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Turkish Orders 220 Airbus Aircraft

The airline recently confirmed its order for more Airbus aircraft, providing opportunities to expand its route network.

A Turkish A321 in London. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Turkish Airlines was rumored to be in talks with Airbus for a significant order for some time now. It was speculated, citing almost certainty, that the manufacturer would like to go into the recent Dubai Airshow with the announcement at hand. The order would be the perfect competition for the $52 billion order placed with Boeing by Emirates at the airshow.

Refueling the Carrier’s Growth

Turkish Airlines is operating a mixed-Airbus and Boeing fleet across its narrowbody, widebody and cargo fleet. In the past 20 years, the fleet size grew from just only 65 units to 394 at the end of 2022 and further to a whopping 439 in December 2023. With 220 units, the order comes in as a half of the current fleet of the carrier. Airbus already dominates both narrowbody and widebody parts of the fleet with A320 and A330 family planes. The said order will skew the numbers towards Airbus for years to come.

The carrier is famous for its network of destinations that counts as the highest in the world at 52 domestic and 263 international in 129 countries. Despite that fact, it still doesn’t operate to any destination in Australia, leaving it as the last of the six reachable continents, not operated by the airline.

Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat already mentioned on the sidelines of this year’s IATA annual general meeting (AGM) in Istanbul that the carrier is preparing to launch services to Australia in the coming years. The hopes to serve Sydney and Melbourne were inherently connected to the long-haul widebody aircraft order Turkish Airlines was expected to place. Now with the A350-1000 on its way, if Turkish Airlines reaches Australia, that’s going to be it.

Turkish Airlines fleet at the end of 2022 in the airline’s annual report. (Photo: Turkish Airlines)

A Vote of Confidence Towards Airbus

Airbus has scored some significant wins this year. The most notably Air France-KLM A350 order of 50 units and Air India massive order totaling 470 units but to be split between Airbus and Boeing. But it was just enough to stay in the game.

Up to this point this year, the show was absolutely stolen by the two ceremonial orders for Boeing. First, a significant order from Ryanair for 150 737 MAX aircraft together with options for 150 more opened the “big news of 2023” category.

Second, the previously-mentioned Emirates order came in the perfect place for such an announcement at the Dubai Airshow. Consisting mostly of the 90-unit large extension to the 777-X order the airline already had placed and a new opening for Boeing with Emirates sister airline Flydubai, coming in with an order for 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Now the order from Turkish Airlines levels the playing field. With the news coming in seemingly at the last moment in 2023, it will make the year-end comparisons more interesting, when the order books close for the year.

Filip Kopeć

Author

  • Filip Kopeć

    A passionate aviation enthusiast that started off his career as an aerospace engineer, but found his true calling on the commercial side of the airline business. Now as a finance guy among avgeeks and an avgeek among finance guys, he has experience working in the Revenue Divisions of three airlines. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, but admittedly sometimes is more about the journey than the destination.

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