ISTANBUL, TURKEY — Turkish Airlines defers decision on large-scale aircraft order amid electoral outcomes.

According to ch-aviaition, Turkish Airlines has pushed back its much-anticipated record order of up to 600 aircraft by about two months, to late summer 2023. This delay is to factor in the outcomes of the recent Turkish presidential elections and to avoid rushing this pivotal decision.

"The new government's election process took more time than anticipated. We were on the brink of finalizing a deal with one of the engine manufacturers. To be fair to the other manufacturer, we decided to postpone the decision for approximately two months. We won't rush our decision at Paris Le Bourget [the Paris Air Show]. Instead, we'll have a separate announcement in Istanbul in about two months," Ahmet Bolat, Chairman of Turkish Airlines, said during a press conference at the IATA AGM in Istanbul. This conference was where the airline initially planned to announce the order.

Bolat reiterated that the commitment would be divided between 400 narrowbodies and 200 widebodies. Without giving any clues about the structure of the order, Bolat indicated that Turkish Airlines was in discussions with both Airbus and Boeing.

The announcement will likely involve contracts from both manufacturers. Details about the Turkish aerospace industry's role in the contract are yet to be disclosed.

The widebody portion of the order would probably consist of 25 new-generation long-haul aircraft, either the B777-9s or the A350-1000s.

Bolat mentioned that the previously proposed order for regional jets would be postponed until the narrow- and widebody fleet contracts are finalized. He cited engine problems with both the A220s and the E2s as complicating this decision.

Bolat confirmed that Turkish Airlines would begin operations to Australia by the end of 2023, initially providing three weekly services to Melbourne Tullamarine via Singapore Changi. He admitted that this is not an ideal offering but said enhancements would only be possible with new-generation widebodies. The airline doesn't require fifth-freedom traffic rights between Singapore and Australia as the market is adequately serviced.

Melbourne was chosen due to its less extensive international offerings and a significant Turkish diaspora in the city.

In the future, Turkish Airlines plans to increase Melbourne flights to daily and add daily services to Sydney Kingsford Smith. Brisbane International and Perth International are also under consideration for the long term.

Oceania is the only continent currently not serviced by Turkish Airlines.