Erdoğan’s newly announced 100 Boeing purchase to cost up to $44 billion - Turkish daily

(Correction to figures for cost of jets quoted in first and fourth paragraphs)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plan to purchase 100 new Boeing jets from the United States will come with a price tag between $8.9 billion and $44.2 billion dollars, left-wing daily Birgün reported on Tuesday.

The Turkish president said that his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump had assured him, contrary to the narrative from the U.S. administration, that Washington would not sanction Turkey over its planned purchase to buy Russian S-400 Russian missiles and Ankara was in the midst of purchasing Boeing jets from Washington.

“For example, while this S-400 issue is ongoing... we are purchasing 100 Boeing jets from Lockheed Martin,'' Turkey’s strongman said during the G-20 Summit in Osaka Japan. 

Depending on the model of Boeing jets Turkey is looking to purchase, it will have to set aside anywhere between  $ 8.9 billion to  $ 44.2 billion dollars, for the cheapest model of  B737-700 or the most expensive make that is the wide-bodied B777-9, respectively.

The Turkish Airlines fleet includes a total of 336 jets, only 44 of which belong to the national carrier, Birgün said. 

Of the 165 Boeing jets that the company has in its possession, 137 of them are rentals. 

The current fleet are 80 percent full and  Turkey’s purchase arrives as the company, following years of profit, has suffered losses totalling $ 150 million in the first quarter of 2019, Birgün said. 

The airlines is seeing profits erode after a currency crisis ripped through Turkey’s financial markets in Aug of last year, rendering foreign currency debts more expensive to repay and deterring more Turks from travelling. 

A move of its operations to Istanbul’s new airport and expanding its fleet have also added to the national flag carrier’s financial burdens.