Airbus confirms that the Turkish national carrier Turkish Airlines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase of 36 Airbus single aisle and wide body aircraft, further strengthening Airbus’ presence in Central Eastern Europe. The purchase agreement is expected to be signed shortly.

This agreement renews the partnership between Turkish Airlines and Airbus that began in 1984, when the A310 became the first Airbus aircraft to be operated by the Istanbul-based airline. Now, 20 years on, following the introduction of the A340-300 in its fleet in 1993, Turkish Airlines has opted to use the modern and efficient Airbus family products, by acquiring 19 A320’s, 12 A321’s and five A330-200’s. The new aircraft will support Turkish Airlines’ aggressive growth strategy.

With deliveries scheduled as from end 2005, the airline, which operates domestic and international flights via Istanbul, plans to use the aircraft on both domestic, medium and long haul routes internationally. Turkish Airlines will select the engines type to equip the different aircraft at a later stage.

On the occasion of this announcement, the Chairman of Turkish Airlines, Dr. Candan KARLITEKİN said that “having analysed the tender proposals thoroughly, we have come to the conclusion that by acquiring the Airbus aircraft, Turkish Airlines will position itself optimally, both in terms of passenger appeal and cargo potential, but also cost-wise. The economic benefits brought about by the technological level and design features of these aircraft are unique and very compelling indeed.”

“We are delighted to be strengthening our relationship with Turkish Airlines and supporting it in its growth strategy” said Noel Forgeard, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer. “The advantages of using a mixed Airbus fleet are enormous and we are sure that Turkish Airlines crew and passengers will benefit from these. This agreement confirms the growing popularity of the A320 family in the Central and Eastern European region and the success of the A330-200, which has become the reference for medium-long haul routes and point-to-point destinations for both the traditional carriers and the charter market.

Airbus is a leading aircraft manufacturer with the most modern and comprehensive family of airliners ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats with the latest state-of-the art technologies on the market. Airbus has delivered more than 3,500 aircraft to 223 customers and operators world-wide, and boasts a healthy deliver backlog of some 1,400 aircraft, which, at current rates, represents close to five years of production. With an annual turnover of €19.2 billion in 2003, Airbus is a global company with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain, as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Japan. Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is a joint EADS Company with BAE Systems.

Note to the editor:

The Airbus A320 family includes the 100 seat A318, the 124-seat A319, the 150-seat A320 and the 185-seat A321. Each of these two-engine aircraft features the widest fuselage of any single-aisle aircraft in the world. In addition the A320 family features the most economical and environmentally responsible aircraft in their class, offering the lowest fuel burn, emissions and noice footprints in their size category. To date, Airbus has sold 3184 A320 Family aircraft to 122 customers world-wide.

Launched in 1995, the A330-200 is the unquestioned leader in its category, with a total of 260 orders from 30 customers, including 210 orders secured while its direct competitor, the 767-400, achieved only 37 orders. The Airbus A330-200 offers 253 seats in a standard 3-class configuration and a range of 6750 nm (12.500 km). It provides more comfort to passengers through its wider cabin and more flexibility in carriage of cargo pallets. The latest version of the A330-200 continues to offer the highest levels of technology in terms of structure, aerodynamics and systems, benefiting from the incorporation of many of the features developed for the A340-500 and –600. Lighter, stronger metal alloys and the expanded use of composites have reduced airframe weight, allowing for better economics and less fuel burn. New systems such as the electronic flight displays in the cockpit improve operability and reduce maintenance costs.

In addition to the specific product advantages of each family, the mix of A320 and A330 family aircraft allows Turkish Airlines to fully benefit from the communality advantages Airbus offers on its all fly-by-wire product range, increasing efficiency with the possibility of cross crew qualification and mixed fleet flying and reducing important cost centres such as training and maintenance costs.