So much for the A380 or 747-8. Turkish Airlines will order 40 787-9s from Boeing, a deal valued at $11 billion on paper.
Tourism in Turkey has been hit hard by terrorism in the last two years, but the country appears to be turning a corner. The order will revitalize the Turkish fleet and provide greater fuel efficiency and access to markets too small for the 777-300ER or A330 but too large for the A321.
Add this to Turkish Airlines’ order for 75 Boeing 737 MAX jets and you’re looking at a fleet that will be transformed. And arguably, its time…at least in premium cabins.
Business Class on the 777-300 still has middle seats (the configuration is 2-3-2). Today’s standard is direct aisle access from every seat. While Turkish still often undercuts it competitors on price, upgrading its product will ensure that it remains competitive as airlines continue to improve their business class offerings.
787-9 YES, 747-8 NO
Earlier this month I wrote about an alleged agreement between Turkish Airlines and Boeing to purchase 747-8s. Unfortunately (and hardly surprisingly), that did not come to fruition. It seems that four-engines jet continue to fall out of favor as the 787 and A350 families provide a “goldilocks” aircraft to many airlines: not too big, but not too small.
More Than Aircraft Orders
The deal with Boeing goes beyond just supplying jets.
With the Dreamliner agreement, Boeing also pledged to work with the Turkish government to accelerate the growth of the country’s aerospace industry. The initiative outlines a strategic framework aimed at bolstering research, engineering and skills development for Turkish carriers, service companies and suppliers.
That sounds more like fluff than anything substantive, but I’m curious to see what form this support would take on. Surely it is not in Boeing’s interest to create local competition within Turkey.
Let’s see if these new aircraft will simply replace existing aircraft or lead to a further expansion in Turkish’s global route map. Even now, Turkish serves more nations than any other airline. Will the new 787-9 allow it to expand further? Australia perhaps?