Turkish Airlines intends to sign orders for 600 airliners within two months, its chairman said Monday, which would be the largest order in the history of civil aviation. The airline is in talks with Boeing and Airbus to acquire 400 single-aisle 737 MAX and A320neo aircraft, as well as 200 wide-body aircraft, such as Boeing 787 and 777 and Airbus A350, Ahmet Bolat said at a press conference on the sidelines of the general assembly of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Istanbul.
We were very close to doing business with one of the manufacturers," Bolat said, citing delays related to the recent Turkish presidential election: "We will wait two months before announcing our final decision." He declined to elaborate on the breakdown of orders between U.S. and European aircraft manufacturers. Quoted in press reports, Ahmet Bolat had already mentioned this order, speaking of an announcement at the IATA General Assembly.
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It would allow Turkish Airlines to increase its fleet to more than 800 aircraft within ten years, against 435 currently, said Ahmet Bolat, whose company is engaged in an all-round development, especially to Africa and Asia, taking advantage of the recent giant airport of Istanbul, its main hub. With its future long-haul flights, Turkish Airlines wants to be able to connect Australia non-stop, both to serve the Turkish expatriate community, but also to encourage Australians to visit Turkey on sightseeing, noted the business leader.
If it goes ahead and involves firm orders, this operation will be the largest in the history of commercial aviation, surpassing the 470 aircraft ordered by Air India in February. The Indian carrier, recently privatized, had then signed for 400 medium-haul and 70 long-haul, broken down into 250 Airbus and 220 Boeing.