by Vinay Bhaskara
Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines has been pursuing a strategy of rapid fleet and destination growth over the past few years. Already, they are the airline which serves the most countries in the world, and they have already announced plans to start 41 new destinations over the next two years.
The following table details Turkish Airlines’ expansion plans over the next two years. Of the 41 destinations, 26 have definite start dates spread across the end of 2012 through June 2013 while the rest have more nebulous timelines. Geographically, there are 16 new destinations in Africa, 11 in Europe, 7 in the Americas, 6 in the Middle East and Central Asia, and 3 in Asia proper. These new flights would add a grand total of 147 new weekly frequencies to Turkish Airlines’ already massive hub in Istanbul.
Meanwhile, Bangalore Aviation can also release the fleet matrix for Turkish Airlines’ growth plans. Currently, the plan calls for Turkish Airlines to grow from a fleet of 192 aircraft today (37 widebody, 155 narrowbody) to a fleet of 220 aircraft (69 widebody, 151 narrowbody) by the end of 2017. With a current orderbook of 67 aircraft, this means that Turkish Airlines will be retiring more than 39 aircraft from the fleet (3 widbodies and 36 narrowbodies). The widebody fleet plans seem relatively definite, as the next generation Boeing 787 and A350 are sold out till past 2017. However, the fleet growth plans may change slightly, given that Turkish Airlines has expressed interest in ordering between 6-12 large widebodies (Boeing 747-8 intercontinental or Airbus A380). On the narrowbody side, Turkish Airlines will likely order both the 737 MAX and the Airbus A320neo reengined products, but the majority of such deliveries would take place after 2017 anyhow given the current respective orderbooks. Turkish Airlines could also add a smaller type such as the Embraer E190 or the Bombardier C-Series and those would be available more quickly, changing the dynamic of the fleet plan considerably. In fact, Bangalore Aviation thinks that it is likely that Turkish Airlines will order a smaller narrowbody (probably the C-Series given its longer range) as it vanquishes current expansion paths and adds even-thinner new routes.