MIAMI — Turkish Airlines confirmed a sizeable order of 60 widebody Boeing and Airbus planes today. The Istanbul-based carrier will reconstruct its long-haul fleet with the addition of 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 30 Airbus A350-900s.
The airline will start receiving its first six planes next year, following with 14 in 2020, 10 in 2021, 12 in 2022, 11 in 2023, and 7 in 2024.
This large order of widebody planes comes after Turkish Airlines signed two memorandums of understanding (MoU) last year with both manufacturers as part of a Presidential visit to both the United States and France, by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Today, we’re pleased to conclude this process which will bring a landmark benefit not only to Turkish Airlines but also to Turkey’s aviation, by firmly ordering these aircraft to be added to our ever-expanding fleet,” said M. İlker Aycı, Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, Turkish Airlines.
The Turkish carrier continues to fairly split its Airbus/Boeing tab by selecting competing planes to rejuvenate its current long-haul fleet, a motion that has characterized the airline’s orders for the last seven years.
Turkish Airlines currently boasts a nicely-split fleet of 97 Airbus A319, A320, and A321s, as well as 84 Boeing 737-700, -800, and -900s.
READ MORE: Turkish Airlines To Order 20 Airbus A350-900
This list will be dramatically increased with the arrival of 92 Airbus A321neos and 75 Boeing 737 MAXs, revamping the performance and product offering of the airline’s single-aisle segment.
On the wide-body front, however, the tab slightly leans towards Airbus with 62 A330-200/-300s, and four A340-300s, whereas 35 Boeing 777-300s keep the American manufacturer ruling the airline’s high-density, longer-haul segments.
With this new order, Turkish continues to add more to the Airbus side with the inclusion of 25 A350-900s; though it remains unclear whether some of these will replace older A330s and the A340s that have been with the airline since the late 1990s.
“We are extremely proud at Airbus to count Turkish Airlines as a new A350 operator, the world’s most modern and efficient widebody aircraft,” said Eric Schulz, Chief Commercial Officer, Airbus’.
”This order strengthens and expands the long-lasting partnership between Airbus, Turkish Airlines and Turkey overall,” he said.
On the Boeing front, the inclusion of the Boeing 787-9 represents a significant step towards launching longer and thinner routes that the Turkish carrier hasn’t been able to grasp.
Currently, Turkish Airlines flies to 47 domestic and 226 international destinations in 118 countries. The inclusion of the Dreamliner might help squeeze in more routes that the Boeing 777-300ERs would be too big, and the A330s too expensive to run.
“We consider this to be a very important initiative to meet our need for widebody aircraft at Istanbul’s New Airport, which will serve as our new hub once its construction process is completed.” This great step, which will further strengthen our ever-expanding fleet for 2023,” said Aycı.
Both the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 programs keep scoring new orders. The former has reported a total of 854 firm orders from 45 customers, while the latter has 1,294 planes on its backlog.
The flag carrier of Turkey just reported a $175 million profit in 2017, highlighting an increase in total sales of $10.8 billion.
Turkish Airlines carried over 68.6 million passengers in 2017, a 9.3% increment compared to 2016. According to the airline, its average load factor remained at 79.1% in 2017—about 4.7 higher than the previous year.
“With Turkish Airlines serving more destinations than any other airline around the world, we are delighted to build our future on Airbus’ all-new A350 XWB to support the development of our international route-network from our Istanbul and Ankara hubs,” said Ayci.