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THY Deepens its Long-Standing Partnership with Airbus & Rolls-Royce Through Historic Aircraft and Engine Orders

Issue 24 - 2024
THY Deepens its Long-Standing Partnership with Airbus & Rolls-Royce Through Historic Aircraft and Engine Orders

In December 2023, Turkish Airlines (THY) placed an order for 150 Airbus’ best-selling A321neo and 70 of the world’s most modern and efficient A350 widebody aircraft (50 A350-900s, 15 A350-1000s and 5 A350F freighters). Turkish Airlines had ordered further 10 A350-900s in September 1, 2023. The engines (Trent XWB) for the A350 Family will be provided by Rolls-Royce. On December 15, 2023 Rolls-Royce announced that Turkish Airlines would procure 120 Trent XWB-84 engines for the 60 A350-900s and 40 Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines for the 15 A350-1000s and 5 A350F freighters ordered from Airbus and to be delivered between 2025 and 2033. With this agreement, Turkish Airlines has become the world's largest operator of Trent XWB engines powering the Airbus A350.

In order to support and grow Türkiye’s position in the global aviation Turkish Airlines, Airbus & Rolls-Royce have decided to expand their long-standing partnership to the strategic level. In this context Türkiye’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines and Airbus have unveiled a Strategic Türkiye Enhanced Program (STEP) at a ceremony held on April 29, 2024 at the THY headquarters in İstanbul in the presence of the Turkish Ministers of Trade, Industry and Technology, Transport and Infrastructure, and Deputy Minister of National Defense as well as representatives of Rolls-Royce, top Turkish aerospace companies and the British Consul General, and undersecretaries of France and Spain. Guillaume FAURY, CEO of Airbus, Christian SCHERER, CEO of Airbus Commercial Aircraft Division, and Rob WATSON, President of Rolls-Royce Civil Aviation, were also present at the ceremony. 

Through STEP, Airbus, Turkish Airlines and their partners aim to grow collaboration and economic value in the country over the next 15 years.  

Türkiye has been an integral part of Airbus’ supply chain for over 20 years. A wealth of expertise, technological advancements and a highly skilled workforce has been established throughout the Türkiye’s aerospace sector. Today every Airbus commercial aircraft from the A220 to the A350 includes Turkish supplied parts. Over 3,500 Turkish aeronautical jobs are directly supported by Airbus. The accumulated volume spent by Airbus in Türkiye exceeded 4 Billion Dollar at the end of 2023 and - supported by STEP - will exceed 6 to 7 Billion Dollar by 2030.

STEP was created by Airbus and its partners in Türkiye to develop the Turkish Aviation Industry in line with Turkish Airlines growth ambition over the next decade as well as Türkiye’s aim to develop a globally recognized, robust aerospace industry.

In the context of STEP, Airbus intends to broaden its collaboration and presence in Türkiye focused on four main pillars; pillar one supports the development of the Turkish supply chain and the industrial capabilities of Turkish Aviation and Aerospace Sector, pillar two supports Turkish Airlines’ and its group of companies growth ambitions and operations, pillar three supports initiatives in the area of sustainability transformation and pillar four supports the increase of the Aviation Sector’s skills base. 

Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, Prof. Ahmet BOLAT stated: “Over the past two decades, Turkish Airlines and the Turkish Aviation Industry have achieved remarkable milestones. Today, Türkiye’s aviation industry seamlessly integrates design, manufacturing, and logistics to produce critical aircraft parts, structures, and engine components, and to provide engine maintenance services to the global aviation sector. As a significant contributor to this impressive transformation, we continue to drive momentum in every aspect of our operations. To build on the strong foundation already established and to explore new horizons in the aerospace industry, we are pleased to announce the launch of STEP, the Strategic Türkiye Enhanced Programme, in partnership with Airbus. Through this initiative, anchored in our commitment to performance, competitiveness, and quality, Turkish Airlines aims to create a sustainable and mutually beneficial environment for both the Turkish aviation industry and manufacturers. Given the rapid advancements in technology, today marks the commencement of our efforts to help cultivate Turkish aviation companies into prospective suppliers, aligning closely with Airbus’ strategic objectives and their newly identified business domains. With Türkiye's growing potential, we are steadfast in propelling the aviation industry towards even greater heights.”

“We thank Turkish Airlines for their trust and we are honoured to both support their growth as one of the world‘s elite airlines and develop our partnership with Türkiye through the new STEP programme we are unveiling today,“ said Airbus CEO Guillaume FAURY. “The program will provide the framework for Airbus to further broaden its collaboration with Türkiye and support Turkish Airlines’ growth ambitions, with a particular focus on supply chain development, skills and sustainability,” FAURY added. 

The ceremony also witnessed the signing of a joint statement between Turkish Airlines (THY) and Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce CEO Tufan ERGİNBİLGİÇ signed the joint statement on behalf of Rolls-Royce and Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines Prof. Dr. Ahmet BOLAT signed the joint statement on behalf of THY. 

As part of its long-term strategy and commitment to Türkiye, Rolls-Royce is working on the realisation of a number of industrial initiatives. These include the development of a competitive Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) capability and the expansion of the supply network in Türkiye. Rolls-Royce anticipates that these projects could have a significantly positive impact on the Turkish economy in the coming years.

Rolls-Royce already has well-established relationships with the Turkish aviation supply chain. Following this historic agreement, Rolls-Royce will work in partnership with the industry to increase its supply activities in Türkiye.

Rolls-Royce CEO Tufan ERGİNBİLGİÇ said: “Türkiye is a strategically important market for Rolls-Royce in all our business lines. We are delighted with Turkish Airlines' confidence in our Trent XWB engines. We look forward to working with Turkish Airlines and our partners to utilise our advanced aerospace engineering experience to benefit the Turkish economy, enhance the industry's capabilities and develop its role in the energy transition. On behalf of our company, I am personally very excited about the strengthening of our relationship with Turkish Airlines and the Republic of Türkiye.”

Prof. Dr. Ahmet BOLAT, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Turkish Airlines, said: “Rolls-Royce has been an important partner for Turkish Airlines for the past 15 years. With this latest acquisition, we are preparing to become the largest operator of XWB engines. This acquisition is an important milestone in our mutually beneficial strategic partnership for Rolls-Royce and Türkiye. As part of this strategy, we have agreed to establish a 'Steering Committee', through which the projects identified will be executed based on performance, competitiveness and quality criteria. The remarkable growth of the Turkish aviation industry in the last two decades positions this committee to elevate the ecosystem to new heights and provide greater value-added contributions to not only Türkiye but also the global aviation industry. Through this initiative, we aim to create a sustainable and mutually beneficial environment for both the Turkish aviation industry and Rolls-Royce.”

The Trent XWB engines, which are assembled and tested in Derby, UK will deliver 25% lower CO2 emissions compared to previous generation aircraft. Turkish Airlines (THY) selected Rolls-Royce’s Trent 700 engines to power A330 aircraft for the first time in 2009, and since then the long-term partnership between THY and Rolls-Royce has continued to grow and develop. THY also ordered Airbus A350 aircraft powered with Trent XWB Engines which entered into service starting from 2020. As of December 2023, THY already operates 40 Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-84 engines on the A350-900s and 26 Trent 700 engines on the A330s. In April 2018 THY selected GEnx-13 Engines for its B787 Dreamliner (25+5) aircraft but for its new B787 Dreamliner aircraft THY is also evaluating other candidates including the Trent 1000 of Rolls-Royce, which has been designed and optimized specifically to power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner Family of aircraft 

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