EXCLUSIVE | Turkish Airlines will launch an all-new business class seat on its forthcoming Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 jets.
A 'new fleet, new seat' strategy will see the airline shift to a 1-2-1 business class layout with the arrival of the first Dreamliner in 2019.
The new seats will be both more competitive and more contemporary than the Star Alliance member's current international premium seating, which largely follows a 2-2-2 configuration and includes a middle seat 2-3-2 layout on its Boeing 777-300ERs.
"Our new business class product will have 1-2-1 seating layout instead the existing and will be featured both in the new Boeing 787 and the new Airbus A350 jets," Turkish Airlines' Chief Marketing Officer Ahmet Olmuştur tells Australian Business Traveller.
"The design will be applied to the first received Boeing 787 jets in 2019."
Privacy is a priority
"High privacy is our priority," Olmuştur stresses, which could see the seats fashioned more like a suite with sliding doors.
"We are still working on with our design partner for many different features such as individual enclosed storage areas and 44-inch knee distance."
However, Olmuştur says the new business class seat will be exclusive to the Boeing 787s and Airbus A350s and won't be retrofitted to the current Airbus A330, A340 or Boeing 777 fleet.
"We do not have any plan on the implementation of this new design for our existing aircraft, but so far we have a different retrofit project for the existing widebodies."
Turkish Airlines has signed up for as many as 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 30 Airbus A350-900s, with the first six Dreamliners joining the fleet from 2019 followed by an initial five Airbus A350s from 2020.
All 60 of the next-gen jetliners will be in place by 2024 and are intended to revitalise the airline's fleet while also providing room for growth.
Sydney is still on the radar
This may still include the airline's long-desired route to Sydney, which has been on-again and off-again for several years, with direct and stop-over flights both being considered.
"We would like to start direct flights to Sydney as soon as possible, as you may know," Olmuştur tells Australian Business Traveller.
"We are still working on some solution methods to start flights directly to there in a most optimal way. If we do not able to reach such an ideal solution in our short-term planning, which is our priority, we may focus on connecting flights."
New Istanbul airport to get an 'exclusive lounge'
With the opening of Istanbul New Airport currently slated for October 29 2018, Turkish Airlines will also embrace the opportunity to reinvent its flagship lounges to a point beyond the benchmark of today's sprawling two-level Lounge Istanbul.
In addition to domestic and international "CIP / business lounges" open to business class and top-tier frequent flyers, Olmuştur reveals that Turkish airlines will add a more exclusive lounge – which he fittingly calls the Exclusive Lounge – to deliver "a totally new private passenger lounge concept."