Turkish Airlines May Buy Six Widebody Planes, Chairman Says

Turk Hava Yollari (THYAO) AO, also known as Turkish Airlines, is still considering whether to buy at least six superjumbos and will prepare terms of a tender by year-end should its board decide to go ahead, Chairman Hamdi Topcu said.

Tender terms would be presented to Airbus SAS (EAD) and Boeing Co. (BA), makers of A380 and 747-8 widebody planes, respectively, Topcu said in an interview at an airshow in Istanbul today.

Turkish Airlines is looking at jets bigger than Boeing’s 330-seat 777, currently the carrier’s largest model, to lure transfer traffic between Europe and Asia away from Air France- KLM Group (AF), Deutsche Lufthansa AG and British Airways-parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA. (IAG)

The company revised down plans from June to place orders for at least 15 jumbos because of unfavorable global economic conditions, Topcu said. The company hasn’t ruled out the purchase of the large planes, as reported by Zaman newspaper last week, he said. “If we decide to buy widebody planes, it needs to be at least six for a company like us and they will be from the same supplier,” he said.

Turkish Airlines is also in talks to buy more of the smaller Boeing 777 and Airbus 300-330 planes, Topcu said.

The carrier, which has 186 planes in its fleet, currently has 36 long-haul jets, according to its website, including 12 777s and 17 passenger-variant Airbus A330s. It also has two cargo A330s.

The fleet will expand to 200 by the end of this year and 206 through 2013, when an expansion program originally slated to end in 2015 will be completed, Topcu said June 21. The company is planning a next sequence of orders from 2014, with the total likely to reach at least 300 by 2023, it said at the time.

Turkish Airlines rose 0.3 percent to 3.81 liras in Istanbul, the highest level since May 12, valuing the company at 4.57 billion liras ($2.52 billion).

To contact the reporter on this story: Ercan Ersoy in Istanbul at eersoy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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