Turkish Airlines Takes Former WOW Air Airbus A330

Turkish Airlines has taken delivery of another A330 from bankrupt WOW Air. FlightRadar24 showed the aircraft at Istanbul Ataturk Airport where it underwent maintenance before flying for 11 minutes to reach the new Istanbul Airport, just northwest of the main city.

A330-300, Turkish Airlines, TC-JOB
Turkish Airlines has added to its fleet with another A330-300. Photo: Chihaya Sta via Wikimedia Commons

The 68th Airbus A330 for Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines owns a rather substantial fleet of Airbus A330. It’s the third-most-popular aircraft that the airline uses behind the Airbus A321 and the Boeing 737NG. The latest A330-300 comes from bankrupt air carrier WOW Air and made its way to Istanbul Airport on 27th December 2019.

The aircraft TC-LOL is specifically a -343 variant and was registered with WOW as TF-GAY. It was undergoing maintenance at Istanbul Ataturk Airport before making its way to the main international airport.

TF-GAY is now with Turkish Airlines as TC-LOL but where will it fly? Photo: Tony Hisgett via Flickr

Despite news of the new delivery, Turkish Airlines has not announced the aircraft’s arrival. That might be because Turkish Airlines already adopted the aircraft into its fleet back in August 2019. When WOW Air ceased operations in March 2019, the three A330-300 aircraft that it had were returned to their respective lessors.

According to Air Fleets, TF-GAY was officially instated into the Turkish Airlines fleet on 8th August 2019 after being in storage since January and leased from ICBC Leasing. But the airline has not officially accepted the aircraft until now. The aircraft will join another 40 A330-300 aircraft in the Turkish Airlines fleet.

Maintaining a strong fleet

But this is not the first arrival of WOW Air’s defunct fleet. Turkish Airlines actually inherited all of WOW Air’s Airbus A330-300s. TC-LOJ and TC-LOK came to the airline after three years in the WOW Air fleet but they arrived ahead of TC-LOL since they were leased from Avolon, a different leasing company. Since joining the airline, these two aircraft have flown domestic routes within Turkey, according to Air Fleets. Could the same destiny await TC-LOL?

TF-LUV with WOW Air, now TC-LOJ
After operating with WOW Air, TC-LOJ now carries out domestic routes within Turkey. Photo: Eric Salard via Flickr

Perhaps Turkish Airlines did not view the delivery of these ex-WOW aircraft as that special considering it already has a robust A330 fleet. But nevertheless, the latest aircraft is important.

Whilst some airlines are retiring their A330-300s, Turkish Airlines is adding to its fleet. Part of the reason may be for the benefit of maintaining a strong image as the national flag carrier. But another reason might be to do with its extensive route network.

More destinations than any other airline

Turkish Airlines has been steadily adding to its summer schedule. 2020 will see an increase in the number of flights to current destinations like Madrid and Newark. But it’s also been working on updating its entire network offering.

It says it now offers more destinations than any other airline in the world after it added its 317th destination. Speaking about the inaugural flight to the Finnish city of Rovaniemi, a board member for Turkish Airlines said in a statement:

As the airline that flies to more countries than any other, Turkish Airlines is now happy to add Rovaniemi to its flight network…As the first airline outside of European Union to have scheduled flights to this destination…we invite our guests from all over the world to experience this special city via our extensive flight connectivity that covers 317 cities in 126 countries.

With such a comprehensive offering and a definitive USP in route networking, perhaps this new A330-300 will allow Turkish Airlines to broaden its reach even further and add to that growing list of destinations.

What do you think the latest A330-300 will be used for? Let us know in the comments!