14,956 kilometres, which is only 389 kilometres shorter than the 15,345 kilometres flown daily each way between Singapore and Newark (for New York City) by Singapore Airlines A340-500s, on what has been world’s longest scheduled passenger service since mid 2004.

The same fleet operates the world’s current second longest commercial flights between Singapore and Los Angeles, a nominal distance of 14,114 kilometres, but both services will end later this year with the retirement of the A345s.

The world’s third longest route but only one way is the Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth service flown by a Qantas 747-400ER  at a nominal 13,804 kilometres.

Recently Turkish Airlines spoke cautiously about starting flights to Australia because of the Qantas-Emirates partnership over Dubai, which begins tomorrow.  Something has changed, but the airline has always been comfortable with being reported as the major competitor on a global scale to Emirates.

Its current and rapidly growing network centred on Istanbul has the greatest potential for frequent connections to diverse European centres because the hub is within single-aisle jet range of those cities which are served by less frequent but larger Emirates wide-bodied airliners.

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