Turkish Airlines expects 40 to 45 of its Airbus narrowbodies will be grounded this year and into 2025 due to new required inspections of the jets’ Pratt & Whitney (P&W) PW1100G geared turbofans (GTFs).

The carrier, together with its low-cost unit AJet, had a fleet of 66 Airbus A320neo family jets at the end of March.

Speaking during a first-quarter earnings call on 23 May, Turkish chief financial officer Murat Seker said the airline’s expectations about the scope of the issue have have been changing based on the latest information from the engine manufacturer.

A321neo ACF Turkish Airlines

Source: Airbus

Turkish Airlines had 66 Airbus A320/321neos as of the end of March 2024

“Currently, we have around 20-25 aircraft grounded,” he says. “Our current projection is [that] this will go up to the 40s towards the end of this year, and [that] it will be around those levels for the remainder of 2024 and part of 2025. It will be around 40-45 aircraft.”

Seker also highlights steps the carrier has taken to mitigate lost capacity. ”Last year and this year we added about 15-20 narrowbody aircraft – still some of these contracts are being negotiated – to compensate this capacity loss,” he says.

P&W last year disclosed it was recalling thousands of GTFs, saying the engines might contain components subject to early failure due to defects introduced during a manufacturing process using powder metal. It has said an average of 350 jets will be grounded at any given time between 2024 and 2026 as a result.

Seker also says the airline remains in talks related to the planned Boeing portion of a major long-term fleet renewal and expansion plan. Turkish originally hoped it might be able to finalise an order for 400 narrowbodies and 200 widebodies with Airbus and Boeing by mid-2023. While completion of both orders were delayed, Turkish in December announced commitments for 345 Airbus jets.

“We continue our close communication with Boeing regarding this order,” says Seker. ”We have not been able to finalise it yet… The same issues are still there. It is not just a negotiation between Turkish and Boeing, it includes the engine manufacturers. Its a combined effort.”

“We are making progress and continue to understand each other’s needs and the timing, especially when we can get the deliveries and how they fit in our strategic development goals,” Seker adds.