SunExpress commits to 90 Boeing 737 MAX jets at Dubai Airshow

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SunExpress commits to 90 Boeing 737 MAX jets at Dubai Airshow
Credit: © Reuters.

DUBAI - SunExpress, the Antalya-based carrier jointly owned by Lufthansa Group and Turkish Airlines, has announced a significant order for up to 90 Boeing (NYSE: BA ) 737 MAX aircraft at the Dubai Airshow 2023. The deal could potentially double the airline's fleet size over the next decade, supporting its ambitious growth strategy.

The firm order includes 28 MAX 8 and 17 MAX 10 models, with a mix of firm orders and options for the remaining aircraft not disclosed. SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki highlighted this milestone as a "historic moment" for the airline, emphasizing the strong relationship with Boeing that is built on trust and collaboration. The inclusion of the larger capacity MAX 10 model marks a notable expansion of their single aircraft capacity to over 200 passengers.

Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, expressed his appreciation for SunExpress as a valued customer and reminisced about past dealings with the airline, including when Kownatzki's predecessor exercised options for the then-grounded MAX during the Dubai Airshow in 2019.

Despite its reliance on Boeing aircraft to serve its extensive network, which includes 92 destinations across 34 countries, SunExpress has had to wet-lease seven Airbus A320s from Avion Express due to delivery delays. However, this new order signals a reaffirmation of SunExpress's commitment to Boeing's 737 MAX series.

In addition to the confirmed order of 45 jets, SunExpress has secured options for an equal number of additional aircraft, with deliveries planned between 2029 and 2035. This expansion aligns with Turkey's tourism goals and is supported by SunExpress's recent performance, having flown approximately ten million passengers from January to September and achieving an impressive 88% load factor.

The airline served nearly 11 million passengers in 2022 across a network of 175 routes in 30 countries. The new fleet expansion aims to support further growth as SunExpress seeks to cater to increased demand for short- and medium-haul air travel over the coming years. With this latest move, CEO Kownatzki envisions the fleet growing from its current size of 66 aircraft to reach 100 by 2028 and expanding further to 150 by 2033.

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