A total of 12 of Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft have been grounded since March. Image: Piotr Bozyk

Turkish Airlines will take over part of AnadoluJet’s Boeing 737-800 fleet while its 737 MAX aircraft are grounded. Turkey’s flag carrier is also negotiating with Airbus for faster delivery of its remaining A321neo aircraft on order.

Turkish Airlines has decided to temporarily fill the gap of 12 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which have been grounded since March, with 12 737-800s from AnadoluJet. Some of the regional airline’s flights have been canceled and the frequency of flights on certain routes has been reduced to a minimum.

The lack of 12 aircraft for over three months caused Turkish Airlines to cancel dozens of flights. The new decision will allow Turkish to operate almost all flights without major delays or cancellations during the busy summer season.

AnadoluJet is a Turkish regional airline based in Ankara. Established in 2008, the company is fully dependent from Turkish Airlines and operates domestic flights to 42 cities in Turkey and Northern Cyprus. Its two main bases are in Ankara and Istanbul (Sabiha Gökçen airport). The current AnadoluJet fleet consist of 35 Boeings B737-800.

In 2013-2014 Turkish ordered a total of 75 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft (65 737 MAX 8s and 10 larger 737 MAX 9s). By the end of February, Boeing delivered 12 MAX aircraft to the airline (11 737 MAX 8s and one 737 MAX 9). Turkish also ordered 92 Airbus A321neo aircraft, of which only seven are delivered so far. The carrier is negotiating with Airbus to accelerate delivery – there is a chance that by the end of this year, Turkish will receive another 10 A321neos.

Questions about the safety of the latest narrow-aisle aircraft from the American aircraft manufacturer began after a Boeing 737 MAX 8, operated by Ethiopian Airlines, crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on March 10. The accident followed a similar incident, which occurred when a Boeing 737 MAX, operated by Lion Air, crashed on October 29, 2018. The second disaster led to the grounding of Boeing 737 MAXs by airlines around the world. It is rumored that the aircraft may not return to service until next year.