Frankfurt am Main/Berlin, March 8, 2024 – SunExpress, a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, and Electra Airways, the leading European charter airline based in Sofia (Bulgaria), signed a three-year sales partnership agreement on March 7 at the world's largest tourism trade fair, ITB Berlin, focusing on the summer months in 2025, 2026 and 2027. The strategic success model, which SunExpress has already established through a strong long-term partnership with Air Cairo, entails SunExpress handling all commercial tasks from network planning, scheduling, and slots to sales, marketing, and revenue management, while Electra Airways will focus on operational aspects such as ground handling, flight operations, and excellent in-flight service.

"The expansion of our successful partnership model is a strategic step to increase our international footprint and expand our network in close collaboration with our partners. We capitalize on our in-depth expertise to establish further partnerships based on the same model, thus broadening the offering for our sales partners even further. We aim to grow together with our partners to meet our customers' needs the best way possible," says SunExpress CEO Max Kownatzki, explaining the company's plans for the future.

Routes between Bulgaria and Germany on sale from June

On time for the summer season, the inaugural flight is scheduled for the end of May 2025. The offer is expected to be on sale for passengers via from June 2024 - B2B partners can place reservations via the familiar SunExpress channels during the same period. Initially, one Airbus A320 will fly from the port cities of Varna and Burgas to Germany. Further routes to other European countries are to follow in the future. Depending on the development of demand, there may be an option to expand the service.

The Bulgarian Minister of Tourism, Zaritsa Dinkova, and Frank Quante, CEO of Fraport Bulgaria, attending the signing event of the agreement at ITB, expect positive effects for Bulgaria. "The cooperation between the two airlines is a real benefit for our country. I see great potential to attract even more travelers in the future and inspire them to explore our great and diverse country", stated Zaritsa Dinkova.

With the IOSA-certified airline, SunExpress is taking on board a reliable partner that guarantees operational stability thanks to its own aviation maintenance facility. In return, Electra Airways will benefit from the professional market expertise of SunExpress, which has been recognized by Skytrax as Europe's best leisure airline. To expand the collaboration and present the new product, a Special Flight including an event for sales partners is planned in Burgas in early summer 2024.

"With Electra Airways, we are gaining the ideal partner to further expand the selection of unique travel experiences for our guests and to provide all our distribution partners with improved access to the Bulgarian coastline," said Peter Glade, Commercial Director at SunExpress. "The distribution model is closely aligned with the planning processes and integrated into the systems of our distribution partners. This allows for a fast and flexible implementation of tour operators’ requirements. We are confident that our model will support the Bulgarian tourism industry to achieve new growth.”

Stefan Trifonov, CEO of Electra Airways, is also optimistic about the future: "We are delighted to have SunExpress as a strong partner to further diversify our offerings. I am confident that SunExpress' extensive experience in distribution partnerships will support us in attracting even more customers to our excellent service and reliable flight operations in the future. Additionally, I am sure that our customers will enjoy the comfort of Electra Airways’ retrofitted cabins, which we will begin offering to the market starting in the summer of 2024.”