Turkey has become a major global force in the civil aviation space, placing huge orders with Boeing and Airbus. Image Credit: Supplied

Turkish Airlines is branching out into manufacturing of aircraft components including seats and engine parts as the carrier seeks to leverage its giant order book of planes to stimulate the homegrown aeronautics industry.

The company is in talks with Boeing Co. for a major aircraft order that would potentially include domestic production of jet components, Turkish Airlines Chairman Ahmet Bolat said in an interview. The carrier is already producing seats for some of its Boeing and Airbus SE jets and is now looking to start selling the components to other carriers, he said.

"It's really for the benefit of everybody," Bolat said in Dubai at this year's annual general meeting of the IATA industry lobby group. The planemaker could "utilize Turkey's potential capacity so that we can provide a reliable source of supply."

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Turkey has become a major global force in the civil aviation space, placing huge orders with Boeing and Airbus to expand a destination network that's already the world's most prolific. With airlines lamenting the lack of planes even as the two aircraft manufacturers ramp up production, Turkey's push could help alleviate bottlenecks that are forcing some carriers to extend the life of older models.

The Turkish flag carrier started the in-house manufacturing project about a decade ago and is now mature enough to produce the airline's business-class seats, Bolat said.

"If you want to buy a business class-seat, how many options do you have," Bolat said. "Only three or four and you depend on their ability and their mercy."

Among the biggest producers of aircraft interiors are France's Safran SA or Rockwell Collins, which is part of RTX Corp. and makes interior systems like first-class cabins for longhaul aircraft.

Turkey is already a producer of aviation parts, including for the engines on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The Istanbul-based carrier recently placed a major order with Airbus by firming up the purchase of 230 aircraft with the European manufacturer.

That agreement came with a commitment to build up the domestic aviation and service industry. Bolat said the deal to develop the additional supply chain for the European planemaker sought to help timely delivery of jets.

Delivery dates on some of the carrier's jets have been pushed back by as much as six months, Bolat said, without identifying the aircraft.

"You make your own reservation, you start selling the tickets and then suddenly you find out that the aircraft is not coming," he said.