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İbrahim Sünnetçi

Turkish Airlines’ Historic Order for 150 A321neo and 80 A350 Family Aircraft

Issue 24 - 2024
Turkish Airlines’  Historic Order for 150 A321neo and  80 A350 Family Aircraft

Aiming to increase its passenger numbers by 7.4% to over 170 million and to grow its fleet to over 800 aircraft in the next decade, Turkish Airlines, will procure some 600 aircraft including 400 narrow-body and 200 wide-body from both Airbus and Boeing, in the next decade to achieve 2033 Strategy and to compensate for retirements on the way. 

For narrow-body requirement in December 2023, THY ordered 250 A321neo (150 firm + 100 optional) and a total of 105 A350 (60 A350-900 + 20 optional, 15 A350-100, 5 A350F + 5 optional) wide-body aircraft from Airbus. Both aircraft types incorporate advanced technologies, achieving remarkable improvements in fuel burn, operating costs, CO2 emissions, and noise reduction, underscoring Turkish Airlines’ commitment to sustainability and passenger comfort. 

THY also carry out discussions with the Boeing for the procurement of a high number of B737 MAX narrow-body and B787 Dreamliner wide-body airliners. It is also said that the aforementioned 600 aircraft order will also cover some 25 to 30 B77X aircraft. As of March 18, 2024 the Boeing part of the fleet investment is still under negotiation.

In line with 2033 Strategy to expand its fleet size to 813 aircraft by 2033, Turkish Airlines announced a monumental expansion of its fleet with the acquisition of up to 355 state-of-the-art Airbus aircraft on December 15, 2023. According to THY announcement within the scope of this historic order the airline had made firm orders for 230 jets (150 A321neo and 80 A350 Family aircraft) and placed purchasing rights for an additional 125 aircraft. In the statement issued by the Turkish Airlines’ Press Office on December 15, it was underlined that the firm order for 60 A350-900 aircraft also included 10 A350-900s that Turkish Airlines had ordered in September 1, 2023 and thus covered only 50 new aircraft. The airline’s confirmed order purchase, which includes 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), has a catalogue price of more than 40 Billion USD. This follows two orders from the THY for 4 A350-900s in July 2023 and 10 A350-900s in September 2023. This latest order will take Turkish Airlines’ total orderbook for Airbus aircraft to 504, of which some 220 are already delivered. 

The engines (Trent XWB) for the A350 Family will be provided by Rolls-Royce. Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier of Türkiye, said the deal also includes a separate order for Rolls-Royce to provide maintenance services and spare parts for the A350 jets’ engines. The Trent XWB engines, which are assembled and tested in Derby, UK will deliver 25% lower CO2 emissions compared to previous generation aircraft. On December 15, 2023 Rolls-Royce announced that Turkish Airlines would order 100 Trent XWB-84 engines for the A350-900s and 40 Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines for the A350-1000s and A350F freighters ordered from Airbus and to be delivered between 2025 and 2033. 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.

This strategic acquisition underscores Turkish Airlines’ commitment to enhancing its operational efficiency, environmental stewardship, and passenger comfort. In line with this significant fleet expansion, Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier of Türkiye, plans to continue to reinforce its status as an airline with one of the world’s most comprehensive flight networks. The addition of these Airbus aircraft will further enhance the airline’s ability to connect Türkiye to the farthest corners of the globe, offering its passengers even more destinations and travel options while maintaining the highest standards of service and connectivity that Turkish Airlines is renowned for.

On the new order, Turkish Airlines Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, Prof. Dr. Ahmet BOLAT stated: “This landmark order is more than an expansion; It's a testament to our dedication to innovation, operational excellence, and a sustainable future. The addition of these advanced Airbus aircraft to our fleet will not only enhance our operational capabilities but also significantly contribute to our environmental goals. This investment is a crucial milestone in the further evolution of Türkiye’s aviation industry. By modernizing our fleet with more efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft, we are reinforcing our leading position in global aviation and contributing to the nation's prominence as an aviation hub.

