Turkish Airlines to lease ten Airbus A321neos from leasing firm AerCap  

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With one eye firmly fixed on accelerating its ambitious route expansion plans, Turkish Airlines has entered into a lease agreement with Irish-based leasing giant AerCap for ten new Airbus A321neo passenger jets.

Adding the new narrow-bodied aircraft to its fleet will allow the Istanbul-based carrier to expand into new markets and increase frequencies in others while it awaits the delivery of the 194 A321neos it has on order direct from Airbus. According to ch-aviation, the airline currently operates 65 A321s and 58 A321neos within its fleet.

In recent years, Turkish Airlines has been rolling out services to a huge number of new destinations including Australia for the first time in March 2024, when it commenced direct Istanbul to Melbourne flights. As a key member of the Star Alliance group of carriers, Turkish Airlines has a current fleet of 457 aircraft (both passenger and cargo aircraft) and flies to 346 worldwide destinations across 130 countries, including 293 international and 53 domestic cities.

“We are very pleased to support Turkish Airlines with the lease of these ten new A321neo aircraft, helping them to continue to grow their extensive route network while modernizing their narrowbody fleet for greater operational efficiency,” said Aengus Kelly, the Chief Executive Officer of AerCap.

“We wish the entire Turkish Airlines’ management team every success and we look forward to building on our long-term partnership as these aircraft deliver, and beyond.”

“We are happy to further enhance our fleet with ten new Airbus A321neo aircraft through our partnership with AerCap,” said Turkish Airlines Chairman, Prof. Ahmet Bolat. “This addition aligns with our strategy to continue offering our passengers a modern and efficient travel experience while supporting our ongoing expansion plans for new routes and increasing the frequency of existing ones. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with AerCap,” Bolat added.

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Turkish Airlines has been displaying some serious growth ambitions throughout 2024 so far and is said to be close to placing a large order for further new aircraft shortly. Meanwhile, in June 2024, the carrier revealed its traffic numbers for 2023. In line with the airline’s ambitious growth goals, passenger traffic metrics showed double-digit increases across the board. 

The airline carrier carried a record 83.4 million people during the year, of which 53 million flew internationally (a 14% increase over 2022). Remarkably, international traffic was up 27% compared to 2019, while growth in the domestic market, which is driven largely by continued capacity increases, was even sharper at 23.5%, reaching the 30 million passenger mark.  

These figures alone explain why the carrier is so keen on taking additional aircraft early where possible to accelerate its ambitions for further growth. The addition of the ten AerCap aircraft will certainly assist the company in fulfilling those ambitions, to a degree at least.

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