SunExpress has made a record by transporting nearly 10 million passengers in the first three quarters of 2023. With over 2,000 additional flights added by the end of the year, it supports the extended tourism season.
SunExpress, a joint venture of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, CEO Max Kownatzki and Deputy General Manager Tuncay Eminoğlu commented on the airline's performance in 2023 and plans for the winter season in a meeting.
It was stated in the meeting that since the beginning of 2023, SunExpress has carried around 10 million passengers and increased its capacity for the October-December period to meet the ongoing demand after the summer season. The additional capacity created from the end of summer to the end of the year reached over 2,000 flights.
2023 WILL BE ANOTHER RECORD YEAR IN TERMS OF PASSENGER NUMBERS
In his speech at the meeting, SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki said: “We set a new record by carrying nearly 10 million passengers with an occupancy rate of 88% in the first three quarters of 2023. We performed above our target in terms of passenger traffic and predict that we will exceed our target of 12 million passengers by the end of the year. To meet the ongoing demand for Turkey after the summer, we have increased our capacity and planned more than 2,000 additional flights by the end of the year. We will continue to contribute to Turkey's target of 60 million tourists for this year.”
ADDITIONAL CAPACITY AND 15 NEW ROUTES FOR WINTER SEASON
Kownatzki, emphasizing that SunExpress invests in the winter season as the ambassador of the locomotive sector tourism in Turkey, highlighted that Turkey is an important tourism destination not only in the summer season but all year round with its history, nature, local cuisine, and sports tourism infrastructure. Kownatzki said, “To spread tourism throughout the year, we have increased our winter capacity this year and added 15 new routes to our flight network. This winter, we will connect beautiful and new destinations like Skopje, Abu Dhabi, Sharm El-Sheikh, Sofia, Krakow, and Cyprus with Antalya and Izmir.”
EXPANDING EXPERIENCE TO SOUTH AFRICA
For managing the fleet growth sustainably in the upcoming period, Kownatzki mentioned that they took additional actions to balance the effect of seasonality. As a part of this, they signed a damp lease agreement with South African Airways. Under the agreement, two Boeing 737-800 type SunExpress aircraft will serve on Johannesburg-based flights of South African Airways. The first aircraft will start operating in mid-October, and the second one in November. Flights will continue until April 2024. Additionally, it was agreed between SunExpress and South African Airways that the number of aircraft could be increased additionally according to the capacity needs of South African Airways.
CONTINUING TO CREATE EMPLOYMENT
Kownatzki said, “With our experience of over 30 years in the sector, we continue to contribute to Turkish aviation and create employment as a company deemed worthy of the 'Great Place To Work' certificate by our employees. Since 2018, we have been running the Multi-Crew Pilot License Program to train the Turkish pilots of the future. We guarantee jobs to those who graduate from this program. We will train 160 pilots within the next 5 years. Currently, 60 people are being trained under the program. Additionally, for the summer season of 2024, we will employ more than 160 pilots and 400 cabin crew.