Flag carrier, Airbus seal 117-plane deal

Flag carrier, Airbus seal 117-plane deal

ISTANBUL – Agence France-Presse
Flag carrier, Airbus seal 117-plane deal

Turkish Airlines chairman of the board Hamdi Topcu (L) shakes hand with Airbus president Fabrice Bregier during a signing ceremony on April 17, 2013 in Istanbul. AFP Photo

Turkey’s flagship carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) signed an enormous deal for the purchase of 117 planes, from French aircraft manufacturer Airbus April 17.

“We are inking today the biggest deal ever clinched by a Turkish airline,” THY chairman Hamdi Topçu said during a ceremony with Airbus. 

The order centers on Airbus’ A320 medium-haul line and includes firm orders for 82 planes and an option for 35 others, estimated at $9.3 billion in total, to be delivered by 2020.

Attending the ceremony, Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım said further collaboration between the air industry giant Airbus and Turkish counterparts was needed, calling on the former to help the country build the structures needed to produce its own planes. 

“Small collaborations will not do anymore,” Yıldırım said, addressing Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier. “The later that decision is made, the more you lose. Turkey will not lose here. China just stepped up to invest in high-speed trains; Germany is also in the process of doing the same. Let’s not only exchange, but form an immersive cooperation,” Yıldırım added.

“The air sector in Turkey is hungry, it needs to grow,” Yıldırım said. “It cannot achieve that growth by building in Europe; it needs to produce here in Turkey. We expect – and want – our cooperation to move from simple transportation to production.” 

Şimşek also highlighted the importance of Airbus’ ongoing partnership with Turkey, stating that it should further contribute to the development of the sector. “The cooperation between Turkey and Airbus, the partnership, will not only contribute to the development of the civil aviation sector, but will further contribute toward both the space and airplane industries,” Şimşek said.