Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan has been negotiating with major Western manufacturers in a drive to stimulate the domestic passenger aircraft industry.

The government wants to build about 50 planes locally. Over the past two weeks, talks have been held with European consortium Airbus Industrie, and the US’ McDonnell Douglas Corporation and The Boeing Company.

The government is evaluating three proposals. One possible project, with Airbus, includes the condition that state airline Turk Hava Yollari (THY) purchases Airbus aircraft exclusively. It would also include an offset arrangement for production of certain parts in Turkey.

Analysts doubt, however, that the local market can absorb so many new aircraft. THY has no plans to buy new planes, having just completed a five-year fleet standardisation programme.