In the press meeting held in Antalya, SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki and Deputy CEO Tuncay Eminoğlu announced the carrier's up to date 2023 performance and winter season plans.
During the meeting, it was noted that SunExpress carried approximately 10 million passengers since the beginning of the year and increased capacity for the post summer period to meet the ongoing demand. The additional capacity created for the September-December period amounted to more than 2,000 flights.
2023 set to be another record-breaking year in terms of passenger numbers
SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki stated during the meeting: “In the first three quarters of 2023, we achieved a load factor of 88%, carrying nearly 10 million passengers and setting a new record. We have exceeded our targets in passenger traffic and anticipate surpassing our goal of 12 million passengers by year-end. To meet the ongoing demand for Türkiye following the summer season, 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 the country’s goal of welcoming 60 million tourists this year.”
He also stated expectations on 2024 :”Bookings for Summer 2024 are very positive. For the end of this season we have added more than five hundered fifty five thousand seats more than last year… For Summer 2024 advance bookings are %20 higher than last year.”
Additional capacity and 15 new routes for the winter season
Kownatzki emphasized that SunExpress, as Türkiye’s tourism ambassador, is investing in the winter season, set to transform the country into a year-round destination by leveraging Türkiye’s history, nature, cuisine, and sports.
“To extend tourism throughout the year, we have increased our winter capacity and added 15 new routes to our winter network. This winter, we will connect beautiful new destinations such as Skopje, Abu Dhabi, Sharm El-Sheikh, Sofia, Krakow, and Cyprus to Antalya and Izmir.”
33 of 42 Boeing MAX-8 Aircraft orders are coming until the period of 2028 to 2029
Max Kownatzki stated during the meeting:” We have ordered 42 Boeing Max 8 aircrafts, which will help us to renew and grow our fleet. There is 33 more to come and these 33 are coming until the period of 2028 to 2029. For the new orders we are in discussions and looking at the market for different aircraft types. MAX-8 is doing a fantastic job. We have seen reductions in the fuel, over 60% in noise, in emissions. It is more comfortable plane flying, it is quitter plane, it is cheaper plane and more environmentally friendly plane. We are looking into the MAX 10. We also have looked into Airbus’ 320/321 Neo; we are not closing our eyes to different market opportunities. But to be a realist in these matters, you need to look at the delivery schedules of these aircraft. I think Boeing has early delivery as of 2028. Airbus has deliveries as of late 2030. So, on top of that, we have engine issues with Pratt & Whitney. “
Extending expertise to South Africa
Kownatzki mentioned that they have taken additional actions to manage fleet growth in a sustainable manner, including mitigating seasonality effects. As part of this strategy, SunExpress signed a damp lease agreement with South African Airways.
Under this agreement, two Boeing 737-800 aircraft in SunExpress’s fleet will operate on South African Airways’ Johannesburg-based flights. The first aircraft will start operations in mid-October, and the second in November. The flights will continue until April 2024.
Continuing to generate employment
Kownatzki stated, “With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we continue to contribute to Turkish aviation and create jobs as a company that has been awarded the “Great Place to Work” certificate by its employees. Since 2018, we have been running the multi pilot license training program to train the Turkish pilots of the future, providing job guarantees for program graduates. In the next five years, we plan to enroll 160 people in the program, which currently has 60 trainees. Furthermore, we will employ more than 160 pilots and 400 cabin crew members for the 2024 summer season.