Turkish Airlines to buy at least 50 Airbus and Boeing planes as Istanbul airport takes on Dubai

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants Turkish Airlines to become a national champion. (Reuters)
Updated 10 March 2018
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Turkish Airlines to buy at least 50 Airbus and Boeing planes as Istanbul airport takes on Dubai

ISTANBUL: Turkish Airlines has confirmed plans to buy at least 50 wide-body aircraft from Airbus and Boeing as the flag carrier ramps up its ambitions ahead of a move to a new Istanbul airport.
The company said in a statement that it had agreed to buy 25 Boeing B787-9 aircraft, known as the Dreamliner, and 25 Airbus A350-900 aircraft.
In addition, it has the option to buy five more of each aircraft from both suppliers, meaning the eventual purchase could total 60 planes.
It said six would be delivered in 2019, 14 in 2020, 10 in 2021, 12 in 2022, 11 in 2023 and 7 in 2024.
Airbus indicated that the catalogue price of the 25 A350s alone would amount to $9.5 billion.
Turkish Airlines chief executive Ilker Ayci said that the announcement came after agreements signed during recent visits to France and the US — the homes of Airbus and Boeing — by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
He hailed the deals as a “very important initiative to meet the need for wide-body aircraft at the new airport” and strengthen the fleet ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of modern Turkey in 2023.
“We believe this will not just accelerate the steady rise of Turkish Airlines, but also contribute to Turkish civil aviation as a whole,” Ayci said, quoted by the Anadolu news agency.
The government plans to open the new airport by Istanbul’s Black Sea coast on Oct. 29, hoping to make it a global hub that can compete with Dubai for transfer traffic.
Turkish Airlines, which is 49-percent owned by the government through a wealth fund, has grown exponentially in recent years in a rise strongly supported by Erdogan to create a national champion.
Passenger numbers have swelled from just 14 million in 2005 to 69 million in 2017.
And the airline is targeting a total of 74 million passengers in 2018 and wants to expand its fleet from 329 at present to 424 planes by 2023.


US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

Updated 23 June 2018
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US unveils new veto threat against WTO rulings

  • US tells WTO appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days
  • Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatens to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars

GENEVA: The United States ramped up its challenge to the global trading system on Friday, telling the World Trade Organization that appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days.
The statement by US Ambassador Dennis Shea threatened to erode a key element of trade enforcement at the 23-year-old WTO: binding dispute settlement, which is widely seen as a major bulwark against protectionism.
It came as US President Donald Trump, who has railed against the WTO judges in the past, threatened to levy a 20 percent import tax on European Union cars, the latest in an unprecedented campaign of threats and tariffs to punish US trading partners.
Shea told the WTO’s dispute settlement body that rulings by the WTO’s Appellate Body, effectively the supreme court of world trade, were invalid if they took too long. Rulings would no longer be governed by “reverse consensus,” whereby they are blocked only if all WTO members oppose them.
“The consequence of the Appellate Body choosing to breach (WTO dispute) rules and issue a report after the 90-day deadline would be that this report no longer qualifies as an Appellate Body report for purposes of the exceptional negative consensus adoption procedure,” Shea said, according to a copy of his remarks provided to Reuters.
An official who attended the meeting said other WTO members agreed that the Appellate Body should stick to the rules, but none supported Shea’s view that late rulings could be vetoed, and many expressed concern about his remarks.
Rulings are routinely late because, the WTO says, disputes are abundant and complex. Things have slowed further because Trump is blocking new judicial appointments, increasing the remaining judges’ already bulging workload.
At Friday’s meeting the United States maintained its opposition to the appointment of judges, effectively signalling a veto of one judge hoping for reappointment to the seven-seat bench in September.
Without him, the Appellate Body will only have three judges, the minimum required for every dispute, putting the system at severe risk of breakdown if any of the three judges cannot work on a case for legal or other reasons.
“Left unaddressed, these challenges can cripple, paralyze, or even extinguish the system,” chief judge Ujal Singh Bhatia said.
Sixty-six WTO member states are backing a petition that asks the United States to allow appointments to go ahead. On Friday, US ally Japan endorsed the petition for the first time, meaning that all the major users of the dispute system were united in opposition to Trump.