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Turkish Airlines Set to Make History with Largest Aircraft Order Ever

As part of the carrier's ambitious expansion plans, the order will likely include 400 narrow-body and 200 widebody aircraft from both Boeing and Airbus

by Fergus Cole

May 12, 2023

Photo: Turkish Airlines. Courtesy of Samet Dayı / Unsplash

Turkish Airlines has announced plans to order 600 aircraft next month, which would be the single biggest aircraft order in the history of the aviation industry.

The order, expected to be made in June 2023, will include around 400 narrow-body aircraft and 200 wide-body planes.

Ahmed Bolat, chairman of Turkish Airlines, said that he expects all 600 aircraft to be delivered by 2033, at which point the Turkish flag carrier will have at least 810 aircraft in its fleet—almost doubling its current fleet size, around 435 aircraft.

Photo: Turkish Airlines, Airbus A321. Courtesy of ONUR KURT.

An official announcement is expected during the International Air Transport Association (IATA) summit, which will take place in Istanbul between June 4-6. Bolat has suggested that Turkish Airlines is in the advanced stages of negotiations with Boeing and will also likely order some from Airbus at the Paris Air Show in June. However, he gave no further details.

“During the IATA we are going to announce orders,” said Bolat when speaking to journalists on Thursday. “With one of the big manufacturers, we are almost finishing discussions. We are going to order around 600 aircraft.”

The announcement comes just weeks after Turkish Airlines revealed its ambitious expansion plans, in which it claimed it was aiming to double its fleet size over the next decade.

Photo: Turkish Airlines, Airbus A350-900. Courtesy of TJ Bearfly.

Within ten years, the carrier plans to fly to 269 destinations worldwide, serve 170 million passengers annually, and generate an annual revenue of around $50 billion. The expected order for 600 aircraft will help the airline to reach these targets.

If the order for 600 aircraft goes ahead, it will smash the world record for the largest aircraft order in history, which Air India recently announced in December 2022. That order was for 470 aircraft, including 250 Airbus planes and 220 Boeing jets. Another Indian airline, IndiGo, is reportedly discussing an order for 500 airplanes.

Other airlines worldwide have also made significant aircraft orders in recent months. For example, Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair announced a multi-billion-dollar deal for ordering 300 Boeing aircraft, allowing the airline to double its operations. Saudi Arabia also ordered up to 121 Boeing aircraft in March 2023, divided between the country’s flag carrier, Saudia, and its proposed new national airline, Riyadh Air.