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Turkish Regional Jet

Producing its own regional passenger jet is listed among Turkey's goals for 2023 to be achieved by the centennial of the establishment of the Turkish Republic. Until recently, the lion's share of the market was cornered by Brazilian manufacturer Embraer's ERJ series, Bombardier's CRJ series, and the ATR 72s. Now, new players such as Sukhoi (Russia), Mitsubishi (Japan), and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) will increase segment competitiveness.

The Turkish aviation sector has enjoyed a boom in passenger numbers with 166 million passengers by the end of 2014 and the country ranked 11th worldwide in terms of passenger traffic. This contrasted sharply with the years before as in 2003 the number of passengers was only 34 million. During 2014, passenger numbers increased 4.6 percent throughout Europe. Turkey aimed to increase this figure to 350 million by 2023 as one of the goals of the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic.

Turkey had devoted continuing efforts to build a medium-range civilian aircraft for a few years, and Turkish authorities conducted talks with 11 different aviation industry companies. By late 2013 the Transportation Ministry announced that the number of foreign companies on Turkey's shortlist had been reduced to four. Turkey held talks with Brazil's Embraer and Canada's Bombardier, however these talks failed to bear fruit.

In September 2013, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took part in the presentation of the new generation Antonov aircraft AN-158 and examined the plane. The 99-passenger capacity AN-158 is designed to travel up to 3,000 kilometers. It was developed based on the AN-148 regional new generation jet.

Turkey wants to build its own medium range aircraft and will soon set out to do so, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said 27 October 2013. The most senior voice on economy in Turkey's ruling AK Party, Babacan said the government was planning to cooperate with an aircraft company to work on an existing platform, rather than building a new jet from scratch.

"There are four firms," Babacan told journalists while still in the US after his week-long talks on the occasion of the Turkey Investment Week. "We want our engineers in Turkey to contribute, we want them to work in our sight [in Turkey]." Babacan said there were expectations of a competitive environment as the draft project drew nearer to realization.

Transportation Minister Ltfi Elvan announced in September 2014 that Turkey's project to produce regional passenger planes was coming to its final stages and that the planes would be a narrow-body aircraft able to carry up to 120 passengers.

On January 13, 2015 it was reported that Turkey and Ukraine had decided to form a joint venture and the final agreement is expected to be signed during the upcoming visit of a Turkish delegation to Ukraine in March 2015. Talks between Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Ukraine's state-owned aircraft company Antonov had reached maturity and the companies agreed on the details of a joint venture agreement to develop medium-range aircraft. The Ukrainian company agreed to technology transfer, which was considered essential by Turkish officials.



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