Turkish airliner buys 75 planes for $12 bln

Turkish airliner buys 75 planes for $12 bln

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish airliner buys 75 planes for $12 bln

Tansportation Minister Binali Yıldırım (C), Pegasus Airlines Executive Board Director Ali Sabancı (2R) and others pose for photographers after a ceremony.

Private Turkish airline Pegasus announced yesterday that it had ordered up to 100 Airbus passenger jets as part of its newly revealed growth strategy up to 2023, the biggest single order ever made by a Turkish airline.

The airline placed a firm order for 75 planes and took options on 25 others from the Airbus A320 series, in a deal that would carry a catalogue price of $12 billion.

“When our first Pegasus flight took off we broke new ground by placing the biggest order in the history of Turkish private civil aviation at the time,” Pegasus Airlines Executive Board Director Ali Sabancı said at a signing ceremony, also attended by Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım, at the Pegasus headquarters in the Istanbul district of Kürtköy.

“As we look ahead to the next decade, we know that apart from human resources an airline’s most important asset is its fleet. Therefore, once again, we have said to ourselves, ‘we don’t yet have enough,’” Sabancı said.

Deal worth $12 billion

It’s not just the largest order in the private civil aviation sector, but also the largest in the history of Turkish civil aviation, according to Sabancı.

“We are delighted to be signing this agreement with the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, for 100 new A320neo and A321neo aircraft, worth a total of $12 billion. With this pioneering investment in 100 new aircraft, we at Pegasus are breaking new ground in the development of Turkish civil aviation,” he said. Transportation Minister Yıldırım said he was proud of the Turkish aviation sector’s performances.

“When I first came to office, 100 planes made up 67 percent of the total commercial fleet in Turkey,” Yıldırım said. “Today, one of our companies sets a target for 2023 and signs a $12 billion deal. We are also set to build the world’s biggest airport and there will be no problems when it becomes operational in three to four years. This shows how the political will has changed the country.”

Pegasus, which is considered a budget carrier firm, currently operates 40 Boeings, and this represents the first time Pegasus has not placed its orders with Airbus’ archrival Boeing of the United States. The firm is set to become the first Turkish airline to operate the A320neo plane, which is to be equipped with new engines and “sharklet” wing tips that provide substantial fuel savings.

Deliveries through 2022

Christopher Buckley, Airbus’s Executive Vice President, responsible for Europe and Asia-Pacific, said deliveries would begin in three years and run through 2022.

“Turkey is rapidly developing into Europe’s most dynamic commercial aviation market and Pegasus is one of the major players in this transformation,” Buckley said. Pegasus Airlines CEO Sertaç Haybat stressed that Pegasus Airlines had flown 49 million passengers since launching, adding that the firm had grown rapidly since its founding - recognized as Europe’s “Fastest Growing Airline” in 2011.The airline also owns 12.02 percent of the voting rights in the Germany low-cost airline Air Berlin.

Doomsday rumors hit airline companies


The ancient Mayan calendar’s purported doomsday prediction has hit local airline business for Dec. 21 flights.

According to the Mayans, an era of more than 5,000 years ends on Dec. 21, 2012, with rumors of this “doomsday” fueling much speculation. Customers are avoiding flights on Dec. 21 and preferring to buy tickets preceding or following that day, according to Murat Ersoy, the Chairman of Turkey Private Sector Aviation Enterprises’ Association (TÖSHİD). Airline companies reduced flight prices to between 36-69 Turkish Liras for Istanbul-İzmir, Istanbul-Antalya and Istanbul-Ankara flights on Dec. 21, however, these low-price tickets have still not been sold.

“Foreign airlines companies have the same problem as Turkish companies. We think most flights will have empty seats in America and Europe too,” Ersoy said.