Turkish Airlines is ramping up its fleet of widebody aircraft with the carrier announcing it has placed firm orders for up to 60 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A350-900s.

In total, the carrier has placed firm orders for 50 new widebody aircraft with an additional 10 as optional from both manufacturers, comprising 25 firm and five optional of each aircraft.

The first six aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2019, with a further 14 in 2020, 10 in 2021, 12 in 2022, 11 in 2023 and seven in 2024. At this stage, it is unclear which aircraft Turkish Airlines will take delivery of first as well as whether the aircraft will arrive evenly over the coming six years.

The airline had previously indicated plans to order the aircraft, but had not firmed up orders.

“Goodwill agreements turned into firm orders; which we consider to be a very important initiative to meet our need for wide body aircraft at Istanbul’s New Airport, which will serve as our new hub once its construction process completed,” said M Ilker Ayci, chairman of the board and executive committee for Turkish Airlines.

“This great step, which will further strengthen our ever-expanding fleet for 2023, our Republic’s 100th year, and bring our passengers’ satisfaction to a much higher level will bring a great acceleration to the steady rise of our country’s flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, and will also be a considerable added value for Turkish Civil Aviation.”

Turkish Airlines has already been expanding its widebody fleet with new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, taking delivery of its 30th in May last year.

The airline’s fleet currently comprises B777-300ER, A330-300, A330-200, A340-300, A321-200, A320-200, A319-132/100, B737-800, B737-700, B737-900ER, and B747-400F aircraft.

Meanwhile earlier this month, Istanbul New Airport switched on the lights on its first runway ahead of its planned opening in October 29 this year. Istanbul New Airport will replace the city’s existing Ataturk Airport when it begins operations.

Airline alliance Skyteam has also announced plans to open a new lounge at Istanbul New Airport in October, which will be more than double the size of its current facility at Ataturk Airport. The lounge will be open to passengers flying on member airlines Aeroflot, Air France, KLM, MEA, Saudia and Tarom.