ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Airlines (THY) will order a total of 600 new aircraft in June and they will be delivered within ten years, company chairman Ahmet Bolat said on Thursday.
Such an order, if confirmed, would be the largest in the industry's history by a single airline, eclipsing a record order by Air India for 470 Airbus and Boeing planes in December, but his comments took some industry sources and analysts by surprise.
Speaking weeks before Turkey is due to host airline leaders from the International Air Transport Association, Bolat said the order would consist of 400 narrow-body aircraft and 200 wide-bodies, adding the fleet would increase to 810 aircraft by 2033.
"During the IATA we are going to announce orders. With one of the big manufacturers, we are almost finishing our discussions. We are going to order (a total of) around 600 aircraft," Bolat told reporters at a press meeting for the launch of the company's renewed inflight dining concept.
IATA's annual summit, grouping some 280 airlines, will be held in Istanbul on June 4-6.
Bolat said THY was close to a deal with Boeing for part of the order but did not give further details.
Boeing declined to comment.
Turkish Airlines could hand an order for the rest of the new aircraft "to the other manufacturer" at the next European air show in June, Bolat added in an apparent reference to Airbus, Boeing's European rival.
Airbus declined to comment.
The Paris Airshow takes place in the week of June 19.
Addressing Turkey's landmark elections on May 14, he said he expected the company's top management to continue on after the vote so that Turkish Airlines can carry out its 10-year growth plan.
Airlines have been bulk-ordering planes to secure dwindling slots as travel rebounds following the pandemic.
THY has ambitious plans to attract more traffic to its Istanbul hub, competing with European and Gulf rivals.
Ireland's Ryanair placed an order for up to 300 narrow-body jets earlier this week and India's IndiGo is in talks to buy around 500 jets, Reuters reported in March.
Boeing shares rose 0.6%. Airbus ended down 0.3%.
THY last month announced a 10-year strategic plan and growth targets that include a goal of handling 170 million passengers by 2033, compared to over 85 million in 2023.
(Reporting by Ceyda Caglayan, Tim Hepher; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Daren Butler, Jonathan Spicer and Jane Merriman)