Turkish Airlines has signed a contract to order and option up to 117 Airbus A320-family aircraft.
Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines’ contract includes firm orders for 25 Airbus A321 current engine option (A321ceo) jets, four A320neos and 53 A321neos.
Turkish Airlines has also taken options on 35 additional Airbus A321neo aircraft.
The low number of Airbus A320neo jets that Turkish Airlines has included in its order suggests either that the carrier could re-specify these aircraft as A321neos before delivery or else that Turkish could place a sizable follow-on order at a later date for A320neo aircraft.
This order is the largest ever placed by a Turkish carrier, according to Airbus, which says Turkish Airlines will make its engine selection for the aircraft at a later date.
“We are placing our biggest-ever order with Airbus,” says Faruk Cizmecioglu, Turkish Airlines’ chief marketing officer. “At Turkish Airlines our customers expect the best. The A320 family with its economic benefits combined with superior cabin comfort will greatly contribute to meet our ambitious growth plans.”
“We are delighted with this new order from Turkish Airlines, which takes us above 2,000 NEO orders in a little over two years after launch,” says John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers.
Turkish Airlines already operates 76 Airbus A320-family aircraft: 14 A319s, 28 A320s and 34 A321s, all of them powered by V2500 engines made by the Pratt & Whitney-led IAE consortium.
The airline and its low-cost offshoot Anadolujet also operate 14 Boeing 737-700s, 63 737-800s (with 14 more on order) and nine 737-900ERs, with another six on order.
Turkish Airlines’ new order will help the carrier expand its short-to-medium-haul routes from its hub at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, according to Airbus, which says the commonality of the new aircraft with the airline’s existing Airbus fleet will generate additional cost savings.
The big Turkish Airlines order comes a day after Airbus announced the Lufthansa Group supervisory board had approved a group order for 100 A320-family jets, including 35 A320neos, 35 A321neos and 30 A320ceo jets. Lufthansa Group is the biggest airline customer for Airbus commercial aircraft.
Germany and Turkey have recently held talks at government-minister level to explore ways in which Turkish Airlines – which is currently probably the fastest-growing airline in the world – and Lufthansa Group (Europe’s largest airline group) can increase their cooperation, with a potential merger between the two huge Star Alliance-member airline groups also coming under discussion.
More than 9,150 A320-family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,450 delivered to more than 385 customers and operators worldwide.
According to the manufacturer, the Airbus A320neo family has airframe commonality of more than 95 per cent with the existing A320ceo family, making it an easy fit into existing fleets while offering up to 500 nautical miles (950 kilometers) more range or two tonnes more payload at a given range.