Generally I shy away from posting airline rumors, though there are some that are just too juicy not to speculate on.
Yesterday @FlightDKM Tweeted the following:
Our Constantinople correspondent says Turkish Airlines is nearing a deal to wet-lease four A380s. #airbus
Then there’s also an article suggesting that Turkish is about to wet lease four A380s from an “unnamed” airline. Via kokpit.aero:
Turkish Airlines is about to sign an agreement to wet lease with an un-named airline for 4 A380. According to sources, the 4 aircraft planned to enter to the fleet by summer.
THY plans to fly with some China destinations which are not easy to increase slots. At the moment, THY’s biggest aircraft is Boeing 777-300ER with 337 seat capacity. In January THY also started negations with LOT to wet lease Boeing 787’s. According to the plan, THY will open San Francisco route and use the 787’s on this route.
Mildly unrelated, but I believe the article was originally written in Turkish, which explains the less-than-stellar English. For those of you not familiar with a wet lease, it includes the aircraft, the crew to operate it, maintenance, and insurance.
So I find this to be some pretty exciting gossip, though admittedly I’m an airline and airplane nerd. Turkish is expanding at an unbelievable rate, and this wouldn’t be the first time they’ve leased aircraft from another airline. For example, a few years back they leased some 777-300ER aircraft from Jet Airways, which made for some spectacular award redemptions.
There doesn’t seem to be much of a market for first class in Turkey, so I flew from London to Istanbul and Istanbul to Hong Kong with my brother, and in both cases we were the only first class passengers. The amount of first class award space on Turkish at the time was unreal.
Unfortunately when Turkish ended the lease they also ceased to offer a first class product, which was a real shame, since they offered an amazing ground experience. As a first class passenger you received roundtrip chauffeur service in Istanbul, and also had access to their amazing first class lounge. They also escorted you every step of the way, from the moment you arrived by car at the airport, till you boarded the plane.
If nothing else I’m excited at the potential of a leased A380 meaning the return of first class, even if just for a few months. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they just sell first class as business class so they don’t have to provide extra ground services, having learned that there’s not much of a market for first class in Istanbul.
So which “unnamed” airline are the four A380s likely to come from? Well, per the article, the number of A380s currently being operated by airline are as follows:
- Emirates (44)
- Singapore (19)
- Qantas (12)
- Lufthansa (10)
- Air France (9)
- Korean (8)
- Malaysia (6)
- Thai (6)
- China Southern (5)
- British Airways (4)
Well, I can’t imagine it’s British Airways, as they just started London and Hong Kong service on the A380 and surely don’t want to discontinue that. The British are a proud bunch, after all. 😉
China Southern? Well, they might as well as far as I’m concerned, but I can’t imagine they’ll just wipe out their A380 fleet for a few months.
Lufthansa? I doubt the Germans could trust the Turkish to the return the plane with any sort of pünktlichkeit. 😉
Qantas? No way, they need those planes to operate their London and Los Angeles service, and have retired enough of their 747s so that they don’t really have any planes that could replace them.
Emirates? They were actually my first though originally, since they’d doing a bunch of runway work at Dubai Airport this summer and have a ton of A380s. As a result the airport will be heavily restricted for takeoffs and landings. That being said, it seems like that would have the opposite effect, since they’d need more high capacity A380s operating flights and fewer low(er) capacity aircraft.
Malaysia? They exclusively operate them to London and Paris, and if they were left with only two A380s then they could only fly one flight per day roundtrip. They don’t really have any comparable aircraft, since they’ve retired all their 747s.
So yeah, I dunno, I’m stumped.
Think it’ll happen, and if so, which airline do you think they’ll wet lease the A380s from?