SunExpress is exercising options for 10 additional Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes to continue renewing its fleet and growing its position in the leisure travel industry, the airline and Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today at the Dubai Airshow.
The purchase, valued at $1.2 billion according to list prices, adds to a previous SunExpress order for 32 MAX airplanes.
"We have a long standing, strong and trustful relationship with Boeing and thus we decided to turn our option into an order. We stand behind our strategic decision to phase the 737 MAX into our fleet for all of its economic and ecological advantages, mid- and long-term," says Jens Bischof, CEO of SunExpress. "We have full confidence that Boeing will deliver us a safe, reliable, and efficient aircraft. However, it goes without saying that this requires the undisputed airworthiness of the model, granted by all relevant authorities. Our utmost priority at SunExpress is and has always been safety."
The airline, which specializes in offering direct connections between Europe, Turkey and popular holiday destinations, has achieved significant growth in recent years as it steadily expanded its fleet of mainly Boeing 737 airplanes. Last year, SunExpress' passenger count climbed to nearly 10 million across roughly 100 destinations.
"We are honored and humbled by the trust that SunExpress has placed in our team at Boeing. They have been a wonderful partner over the years, demonstrating every day the efficiency and reliability of the Boeing 737 across their growing network," said Stan Deal, president & CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We regret the impact the MAX grounding has had on SunExpress and their passengers. The Boeing team is working hard to safely return the airplane to service and providing the capacity for SunExpress to continue serving as the backbone of air travel in the Turkish tourism industry."
The 737 MAX 8 is part of a family of airplanes that offer 130 to 230 seats and the ability to fly up to 3,850 nautical miles (7,130 kilometers). With improvements such as the CFM International LEAP-1B engine and Advanced Technology winglets, the 737 MAX provides operators a 14% improvement over today's most efficient single-aisle airplanes and extended range to open up new destinations.