SunExpress, a joint venture of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South African Airways (SAA) to double its capacity for the upcoming winter. The leisure carrier will support the national carrier’s operations with four aircrafts in the winter season 2024/2025.

The MoU is an add-on to the current six-month damp lease agreement, which was started in October this year and include the lease of two Boeing 737-800s as well as maintenance and cockpit crew. The MoU was signed by SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki and SAA CEO Prof. John Lamola, at a joint press event in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 14 December. 

In addition to plans to double the number of damp lease aircraft in the winter season 2024/2025, SunExpress and SAA are currently jointly exploring the options for a multi-year reciprocal capacity support and further cooperation with regards to maintenance, training and commercial support.

"The memorandum of understanding clearly underlines our commitment to further deepen our successful partnership with SAA. We are proud of the trust that SAA is placing in us with the renewed intention to collaborate. We strive to build on this to develop a strong, long-term partnership and leverage more opportunities together in the future”, said Max Kownatzki, CEO of SunExpress. “Over the next decade, we will more than double our fleet, reaching a 150-aircraft fleet by 2033. These kinds of partnerships enable us to efficiently utilize our fleet, mitigating the impact of our seasonality.” 

Prof. John Lamola, CEO of SAA, welcomed the continued cooperation: "SunExpress has proven to be an extremely reliable partner for us in the first few months. We are therefore delighted that this valuable partnership will not only be continued but the scope of the partnership expanded to include additional aircraft for our 2024 holiday peak season. The additional aircraft will support our operations to meet the growing customer demand during peak seasons and mitigate our management of the global aircraft availability crisis.”

New route to Port Elizabeth 

Within the scope of the current damp lease agreement, SunExpress aircraft are operating 12 domestic flights a day to Cape Town and Durban from Johannesburg. As of 13 December, two daily connections from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to Chief Dawid Stuurman International Airport in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) have been added. This gives travelers even more opportunities to discover the fascinating country or to visit relatives and friends as flexible as possible during the upcoming holiday season.