Turkish Airlines to buy up to 117 Airbuses From:AAP March 16, 2013 1:50AM TURKEY'S national carrier Turkish Airlines says it will buy up to 117 planes from the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, with deliveries scheduled between 2015 and 2020. "The airline's board of directors announced 117 air planes will be joined to the existing fleet," the airline said in a statement announcing the deal estimated to be worth $US9.3 billion ($A9.00 billion) at catalogue prices. The order centres on Airbus' A320 medium-haul family and includes firm orders for 82 planes and an option for 35 additional planes. The plane maker said engine selection would be made at a later date. Most of the orders are for more fuel efficient planes in the A320 stable including the bestselling A320neo which is due for delivery in late 2015. "The A320 Family with its economic benefits combined with superior cabin comfort will greatly contribute to meet our ambitious growth plans," said Faruk Cizmecioglu, Chief Marketing Officer at Turkish Airlines. The purchase was smaller than a much rumoured order for 150 planes and hinted at by France's trade minister during a visit to Turkey in January. Unlike other ailing carriers in Europe, Turkish Airlines is in an aggressive push to become a global airline player, putting itself in direct competition with Middle Eastern rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways. In December, the airline passed orders for 15 long-haul A330 planes from Airbus and 15 777-300ER from Boeing. In February the airline followed up with a firm order for two more A330-300s.