Turkish Receives Brazil Boost, Confirms Melbourne

Turkish a350-900
Credit: Trevisan Aviation Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) has confirmed several new air service agreements designed to increase traffic to the Latin American country, including signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Türkiye.

The pact with Türkiye removes the limit on the number of permitted flights between the nations, allowing airlines to determine the frequency and capacity of international air transport services to be offered, based on “market-specific commercial considerations.” Carriers will also have the authority to exercise fifth-freedom traffic rights at any intermediate points and beyond.

The Brazil-Türkiye market is served nonstop at present by Turkish Airlines, which flies 11 times per week between its Istanbul Airport hub and Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) using Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The Star Alliance member has been seeking to grow its footprint in the Brazilian market for some time, previously identifying Rio de Janeiro as a prospective destination.

Additionally, Turkish Airlines signed a codeshare agreement with GOL Linhas Aéreas in April 2022 covering the Brazilian airline’s entire domestic network. The move also includes four of GOL’s international routes from GRU to Asuncion, Paraguay; Lima, Peru; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Santiago, Chile.

Alongside the Brazil-Türkiye MoU, ANAC says that air service agreements have been signed with Uganda as well as Antigua and Barbuda, while replacement deals have been signed with Austria, Italy, Iceland and Saudi Arabia. Agreements with the Czech Republic and Oman are also pending ratification.

Other changes include an MoU with Qatar to remove limits for passenger and cargo services under fifth-freedom rights, and an MoU with the United Arab Emirates to open seventh-freedom rights for cargo services.

ANAC simplified regulations for foreign carriers in September 2022 and has since launched a program called Fly2Brazil to attract new airlines and routes. The organization says it wants to stimulate competition, enhance the country’s connections with foreign destinations and “further democratize access to air transport in the medium term.”

The potential boost for Turkish Airlines’ plans in Brazil comes as the carrier has confirmed that Melbourne will be its first destination in Australia. In a short statement to investors, the airline said it has decided to start operating scheduled flights to the city, “based on market conditions.”

In December, Australia’s government approved an increase in the number of weekly flights permitted from Türkiye, rising from seven to 21 with immediate effect. The total will swell to 28 per week from the start of the northern winter 2024-25 season and to 35 per week from winter 2025-26.

The frequencies cover service to Australia’s four largest international gateways—Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney—as well as the under-construction Western Sydney International Airport, which is scheduled to open in 2026. The approval also permits fifth-freedom traffic rights at two points in Asia or the Middle East between Istanbul and Australia.

Turkish Airlines is expected to initially launch a one-stop service Melbourne via Singapore, operating flights onboard Boeing 787-9 aircraft. However, the longer-term aim is to serve Australia nonstop using A350-1000 or 777X equipment. Chairman Ahmet Bolat told Aviation Week in December that the airline is also exploring a new partnership with Australian domestic carrier Rex.

David Casey

David Casey is Editor in Chief of Routes, the global route development community's trusted source for news and information.