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Turkish Airlines has touched down in Melbourne for the first time, providing travellers with a direct link to Istanbul and beyond to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Melbourne is Turkish Airlines’ 346th destination and today marks the first time in the carrier’s 90-year history that an Australian city has featured in its network.

Turkish Airlines’ arrival means Melbourne Airport is now served by a record 39 international carriers.

Services between Istanbul and Melbourne will initially operate three times a week via Singapore, with the  airline planning to fly non-stop upon the delivery of new long-range aircraft.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus and Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat

The inaugural flight was flown by a Boeing 777, with Boeing 787 Dreamliners and the flagship Airbus A350  aircraft to take over the service from later this month.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus said the airline’s entry into the Australian market provides new options  for travellers and local exporters.

“Turkish Airlines has an extensive network and flies to more countries than any other airline so this new  competitor in the Australian market is fantastic News for consumers,” she said.

“We’ve worked closely with the Victorian State Government to bring Turkish Airlines to Melbourne, and we  now look forward to growing their services over the coming years.

“Increased competition helps put downward pressure on prices, which will ensure Victorian residents and  businesses can stay connected with family, friends and clients around the world.

“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.”

Minister for Jobs and Industry Natalie Hutchins said she was proud to welcome Turkish Airlines flights to  Melbourne – which is the first time an airline has operated direct flights between Türkiye and Australia.

“Our international aviation sector continues to go from strength to strength,” she said.

“With more airlines choosing Melbourne as their destination of choice, we’re boosting tourism, trade,  international education, business connections and local jobs.”

“Victoria is home to Australia’s largest Turkish community and all Victorians will benefit from more direct  flights out of Melbourne – boosting local tourism across our state creating jobs and supporting small  businesses,” she said.

Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat said the day  marked a monumental milestone for the carrier, as it celebrates the realisation of a long-held ambition—to  extend its reach to the Australian continent.

“This achievement follows meticulous planning and extensive infrastructure developments, symbolizing the  successful bridging of Istanbul with a new and vibrant continent,” he said.

“The inauguration of our Melbourne route is a testament to our growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region  and underscores our unwavering commitment to fostering connections between diverse cultures and  communities across the globe.

“Through our unparalleled network, we are thrilled to offer our guests a gateway to global exploration,  ensuring that our legacy of exceptional service quality continues to flourish in every corner of the world.”