March 6, 2013 / 8:36 AM / 6 years ago

Turkish Airlines still in talks on narrow-body jets

A picture shows the Turkish Airlines logo at Berlin's Tegel Airport November 6, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Airlines (THYAO.IS) is still in talks with both Airbus EAD.PA and Boeing (BA.N) over plans to order narrow-body planes and has not yet made a final decision on the number of aircraft it will buy, Chairman Hamdi Topcu told Reuters.

The world’s fastest-growing major carrier plans to expand its fleet of smaller planes this year after buying billions of dollars worth of larger models in 2012, making it a key client for global plane makers.

“The narrow-bodied plane order and numbers have not been finalized. Our work with Boeing and Airbus is continuing,” Topcu told Reuters on Wednesday in Ankara.

Topcu said in January the airline planned to order more than 100 narrow-body planes by the end of March. Industry sources had said Turkey’s flag carrier was expected to seek a large number of narrow-body jets, such as the 150-seat Airbus A320.

German magazine Focus reported over the weekend that Turkish Airlines wanted up to 120 of the A320 aircraft but held back from signing at the last minute after the airline said it wanted more Turkish suppliers to be involved.

Topcu also repeated that the company, 49 percent owned by the government with the remainder floated on the Istanbul stock exchange, was working on a possible bond issue.

“For the time being we don’t need financing, therefore we are not in a hurry on issues such as timing,” he said.

After launching 33 new destinations in 2012, the carrier hopes to open as many as 40 new routes in 2013, around a quarter of them to Africa, and aims to be flying to every country in Europe by the end of the year.

Writing by Nick Tattersall. Editing by Jane Merriman

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