Turkish Airlines Is Ordering 40 Boeing 787s

Filed Under: Turkish

Update: Here’s a review of Turkish Airlines’ new 787-9 business class.

Here’s something I didn’t see coming. Yesterday it was announced that Turkish Airlines is finalizing an order for 40 Boeing 787-9 aircraft. An order for 40 widebody planes is massive (it’s valued at ~10 billion USD), and a big win for Boeing over Airbus, given how competitive the two largest aircraft manufacturers are.

Once the order is finalized we’ll get a better sense of whether all 40 orders are firm, or whether those 40 orders include options, where the airline can later decide whether or not they want to take on some of those frames. I suspect the latter is the case given how big the order is. At that point we’ll also get a better sense of when Turkish will be getting these planes.

As of now, Turkish’s lounghaul fleet consists of 16 A330-200s, 37 A330-330s, and 33 777-300ERs.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

In terms of size, the 787-9 is somewhere between the A330 and 777-300ER, so my guess is that long term the 787 is intended to replace the A330s. Turkish has a young average fleet age — their A330s are an average of about five years old, while their 777s are an average of about four years old. So short term there’s not a need to replace either plane type — we’ll see whether this order is intended to expand the fleet or replace the existing fleet once we learn about when they’ll take delivery of the planes.

The best part of the announcement is that it shows that Turkish is recovering and looking towards the future. The airline has been hit hard, between their weak currency, airport bombingmilitary coup that closed down the airport, and general safety concerns surrounding Istanbul. Late last year Turkish began subleasing some of their planes in an effort to cut costs, so an order for 40 planes shows they’re confident in the future.

There had been some rumors circulating that Turkish was considering buying some 747-8s, which never made much sense to me. A 787 order seems much more sensible, especially given how Turkish relies on frequencies in many markets to build their route network — that’s how they’re able to offer service to more countries than any other airline.

This is proving to be a good couple of weeks for the 787, between this and the Malaysia Airlines order.

What do you make of Turkish’s 787 order?

  1. I wonder if they’ll go so far as to push some 787-9 to do IST-MEL or IST-SYD? Would be very profitable for them given how many small European cities they can connect the passengers to/from

  2. Erdogan is a dictator who has made efforts to ingratiate himself to the U.S. President. He met with Trump yesterday. This is a geopolitical play more than an airline play. Where’s the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies when you need them?? 😛

  3. I hope this means they’ll finally phase out the 2-2-2 layout in J and introduce 1-2-1 all aisle access.

  4. Leaving aside the points that @Gary Left bring up, which I mostly agree with by the way.

    There is also the fact that the new airport in Istanbul is set to open in late October next year with an initial capacity of 90 million passengers set to rise to 150 million by 2030 when all part of the airport is ready.

    So if TK is going to grow when there is airport space again they need more wide-bodies, they even have a secondary hub at SAW with just short/medium haul routes today because IST is so full.

  5. Agree completely with Gary Leff. The EU recently sidelined Turkey’s path to membership, so Turkey is pushing back with clear signals that it will dump its Airbus fleet and align more closely with the US. France and Germany have a huge stake in Airbus, and they won’t like the prospect of 50+ low time A330’s hitting the market.

  6. THY is an unsafe airline, with a horrible safety record. Do a turkish search on AvHerald.com. Or just look at their fatality rate. The Turkish culture isnt made for safe flying.
    I dont care how many planes they buy, or how good their service are, or how cheap their fares are. Im not flying them and neither is my family.

  7. This order makes perfect sense – they’re gearing up for when they won’t be capacity constrained anymore by Ataturk Airport. They want to be a global superconnector hub a la Dubai, and no doubt this allows them to open up a bunch of long-skinny routes from the new mega-airport.

  8. @John

    Turkey is not the only one. The Visegrad group (Czech, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia) is already realigning itself more with the US than the EU to show that we will not be pushed around with sanctions

  9. wow, this place turned into a total Anti-Turkey and anti-Turkish Airline propaganda mania.. what a whoop of hatred comments flowing around 🙂

    Calm down people, the world is not what it looks like on your TVs. For example Turkey is protecting 3,500,000 refugees with NO reason of politics, oil, money like the rest of the world (USA,EU,Russia,Israel) but for Humanity. out of its own pocket. same in Arakan-Myanmar, Somalia, 40 countries in Africa..

    And + TURKISH AIRLINES is SIGNING a DEAL with AIRBUS for 40 A350 planes. 😉 just wait..

  10. John – I think you HUGELY overestimate how much the French and German governments or population care about 50 Airbus aircraft joining the second hand market prematurely…

    Likewise with an order for (most likely less than) 40 Boeing aircraft. Granted Trump loves soundbites and publicity so will no doubt have a few happy things to say – but if you think this is going to remotely change the attitude of the US government towards Turkey then I think you, and Gary, are far too involved in this hobby to see politics clearly and are giving it an inflated sense of importance.

  11. Adam – I don’t particularly believe that, but good luck to The Visegrad group anyway. While previously a huge proponent of EU expansion, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that certain countries in Eastern Europe just aren’t, for want of a better word, civilised enough to be a proper member of the EU anyway. If they’re happy giving up the huge development boost they’ve been given by the EU then good for them – we can stop wasting our money!

    Hamza – There is criticism of Turkey because it’s being morphed from a vaguely liberal democracy into an authoritarian dictatorship. The fact they’re helping Syrian refugees is completely irrelevant to that point…

  12. Callum- As you replied to Adams comment, I couldnt help but smile at the point you made about the development boost that the EU had to offer. If I understand correctly, this boost was not found enough by the most democratically rulled parlement (GB) in the world today. How am I to belive this political statement when Airbus being a European company has been declining with sales more than ever? Right wing racists parties and the Trump like ideology spreading throughout the continent of Eroupe, I dont blame one of the fastest developing countries in its reagion to push aside the offer for a more humain way to aproch politics. This does not mean Turkish Airlines is fully blocking out offers. An airliner that has been the best airliner in Eroupe according to Skytrax for 5 years in a row didnt have it happen overnight.

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