Turkish Airlines (THY) took delivery of the first of its five long haul Airbus A330-200s and the first of its 19 purchased Airbus A320s, during a recent ceremony held in Istanbul. The A330-200 aircraft are powered by General Electric CF6-80E1 engines and the A320s by International Aero Engines V2500s, respectively.

This A330-200 complements Turkish Airlines existing A340 long range fleet. The airline will also add an additional 12 A321s to its short to medium haul fleet. Turkish Airlines already operates an Airbus fleet of seven A310s, 12 leased A320s, seven leased A321s and seven A340-300 aircraft, fully exploiting the unique common design concept pioneered by Airbus.

The A330-200 is ideally suited to fly all of the THY long range routes as well as medium range high capacity routes, mainly to the US, Asia and Europe. The A320 Family will fly on European, domestic and regional services. Both the A330 and A320 aircraft are designed in a very comfortable two-class configuration. The A330 can seat 250 passengers, while the A320 is configured for up to 159 seats.

"This contract is proof of the continued, successful and unique relationship we have with Airbus, which began 20 years ago", Turkish Airlines Chairman Mr Candan Karlitekin said at the ceremony. "With the A330 and the A320 we are buying aircraft which are excellent in terms of fuel consumption, passenger comfort, and which perfectly complement our short, medium and long range fleets.

Airbus President and CEO Gustav Humbert, added: "Turkish Airlines and Airbus have enjoyed an extraordinarily cooperative relationship over the past two decades in building THY's aircraft fleet. THY has previously leased Airbus A320s and A321s and this purchase order reflects the trust they have in our modern family of aircraft. We believe that this relationship and our extremely economical state-of-the-art aircraft play a valuable role in the continuous expansion and profitability of their airline."

Sharing the same cockpit layout, operational procedures and handling characteristics, the aircraft may be operated as a single fleet, with pilots qualified to fly all types. Further benefits are also achieved through streamlined maintenance procedures as a result of the high level of common on-board systems and airframe components shared by the A320, A330 and A340.

Headquartered in Toulouse, France, Airbus is an EADS joint Company with BAE Systems.