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SunExpress, the joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, recorded an historic revenue increase and achieving a record growth in 2018. SunExpress grew by 10% in 2018, compared to the previous year and generated a revenue of approx. EUR 1.3 billion. The number of passengers welcomed on board in 2018 reached to almost 10 million and the load factor was 84 %.
SunExpress CEO Jens Bischof, stating that SunExpress has continued its steady growth with its strong financial structure for two years in a row, added, “In 2018, we achieved a substantial growth in international capacity of approx. 10 % compared to the previous year by recording the highest revenue in our history, with a total of approx. EUR 1.3 billion. We also increased the number of passengers by 10 % to approx. 10 million passengers. With our strong financial structure and expertise as a leisure carrier we will continue to be the backbone of air travel for the Turkish tourism industry in 2019.”
6.6 million seats from Europe to Türkiye (Turkey) in 2019
With the vision of creating an air bridge between Türkiye (Turkey) and Europe, SunExpress offers a record capacity of 6.6 million seats from Central Europe to Türkiye (Turkey) in 2019. Most of the 2019 record capacity increase of more than 20% will be achieved with additional flights between Türkiye (Turkey) and Europe. Bischof further stated, “We are the airline carrying the most number of tourists to the Mediterranean and Aegean regions with scheduled flights. In addition, we directly connect a record number of Anatolian cities to Europe. This summer, we will operate scheduled direct flights to 36 destinations in Europe from 16 cities in Türkiye (Turkey).”
Record seat capacity to Antalya; 4 new routes
SunExpress, which connects Antalya with the most international destinations with direct scheduled flights, is now also offering the most number of seats in the company’s history to Antalya. As Türkiye’s (Turkey’s) tourism capital and SunExpress’ hub, Antalya will be served with 3.7 million seats during the summer of 2019. “Initially, we planned 3.5 million seats capacity to Antalya from Europe. However, due to the growing demand, we increased our capacity to 3.7 million with almost 200 thousands additional seats,” said Bischof.
This year, SunExpress flies to four new cities from Antalya: Oslo in Norway, Gothenburg in Sweden, Eindhoven in Netherlands and Prague in Czech Republic. During the summer of 2019, the airline will fly to a total number of 36 international destinations from Antalya.
1.7 million seats to Izmir; 3 new routes
This summer SunExpress will also offer 1.7 million seats to Izmir, the airline’s connection hub. Pointing out that since starting its Izmir operation, SunExpress has continuously grown and become a major contributor to Izmir’s urban tourism, Bischof then added, “We also offer connections from many cities of Anatolia to Europe via Izmir. Our new international destinations from Izmir this summer will be Eindhoven in the Netherlands, St. Petersburg in Russia and Marseille in France. With these additions, we bring our offer of international destinations from Izmir to 32”
30% capacity increase to Anatolia
Bischof pointed out, “Initially, our Anatolian flights were introduced in 2010 for the purpose of facilitating mutual family visits by Turks living in Europe; since then these direct scheduled Anatolian flights have continued, becoming SunExpress’ fastest growing market. This year, we have added Kütahya/Zafer and Malatya to our existing Anatolian network. We now offer direct scheduled flights from 12 Anatolia cities, including Kütahya, Malatya, Adana, Ankara, Gaziantep, Elazığ, Konya, Kayseri, Ordu-Giresun, Samsun, Trabzon and Diyarbakır to 16 cities in Europe, resulting in a capacity increase of 30 percent compared to last year.” SunExpress’ new routes this summer from Anatolia will be Düsseldorf-Malatya, Düsseldorf-Kütahya/Zafer, Cologne-Samsun, Stuttgart-Diyarbakir, Stuttgart-Konya and Oslo-Konya.
5 Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft will be added to the fleet this year
Stating that SunExpress will have the largest fleet in its history with 83 aircraft in 2019, Bischof added, “The first five Boeing 737 Max-8 aircraft (Boeing’s latest generation 737 model) of the 32 ordered, for delivery between 2019 and 2024, will join our fleet this April and May. We will also receive three Boeing 737 Max-9 aircraft for SunExpress Germany as well as eight additional Airbus A320 to be placed into service on international flights departing from Antalya.
2019 will be a year of records for the Turkish tourism
Bischof said, “SunExpress is the backbone of air transportation of the Turkish tourism sector. In 2018 we were selected as the ‘Best Leisure Airline in Türkiye (Turkey)’ and ‘the World’s fifth Best Leisure Airline’. We are also the second largest service exporter in Türkiye (Turkey) by flying to 90 destinations in more than 30 countries. As a Türkiye (Turkey) specialist in Europe, we work with the largest European tour operators and travel agencies. This record capacity increase achieved by SunExpress for the year of 2019 is an important indicator of the expected growth in Turkish tourism. We expect that 2019 will be a year of records for Turkish tourism.”
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