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3 minute read - 18th December 2023

Turkish Airlines deal worth billions to the UK

Airbus has secured an order to provide 220 aircraft for Turkish Airlines, in a deal worth billions of pounds to the UK. The order includes 70 A350 family aircraft – the engines for which will be provided by Rolls-Royce – and 150 A321 aircraft.

The agreement announced on 15 December will support thousands of high-skilled jobs across the UK, helping to boost exports and grow the economy. A significant portion of the manufacturing process for the new aircraft is expected to take place in the UK. All the wings will be designed in Filton, Bristol, and assembled in North Wales, supporting hundreds of manufacturing jobs in the UK aerospace supply chain.

The new A350 aircraft will also be exclusively powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, which are assembled and tested in Derby, and will deliver 25% lower CO2 emissions compared to previous generation aircraft.

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Worth billions to the UK economy – Airbus has secured an order for 220 aircraft from Turkish Airlines. Engines for 70 of these (the A350) will be supplied by Rolls-Royce / Picture: Airbus

In 2022, the UK’s aerospace sector contributed £10.9bn to the UK economy, exported around 70 percent of its domestic output and directly employed 108,000 high-skilled people, 90 percent of which are outside London and the South East. It is also a leading sector for high value apprenticeships, with 5,200 currently employed.

The government says it has and continues to provide financial support to Airbus and Rolls-Royce to develop their civil aircraft and Trent engine families respectively, through the £1.37bn government-industry Aerospace Technology Institute Programme, keeping the UK at the forefront of global aerospace innovation.

Christian Scherer, chief commercial officer and head of international at Airbus, said: “This order for the latest generation aircraft is a demonstration of the bold vision by Turkish Airlines. The A350-900, A350-1000, A350F and A321 will all be flagship aircraft in their respective category and efficiency drivers to shape the airline’s future and sustainable expansion, with more range, less fuel, noise and emissions and best cabin in class. The opening into the A350-1000 and the A350F highlights the cross-model value of the A350 family and reinforces our long-lasting partnership with Turkish Airlines and Türkiye’s aviation sector.”

The world’s most efficient large aero engine in service, manufactured in Derby – Turkish Airlines will become the largest operator of Trent XWB engines / Picture: Rolls-Royce

Tufan Erginbilgic, Rolls-Royce plc CEO, added: “Today’s announcement marks an exciting and truly historic day for Rolls-Royce. It is proof that the actions we are taking to transform Rolls-Royce into a high performing and competitive company underpinned by profitable growth are working. The Trent XWB is the perfect engine platform to support Turkish Airlines as it continues to grow. This order will make Turkish Airlines the largest Trent XWB operator in the world, and I would like to thank them for putting their trust in Rolls-Royce. Türkiye is a strategically important market for us, and it is imperative to develop long-term partnerships with the airline and other important Turkish stakeholders.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, concluded: “This landmark deal between Turkish Airlines, Airbus and Rolls-Royce demonstrates that the sky’s the limit for the UK’s thriving aerospace sector. Meeting the growing demand in aviation will create better-paid jobs and new opportunities in manufacturing hubs from Derby to Wales, so we can continue growing the economy – helping to deliver on my five priorities for the country. The UK is already a top investment destination, and by strengthening trade ties with growing economic powers like Turkey we will ensure UK businesses remain at the forefront of global growth and innovation as we build on the record-breaking Global Investment Summit we hosted in London last month.”

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