Turkish Airlines Going Big on Cargo

It seems that there is no end to Turkish Airlines plans to become one of the largest and most important players in the air cargo scene. This is proven by their strategic fleet expansion including freighter aircraft.

A330-200F of TK taking off  /  company courtesy
A330-200F of TK taking off / company courtesy

The Istanbul based carrier has recently announced that they have placed an order with Airbus for a further four Airbus A330-200 freighters.
The aircraft will be operated by Turkish Cargo, a 100% daughter of Turkish Airlines.

Already five A330-200F‘s in service.
Turkish Cargo presently operates a fleet of five A330-200Fs on services to and from Istanbul Ataturk airport.
Almost doubling their freighter fleet will bring TK Cargo into the camp of the large airfreight operators.
The order for four additional aircraft is in TK’s view a way for them to quickly meet the ever growing cargo market and ensuring that Istanbul being further developed as one of the world’s most important air cargo hubs.

Dr Temel Kotil, CEO of Turkish Airlines stated that: „the A3330-200F freighter aircraft have demonstrated outstanding operational reliability and performance for our cargo transport operations. It is with this in mind that we chose to expand our freighter fleet with more A330-200Fs.”

Loyal Airbus client
This is a much needed shot in the arm for Airbus who recently have not been having much luck in competing against Boeing with their B777 Freighter version.
Whether other carriers will follow TK’s move, remains to be seen.
Airbus claims that the A330-200F is the most flexible, reliable and cost efficient aircraft.
Well! - Boeing states more or less the same about the Triple Seven Freighter as well.
Boeing still has the payload and range advantage over Airbus with their freighter, although the A330F is considerably cheaper for carriers to acquire.
The A330F has a payload of between 65 to 70 tonnes whereas the B777F is in the 100 tonne range. The operational requirements are quite different, which makes them scarcely comparable.

It seems that Turkish Cargo is anyway happy with their present Airbus fleet and that maybe the 70 tonne payload range is more ideal for them operating out of Istanbul which is located at the crossroads between East and West.
Turkish is already a staunch Airbus customer with almost 140 Airbus aircraft in service of which 46 units are longe range A330, A340 aircraft and have the advantage for the carrier of having cockpit and operational commonality which allows them to pool pilots, cabin crews and maintenance engineers with flexibility.

John Mc Donagh

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