Turkish Airlines (TK, Istanbul Atatürk) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Temel Kotil says his airline is considering beginning 5th Freedom flights from Indonesia to Australia as part of its ongoing push into the South East Asian/Oceanian market.

In an interview with CAPA earlier this year, Kotil said Turkish was currently studying the Istanbul Atatürk-Denpasar-Melbourne Tullamarine as well as Istanbul-Denpasar-Sydney Kingsford Smith routes. Given Bali's strong leisure traffic links with Australia, Kotil said the carrier could even establish a mini-hub in the region offering multiple daily flights from Istanbul to Australia via Bali.

Before settling on Denpasar, Turkish had also looked at services to Australia using either Singapore Changi or Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta as stopovers, he added.

At present, the Denpasar-Australia market is controlled by LCC Jetstar Airways (JQ, Melbourne Tullamarine) with 13,875 weekly seats followed by Garuda Indonesia (GA, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) with 5,397, LCC Indonesia AirAsia (QZ, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) with 5,040, Virgin Australia International (VA, Brisbane Int'l) with 3,520, and LCC Tigerair Australia (TT, Melbourne Tullamarine) with 3,420. Though Indonesia AirAsia X (XT, Denpasar) has announced plans to withdraw from Australia by September of this year citing stiff competition, Lion Air (JT, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) has expressed an interest in entering the market.

CAPA reports the Indonesian LCC is looking at serving Australia from Denpasar as well as Jakarta though Denpasar is a more likely initial gateway given its comparatively larger-sized market. Lion Group's Batik Air (ID, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) is currently in the process of applying for Australian regulatory approval ahead of plans to possibly serve Perth Int'l from either Denpasar or Jakarta, or both, initially.