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Talking Turkey

Turkey is determined to build a national aerospace industry. While a completely new aircraft is some way off, there are some interesting developments in the area of aircraft cabins. Ian Harbison reports from the Istanbul Airshow

Turkey has established an aerospace industry mainly based on industrial manufacturing offset programmes associated with military equipment purchases. Similar programmes with Airbus and Boeing have come about from large fleet acquisitions by Turkish Airlines but the government has decided that civil work should increase further and lead to the construction of complete aircraft. The first step has been taken with the establishment of Ankara-based TRJet, which is planning to build updated versions of the Dornier 328 turboprop and 328JET as the TRP328 and TRJ328 respectively. Following that, the intention is to develop a completely indigenous airliner design to fly in 2023 to mark the centenary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey. The size is yet to be announced as market surveys are still in progress.


In the meantime, local initiatives have seen work going ahead in three areas – galleys, seats and IFE. All three involve joint ventures, with Turkish Airlines or its MRO subsidiary, Turkish Technic, as a partner in each. This is important as the new products have had a lead customer from the start and the airline’s rapid growth has provided opportunities for installation on aircraft being delivered. The partners have also been instrumental in getting products into the Boeing interiors catalogue and gaining line fit approval, a competitive advantage for sales to other airlines.


Much of the airline’s growth has been generated by its development of Istanbul Atatürk Airport as a hub in a similar manner to those in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai. Unfortunately, political events in and around the country have had a serious impact on the airline’s financial results this year, resulting in significant losses in the first half and a decision to reschedule the deliveries of aircraft that were planned to enter the fleet between 2018 and 2022.


However, like its Middle East competitors, much of the airline’s traffic flowing through the hub is in transit to other parts of the network, so it is the shorter range, narrowbody fleet that has suffered most, with 92 Airbus A321neo, 65 Boeing 737-8 MAX and 10 737-9 MAX being delayed. There will be a reduction of 24 aircraft in 2018, five aircraft in 2019 and 10 in 2020. While the figures for 2021 are unchanged, the balance will be restored with 24 extra aircraft in 2022 and 15 in 2023.




Turkish Cabin Interior (TCI) is a joint venture between Turkish Airlines, Turkish Technic and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and was established in December 2010 at TAI in Ankara. Hasan Burak Gültemiz, Sales & Business Development Manager, says the plan is to become one of the top four suppliers by 2023.


In July 2013, the headquarters moved to a new 2,000m² manufacturing site at Turkish Technic’s HABOM facility at Sabiha Gökçen International Airport, just across the Bosporus from Istanbul. By that time, it had already completed galley inserts in conjunction with Gore Design for a VIP Airbus A330 operated by the Turkish Air Force as a Presidential aircraft. That aircraft type and the Boeing 737 are the focus of activities, with products including galley inserts and stowages, wardrobes, bars, ceiling panels and cabin interior monuments. Future plans include crew rests, cabin dividers, wind screens, video control compartments and most other interior parts except for aircraft seats.


The first 737-800 galley units were delivered to Turkish Airlines in December 2014, but the business really took off in 2015. In February, deliveries started of 25 737-800 galleys to SunExpress, a leisure airline that is a joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa. Subject to seasonal variations in traffic, the airline asked for a modular option that allows for two ovens used in the high traffic summer season to be replaced with two standard storage containers in winter. Issues like these can be resolved by TCI engineers visiting the airline to determine the best solution, Gültemiz adds.


He also notes that the company has taken advantage of the latest technology and materials, with how TCI galley units weigh some 10% less than conventional units. It also works with all the main galley equipment manufacturers – the TCI products are the structure into which items such as ovens, storage compartments and trolleys are fitted. >>

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