Turkish Airlines has announced it has ordered more jets from Europe's Airbus plane maker. The move comes on the back of a very successful business year for the Turkish flag carrier and aims to enhance fuel efficiency.
Turkish Airlines announced on Friday that it planned to buy up to 117 planes from Airbus, with deliveries scheduled between 2015 and 2020.
"The airline's board of directors said 117 planes will be joined to the existing fleet," the carrier said in a statement. It added the deal focused on the A320 medium-haul family and included firm orders for 82 planes and an option for 35 additional jets.
Turkish Airlines voiced its interest in the more fuel-efficient planes in the A320 stable from Airbus, including the best-selling A320neo.
Rapid expansion course
"The A320 family with its economic benefits combined with superior cabin comfort will greatly contribute to meet our ambitious growth plans," Chief Marketing Officer Faruk Cizmecioglu explained.
Unlike many ailing carriers elsewhere in Europe, Turkish Airlines has been making an aggressive push to edge closer to the world's top airline players, putting itself in direct competition with Middle Eastern rivals Emirates and Qatar Airlines.
EADS subsidiary Airbus said it was the biggest order it had so far received from Turkish Airlines. The carrier logged a steep increase in passenger numbers last year, totaling 39 million people. It posted a 2012 bottom-line profit of 480 million euros ($627 million) and added 32 new destinations to its flight schedule, using a fleet of 202 planes.
hg/pfd (dpa, AFP, Reuters)