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SunExpress Board of Directors extends CEO Max Kownatzki’s term

July 21, 2021

SunExpress, a joint venture of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa announced that the Board of Directors extended Max Kownatzki as Chief Executive Officer of SunExpress for an indefinite term. Kownatzki joined the leisure airline as CEO in April 2020.

Prof. Dr. Ahmet Bolat, Chairman of SunExpress’s Board of Directors, states: “Max Kownatzki took on crucial responsibility for SunExpress right at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. He subsequently led the airline through the pandemic with a steady hand. Together with his management team, SunExpress has delivered a strong performance during and after the pandemic and achieved growth in a highly competitive environment. We believe that with his praiseworthy managing experience, SunExpress will continue to grow and contribute to Türkiye’s tourism.”

Jens Bischof, Vice Chairman of SunExpress’s Board of Directors, adds: “We are delighted that Max Kownatzki will continue his successful performance as CEO of SunExpress. His strong and decisive leadership has successfully navigated SunExpress through various challenges over the past three years. He and his entire team succeeded to earn SunExpress the title of the World’s Best Leisure Airline by Skytrax, this is an absolutely remarkable success.”

SunExpress, named ‘Best Leisure Airline in the World’ at the Skytrax World Airline Awards 2022, welcomed 10.7 million passengers last year. Breaking passenger number records, the carrier saw a load factor of 85%, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Achieving a revenue of 1.5 billion Euro in 2022 – above pre-pandemic levels and exceeding its profit target, SunExpress has reached the largest network in its history this summer adding 26 new routes and plans to carry more than 12 million passengers by the end of the year.


About Max Kownatzki:

Max Kownatzki started his career in 2002 at the strategy consultancy Oliver Wyman in New York and Munich. Until 2013, he advised clients from the airline industry as Senior Partner with a special focus on strategic alliances and commercial airline topics.

In 2013 he was appointed Chief Strategy Officer of the Australian Jetstar Group, a subsidiary of Qantas Airways. Two years later, in 2015 he joined Lufthansa as Chief Commercial Officer of Eurowings Europe and then headed the establishment and development of the company within the Wings Project. Subsequently, as Senior Vice President he was in charge of business development at Eurowings. From 2017 to 2020, he was accountable for network planning and strategic alliances of the hub airlines Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Brussels Airlines and also a member of the Supervisory Board of Air Dolomiti. He has been the CEO of SunExpress since April 2020.

Max Kownatzki studied business administration in St. Gallen, Switzerland, and subsequently obtained his doctoral degree. He holds a commercial pilot’s license.