March 15, 2013 / 1:50 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Turkish Airlines buys 117 Airbus planes in growth bid

ISTANBUL, March 15 (Reuters) - Turkish Airlines said it would buy 117 narrow-body planes from European aircraft maker Airbus, as it targets a bigger share of the global aviation market.

Turkey’s flag carrier announced 82 firm orders and options to buy a further 35 aircraft in the years 2015-2020.

Turkish Airlines said in a statement it would determine later how the order would be financed.

The order consists of 25 A321-200 aircraft, four A320 NEO, 53 A321 NEO and an option for a further 35 A321 NEO, it said.

Earlier this month, Turkish Airlines’ chairman told Reuters the company was still in talks with both EADS unit Airbus and Boeing over plans for narrow-body orders.

“Turkish Airlines is continuing to increase its share in the global aviation market and as the airline’s board of directors announced, 117 airplanes will join the existing fleet,” it said.

Turkish Airlines said its fleet would grow to 375 with this order, and others it has placed, while its average fleet age would decrease to 5 years from 6.6 by the end of 2020, it added. The airline has 211 aircraft.

The airline carried 39 million passengers last year and expects to reach 46 million passengers this year, growing to 90 million by the end of 2020, it said.

It wants to generate annual sales of $18 billion within seven years, after posting sales of nearly $8 billion last year.

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