Furthermore, this expansion will also have a considerable positive impact on Türkiye’s tourism sector. Enhanced flight operations and increased connectivity, thanks to these state-of-the-art aircraft, will attract more international tourists, boosting the tourism economy. This will not only showcase Türkiye's rich cultural heritage and natural beauty to a wider audience but also support the overall growth of the country. With our home base in Istanbul, which straddles continents, we continue our mission of bridging people from all over the world. These new aircraft are not just a step forward for Turkish Airlines but represent a leap forward for the broader aviation and tourism industries in Türkiye, guiding us towards an even brighter future.” 

“This order for the latest generation aircraft is a demonstration of the bold vision by Turkish Airlines. The A350-900, A350-1000, A350F and A321 will all be flagship aircraft in their respective category and efficiency drivers to shape the airline’s future and sustainable expansion, with more range, less fuel, noise and emissions and best cabin in class. The opening into the A350-1000 and the A350F highlights the cross-model value of the A350 Family and reinforces our long-lasting partnership with Turkish Airlines and Türkiye’s aviation sector overall and we are proud to accompany Türkiye’s connection to the world with our state-of-the-art aircraft,” commented Christian SCHERER, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International.

A significant portion of the manufacturing process for the THY’s new aircraft is expected to take place in the UK. All the wings will be designed in Filton, Bristol, and assembled in North Wales, supporting hundreds of manufacturing jobs in the UK aerospace supply chain. Thus, UK Prime Minister Rishi SUNAK and Business and Trade Secretary Kemi BADENOCH have welcomed the historic deal for Airbus to provide 220 aircraft for Turkish Airlines, which will be worth billions of pounds to the UK and will support thousands of high-skilled jobs across the UK. The British Government said December 15, 2023 deal includes 70 aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce. “This landmark deal between Turkish Airlines, Airbus and Rolls-Royce demonstrates that the sky’s the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector,” British Prime Minister Rishi SUNAK said in a statement issued on the same day. Business and Trade Secretary Kemi BADENOCH said, “This is a big win for the UK’s world-leading aerospace sector and one that will help secure high-skilled jobs across the country and drive economic growth.”

On the THY’s new order, Rolls-Royce CEO Tufan ERGINBILGIC said: “Today’s announcement marks an exciting and truly historic day for Rolls-Royce. It is proof that the actions we are taking to transform Rolls-Royce into a high performing and competitive company underpinned by profitable growth are working. The Trent XWB is the perfect engine platform to support Turkish Airlines as it continues to grow. This order will make Turkish Airlines the largest Trent XWB operator in the world, and I would like to thank them for putting their trust in Rolls-Royce...”

The A321neo is the largest aircraft in Airbus’ A320neo Family, offering unparalleled range and performance. By incorporating new generation engines and Sharklets, the A321neo brings a 50% noise reduction and more than 20% fuel savings and CO₂ reduction compared to previous generation single-aisle aircraft. Having the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the aircraft is the perfect contender for maximizing comfort.

The A350 is the world’s most modern and efficient widebody aircraft and the long-range leader in the 300-410 seater category, flying efficiently on any sector from short-haul to ultra-long-haul routes up to 9.700nm. Its clean sheet design includes state-of-the-art technologies, aerodynamics, lightweight materials and latest generation engines that together deliver 25% advantage in fuel burn, operating costs and CO₂ emissions, as well as 50% noise reduction compared to previous generation competitor aircraft. This makes the aircraft a good neighbor and global citizen wherever it flies. The A350 Family has two versions: the A350-900, and the longer fuselage A350-1000, both offering an ultimate passenger experience even on the longest of flights. Its innovative design delivers a true feeling of spaciousness, with wide seats, high ceilings and alluring ambient lighting.

The A350F features the largest main deck cargo door and a fuselage length optimized for cargo operations. Over 70% of the airframe is made of advanced materials, which together with efficient Rolls-Royce engines generate an advantage of at least 20% lower fuel burn and CO₂ emission over its current closest competitor 

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