Airbus seems to benefit from souring Turkish-American relations


Istanbul - Joy for Airbus. Turkish Airlines has announced its intention to buy up to 25 Airbus A350-900. There could be more.

It was quite a surprise for the market that Turkish Airlines signed a letter of intent to purchase 40 Boeing 787-9s in September.

"The Dreamliner is the most advanced aircraft in the world,
Turkish CEO Ilker Ayci had said at that time. The announcement caused a disappointment in Toulouse. Airbus had hoped to receive some order for its A350 from the Turkish national airline.

Shortly after that, there were rumors that the A350 was still on the table. Now, these rumors have come true. On January 5, Turkish Airlines confirmed that it had signed a letter of intent for 20 Airbus A350-900s. At the same time, the company has shown interest in having an option for five more copies of the same type. The deal was bagged at a meeting between Ayci with Airbus CEO Tom Enders in Paris.

An analyst who wants to remain anonymous and has close ties with Turkish Airlines management told "Airliner Watch" that politics might have a role in the recent decision. On January 4, (the day before Turkish announced interest in the Airbus A350) Turkish - US relations were further strained because of New York court's decision to convict a Turkish state banker over a massive scheme to help Iran evade American sanctions.

Ankara describes the decision as a political attack against Turkey.

How many Dreamliners and A350s Turkish Airlines will order in the end remains unknown. The two deals are so far only non-binding declarations of intent. On the other hand, just after the announcement, some rumors have raised again that Turkish could order up to 40 A350 in autumn.

Since the number (40 A350) is the same for 787-9s, which is subject to a letter of intent signed between Boeing and Turkish Airlines, it shouldn't be a prophecy that the letter of intent for 40 787-9 would never materialize unless there is a prominent improvement in relations between two countries.