- Özgür Töre
After a difficult year for the aviation industry, Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa’s joint venture SunExpress achieved a profit of 59 million Euros, despite the pandemic.
SunExpress welcomed over 6 million passengers on board in 2021 and the load factor was 75% which is close to pre-pandemic levels.
Speaking at the press conference in Istanbul, SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki, stated that SunExpress will continue to pursue its growth strategy in 2022 thanks to its strong financial structure. He said, “As one of the most important players in Turkish tourism, we have made great efforts to show that Turkey is one of the most attractive destinations to travel to. We have made it possible to access Turkey’s tourism centers even during the most challenging periods. We continued to bring families together and have ensured that Turkish citizens living in Europe can reunite with loved ones back home. This success we achieved thanks to the quick and bold steps taken by the Turkish government and the relevant authorities, the personal dedication and commitment of our team members and our loyal passengers who continued to put their trust in us.”
The largest expansion between Turkey and Europe
SunExpress has carried out the largest network expansion in its history with a total of 25 new routes and an additional 16,250 flights in the summer of 2022. The airline is now offering non-stop flights from more than 175 routes from Turkey to 60 destinations in 30 countries.
Kownatzki: “While maintaining our position as the airline carrying the highest number of tourists to the Mediterranean and Aegean regions with direct scheduled flights, we are moving towards our goal of becoming the number one Turkish tourist airline bringing the highest number of tourists to Turkey. Turkey, which provides its visitors with so many wonderful travel opportunities with its rich history and culture, unique cuisine and various climate conditions at the same time, has a lot to offer not only in summer but also in other seasons. We will continue to work hard to make Turkey a country visited throughout the year by taking tourism beyond sun and beach holidays.”
Capacity increase and 20 new routes on the Turkish Riviera
Kownatzki said, “Antalya, Izmir, Dalaman and Bodrum-Milas are the four main airports we focus on along the Turkish Riviera. The touristic demand continues to be strong as the summer season approaches. In 2022, we aim to increase our capacity beyond 2019 pre-pandemic levels to these coastal cities. In addition to the capacity increase, we offer more connections to these cities with new international services.”
In summer 2022, SunExpress will operate 33,000 flights in total from Antalya, Izmir, Dalaman and Bodrum-Milas airports. The airline announced that it is flying from these airports to a total of 52 destinations including the additional 20 new routes of this summer.
1,250 additional flights in Anatolia, 5 new routes
Operating direct scheduled flights from 14 Anatolian cities to 18 destinations in Europe this summer with 1,250 more flights compared to last year, SunExpress’ 5 new international flights on the Anatolia-Europe network will be Ankara - Copenhagen, Samsun – Vienna, Zonguldak – Dortmund, Ordu – Düsseldorf and Kayseri – Vienna.
Kownatzki added, “We continue to bring our Turkish citizens living in Europe to their home and reunite them with their loved ones. In 2022, we will continue to support the local tourism and economy of Anatolian cities.”
Support for the strong rebound of Turkish tourism in 2022
Stating that SunExpress has an undeniable role in enhancing Turkish tourism with its direct flights between Turkey and Europe, Kownatzki said, “The increase in our capacity and frequency, the expansion of our network and fleet, our newly added destinations and connections are all a reflection of our confidence in the strong recovery of Turkish tourism. We will do our part with more capacity than ever to support Turkey to achieve its tourism target in 2022. As SunExpress, we are eager to undertake the role as Turkey’s tourism ambassador and will continue to be the number one reliable airline partner of Turkish tourism.”