It’s not huge news that one airline took over the cancelled aircraft deliveries of another carrier, but it is rather noteworthy when it involves the heavily-sanctioned Russian flag carrier Aeroflot and represents a very cool addition to the Turkish Airlines fleet.
Turkish Airlines Takes Delivery Of Airbus A350 Originally Intended For Aeroflot
Turkish Airlines is in the midst of acquiring its order for 31 Airbus A350-900 jets, originally ordering 25 in 2018 (seven have already been delivered) then adding six more in May 2022.
Those six additional jets, set to be delivered between now and the end of 2023, represent a short-time horizon, making clear that these represent a diverted or canceled Airbus order.
When Turkish made the announcement in May there was speculation as to whether these might be from Qatar Airways (which is currently embroiled in a huge spat with Airbus over its existing A350 jets, with future orders on hold) or Aeroflot (which now faces international sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine).
It has now been confirmed that these six aircraft were originally intended for Aeroflot Russian Airlines. A friend sent me the following image last week:
View this post on Instagram
Let’s be clear: these are not “Aeroflot Airbus A350s” or “ex-Aeroflot Airbus A350s” as if they were in the possession of Aeroflot for any period, which likely would have rendered them not airworthy due to the lack of maintenance oversight and recording in the Russian Federation.
> Read More: Russian Airlines Decide To Just Keep Leased Aircraft…
> Read More: The Problems For Russian Airlines Are Just Beginning
But these aircraft will contain Aeroflot interiors, which presents two potential upsides:
- a new business class product with doors (not that I care for closing doors)
- a premium economy product that will not be sold as a separate cabin
I think the new business class cabin looks gorgeous, though the seats just look like Solstys seats from Stelia Aerospace with doors (the same seats you can find on Iberia), which are not my favorite. In fact, the seats are branded as Horizon and made by Collins Aerospace, so I’ll withhold judgement until I actually try it.
Turkish Airlines does not offer premium economy as a separate cabin (any longer), so it remains to be seen how the premium economy seats will be allocated. Will they be held for elite members of Turkish Miles & Smiles? Will they be sold at check-in? That remains to be seen.
You can expect to see the new aircraft on the following routes from Istanbul (IST) according to Aeroroutes:
- Cape Town (CPT) – daily
- Dubai (DXB) – twice weekly (starts December 8, 2022)
- New York (JFK) – daily
- Stuttgart (STR) – weekly
Do note these routes are subject (and likely in the weeks ahead) to change.
Part of me still hopes to fly a real Aeroflot A350 one day, not just one repurposed by Turkish Airlines. Still, I look forward to trying the new Collins seat on Turkish Airlines and am happy to see it fly to New York. Part of me wonders, since Russia and Turkey are so cozy, whether there was some sort of side deal…
> Read More: The Nefarious Plan By Russian Airlines To Skirt Sanctions By Relocating To Turkey
You can read a detailed review of what business class is like on the non-Aeroflot Turkish A350s here.
> Read More: Turkish Airlines A350 Business Class Review
How did Turkish Airlines mess up premium economy as much as they did
They seem like the only airline to not make a large profit with that cabin
It’s a good question. A very good one.
IST is about 4 hours from the big population centres in NRW, the UK, Scandinavia, Netherlands, Spain, Paris, Warsaw etc. Few people are prepared to pay a premium economy ticket and spend four hours in a middle seat in Y for their connecting flight.
What TK could do is sell the inter euro “J” as PE. Same thing WestJet does
regional J is basically PE anyways
Will they still have all the Aeroflot logos, and the little Russian flags displayed in the cabin (you can see them next to the seat numbers)?
It’s easy enough to scrape off or paint over the Russian flags. Much harder to remove the stench of fascism.
I doubt the Russian flags will stay. We will see.
100 times true, Alexei.
They should also take the A350s that are causing a burden for SAS
This is more than likely a way for Russia to push the jets to Turkey and then buy them later. If you have them in safe hands, you can circumvent the sanctions. Tricky, tricky. I’m sure Washington is thrilled.
True. Good theory.