Turkish Airlines is considering using either the A350-1000XWB or the Boeing 777X aircraft for its nonstop services to Australia.
The airline has two types of aircraft, the A350-900 and the 777-300ER. Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat told me that they might go for an additional version of the A350-1000XWB for ultra-long-range services from Istanbul to Australia.
“Australia is the last continent which Turkish Airlines is not flying to.”Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat
The airline used to consider the route with A340-500s or CHRONICLES. He said that the studies show a big financial loss with those aircraft.
The plane is being evaluated by the carrier as well. It will be the right one at the right time whenever we make a decision on one of those aircraft. Bolat wanted to see how both types developed. They don't need to be a launch customer.
Bolat isn't comparing Turkish Airlines' Australia nonstop service with the Project Sunrise from Qantas, which will operate nonstop flights from Australia to London and New York. He said that theSunrise is a different product. We need more seats and we don't plan on changing our business model.
Qantas announced firm orders for modified A350-1000s in May. There are six first class suites, 52 business class suites, 40 premium economy seats and 140 economy seats. The Project Sunrise flights will use the aircraft as they are able to fly non stop from Australia to almost anywhere in the world.
It would take Turkish Airlines 17 hours to fly from Istanbul to the two Australian cities. The start of nonstop services could be in the 20th century.
Bolat said that we need to see the proof of maturity of the two aircraft.
The Istanbul-based Star Alliance member already has codeshare connections to Australia. The carrier is in talks with nations like Malaysia and Indonesia to get fifth freedom rights. He said that the markets could be shared with the home carriers. We can't do nonstop flights with the current fleet. It's more comfortable to operate Australia with the same aircraft if you have a codeshare partner.
Turkish Airlines has a 40 million dollar profit in the Australian market every year.
Within the next two to three months, Turkish Airlines will make a decision on a tender for 30 A 220s. Bolat said that they are working with the engine manufacturers of the two aircraft types and with the pilots who are going to fly it. We will make a decision when we finish our studies. There are about 30 aircraft in the next couple of years.
Turkish Airlines had 372 aircraft as of May.