How The Airbus A350 & Boeing 787 Will Lead Turkish Airlines’ Fleet Strategy

In 2018, Turkish Airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 25 Airbus A350-900s. This aircraft is primed to become an integral member of the flag carrier of Turkey’s fleet this decade. Nonetheless, it won’t be the only modern widebody handling long-haul services. It will operate hand in hand with its rival, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

A substantial fleet

The airline’s fleet holds a total of 380 aircraft, including 254 narrowbody, 106 widebody, and 20 cargo units. The company notes that it ranks ninth in the world in terms of fleet size among passenger airlines.


Following the rise of the pandemic, the carrier focused on protecting its financial strength with effective crisis management practices. Following the firm’s negotiations with aircraft manufacturers, it made several revisions to its delivery schedule.

Then in May, Turkish Airlines ordered six additional A350-900s, which are set to begin arriving at the airline’s facilities at the end of the year and into 2023. Initially, in January, the A350 order was reduced by five units. Yet, with recovery in motion, there has been a positive twist of fate.

The A350 delivers 25% less fuel burn and carbon emissions per seat compared with previous generation aircraft. Photo: Turkish Airlines

Twinjet economics

Altogether, Turkish Airlines has plenty of trust in the A350 due to its balance of features that tend to requirements spanning customer experience, operational efficiency, and suitable capacity for passenger and cargo markets. The upcoming arrivals will join eight existing units of the type. Still, there could be further developments for the A350 in this next chapter.

As Chairman Ahmet Bolat informed Simple Flying:

“We will continue to receive our A350-900s that we have ordered before. On the other hand, we also make additional A350-900 agreements according to market conditions. “

The A350 is well spotted across Turkish Airlines’ extensive network. However, the Boeing 787 is currently the more dominant plane in the fleet, with 15 units of the model currently flying for the airline.

Bolat highlights:

“Currently, we use A350-900s mostly in the Americas and Asia and in some of our routes in the Middle East and Europe, and I can say that the performance indicators of the these routes are very good. We believe that the new A350-900s that will join our fleet, together with the 787-9s, will play an important role in both launching new long-distance destinations and increasing the frequency on existing routes. “

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At least 10 Dreamliners are yet to arrive. Photo: Turkish Airlines

Leading the way

A whopping 329 passengers can fit on board Turkish Airlines’ A350s. In economy class, there are 297 seats, while in business there are 32. Meanwhile, there are 300 seats on the carrier’s 787-9s. A total of 270 seats fit in economy class while 30 are placed in business.

It’s important to note that the A350 and 787 aren’t the only widebodies in the fleet. The airline also operates the A330 and 777 types. Nonetheless, it’s not a surprise to hear that there is a focus on the A350 and 787. These aircraft have been praised for their ability to cover passenger comfort, fuel efficiency, and operational costs in the modern era. In an age when every penny counts, their efficiency will not be understated.

All in all, with Turkish Airlines often serving more destinations than any other operator, the Airbus A320 family and Boeing 737 series narrowbodies will support the flagship widebodies well this decade.

What are your thoughts about Turkish Airlines’ fleet strategy? What do you make of the carrier’s overall operations with the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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