87 Routes: How Turkish Airlines uses its 22 Boeing 737 MAXs


The world now has more operational B737 MAXs than before the type was immobilized. While North America is largely responsible for it, Turkish Airlines plays a key role. Indeed, the Star Alliance carrier now has 22 MAX, including 18 MAX 8 and four larger MAX 9.

Turkish Airlines’ top ten MAX routes this month are all domestic. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Turkish Airlines B737 MAX

Turkish Airlines’ first MAX 8 (TC-LCA) arrived in December 2018, with 11 delivered in February 2019. This was the month before the Ethiopian Airlines crash that resulted in the MAXs coming to a global standstill until December 2020. Turkish now has the fourth highest number of MAX 8s, after Southwest, American and Air Canada, according to ch-aviation.com.

  • B737 MAX 8s, 151 seats: 16 in business (not fully stretched out) and 135 in economy class (“31 pitch)
  • B737 MAX 9s, 169 seats: 16 in business class (not fully flat) and 153 in economy class (30-31 ″)

Meanwhile, the first Turkish MAX 9 (TC-LYA) arrived in February 2019, followed by three more in 2021. That’s no lie: the most recent (TC-LYE) arrived in Istanbul on September 29. , although it has been stored in the United States since 2019. It routed from Boeing Field via Goose Bay and Keflavik and entered service on October 2 from Istanbul to Ankara. So far, only domestic round trips have been made.

Istanbul to Marseille MAX 9
TC-LYA, the first Turkish MAX 9, flies between Istanbul and Marseille. He landed with the article finished. He operated Istanbul-Alexandria-Istanbul overnight before flying to France. Image: Radarbox.com.

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The use of the MAX 8 has increased significantly

As of October, Turkish Airlines has nearly 25,000 round-trip flights to / from its Istanbul Airport hub, based on analysis of timetable information provided to OAG data experts. That’s 80% of what he had in October 2019.

As noted below, the A321 has by far the most flights this month, in part because it doesn’t separate the A321ceo and the Neo. Notice how the use of the MAX 8 is growing. It is worth comparing the use to the new generation B737-800. While the Turks have 55% less MAX 8, their flights are only 23% less than the B737-800. The carrier disproportionately uses MAXs for their superior profitability and to reduce costs of ownership.

  1. A321ceo / neo: 36.82% of flights departing from Istanbul in October
  2. B737-800: 16.63%
  3. B737 MAX 8: 12.77%
  4. A330-300: 9.73%
  5. B777-300ER: 6.25%
  6. B737-900ER: 4.09%
  7. B787-9: 3.80%
  8. A319: 3.63%
  9. A330-200: 2.37%
  10. B737 MAX 9: 2.29%
  11. A350-900: 1.00%
  12. A320 CEO: 0.59%
Turkish_Airlines, _TC-LCA, _Boeing_737-8_MAX_ (44575165144)
The heavy use of the MAX 8 is partly due to the use of flights as a measure. After all, more than half of its flights are domestic, which represents an average sector length of 662 nautical miles, a fifth less than the A321. It helps with larger rotations. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Flickr.

Where does Turkish Airlines use its MAXs?

Some 87 Istanbul destinations are seeing or will see the MAX this month. If the two derivatives are combined, the top ten flight routes are all domestic: the 193 nautical mile route to Izmir is the most served, followed by Adana, Gaziantep, Ankara, Kayseri, Antalya, Dalaman, Trabzon, Bodrum and Hatay, near the Syrian border.

The Turkish MAX network in October 2021
This is the Turkish MAX network in October. There are three triangular routes: Istanbul-Zanzibar-Dar Es Salaam-Istanbul, Istanbul-Douala-Yaoundé-Istanbul and Istanbul-Yaoundé-Douala-Istanbul. Image: GCMap.com.

Internationally, Basel and Malta have the same number of MAX movements and more than any other, as detailed below. All but one of the flights to them are operated by the lower capacity variant. Indeed, the MAX 8 dominates up to nine of the top ten destinations.

  • Basel
  • Malta
  • Lviv
  • Sharm el-Sheikh
  • Sofia
  • Valence
  • Alexandria
  • Zurich
  • Bream
  • Marseilles

The exception is to this MAX 8 domination is Marseille, which is mainly by the big brother. But like many routes, Marseille sees several planes this month: the two MAX variants as well as the A321, B737-800 and B737-900ER.


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