Turkish Airlines orders Airbus planes in multibillion-dollar deal that will boost UK jobs

The deal, initially for 230 planes, could eventually extend to 355 aircraft

The Turkish Airlines order will be made up mostly of A321 planes and A350 wide-body aircraft. Courtesy Turkish Airlines
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Turkish Airlines is ordering 230 Airbus planes as part of a multibillion-dollar deal that will send economic ripples through Europe.

The deal, one of Airbus’s biggest order announcements, will be made up mostly of A321 planes and A350 wide-body aircraft.

It follows a handshake accord in Istanbul, and adds weight to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambition that Turkey becomes a global power.

For manufacturers in the Airbus supply chain the multibillion-dollar deal represents thousands of jobs.

President Erdogan has championed a strong national carrier to help put Turkey and its $900 billion economy on the international map.

The airline says it flies to the most countries in the world, using its hub in Istanbul as a major transfer airport.

Turkish has said publicly for months that it wants to place a big order as it aims to almost double its fleet in the next decade.

“We are reinforcing our leading position in global aviation and contributing to the nation’s prominence as an aviation hub,” Turkish Airlines chairman Ahmet Bolat said.

The airline is initially buying 150 A321 planes, 70 A350 wide-body aircraft and a number of freighters, Airbus said. There are also rights to extend the deal to 355 aircraft.

“I wish good luck to our country and our company,” Turkish Airlines chief executive Bilal Eksi said.

In Britain, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch welcomed the deal, which will be worth billions of pounds to the UK alone, with the engines being made by Rolls-Royce.

“This landmark deal between Turkish Airlines, Airbus and Rolls-Royce demonstrates that the sky’s the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector,” Mr Sunak said.

“Meeting the growing demand in aviation will create better-paid jobs and new opportunities in manufacturing hubs from Derby to Wales, so we can continue growing the economy.”

The agreement will support thousands of high-skilled jobs across the UK and help to boost exports, Downing Street said.

All the wings will be designed in Bristol, and assembled in North Wales, supporting hundreds of manufacturing jobs in the UK aerospace supply chain.

The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines will deliver 25 per cent lower CO2 emissions compared to previous generation aircraft.

For Airbus, it was their second major scoop of the week after an order for 100 A321neo models from aircraft leasing firm Avolon was made on Tuesday.

Updated: December 15, 2023, 8:40 PM