CEO interview

Sun Express improves results and expands operations

The Turkish-German leisure airline grew about 10% in 2017, and is adding planes and routes for summer 2018, CEO Jens Bischof told fvw in an interview.

January 09, 2018
Jens Bischof is CEO of Sun Express
Photo: Oliver Roesler

Sun Express had a “financially very successful year” in 2017, said the former Lufthansa Germany sales manager who took up the CEO post one year ago. The airline had “closely reviewed” flight operations, the route network, revenue management and sales, he explained. “We were able to take good advantage of the potential. We closed loss-making routes, significantly improved the fleet productivity and reduced costs,” he said.

The Antalya-based airline, a joint venture of Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, succeeded in increasing revenues and passengers by 10%, Bischof continued. In 2016, Sun Express had flown eight million passengers and generated turnover of €1 billion. Asked about profitability, the CEO said: “We are positioned much better than in 2016 and were able to achieve a double-digit percentage increase.”

“With regard to our Turkey business, where we increased capacity by 20%, we had to stay very cool of course, and it’s clear that we still have a downturn in tourism from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. But we were able to make up for that very well with our Anatolia flights,” he commented. “In addition, we were able to balance out the missing demand for Turkey from Germany with the (higher) demand from Russia and the Middle East,” he pointed out.

In terms of 2018 planning, Bischof said the main business unit Sun Express Turkey would increase capacity with five leased planes while the smaller Germany-based subsidiary Sun Express Deutschland, with an unchanged fleet of 11 B737s, would expand flights to Turkey (Antalya, Izmir), Bulgaria (Varna, Burgas) and Greece (Crete) this summer.

“What’s new for us is that we are not only flying from Central Europe to Turkey but also from Russia and the UK,” he explained. New routes, for example, include Luton – Bodrum, Moscow – Antalya, and St Petersburg – Izmir. This meant the airline is not only competing with German and Turkish charter airlines but also, for example, with Easyjet on UK routes.

Bischof said the insolvencies of Air Berlin and Niki had created new growth opportunities for Sun Express, such as offering more flights to Fuerteventura in the summer. He also saw potential for closer cooperation with Eurowings, for whom the airline is operating seven A330s on a wet-lease basis.

follow us:
© 2018 FVW Medien GmbH, all rights reserved
Legal Notice Data privacy Advertising Contact Us Terms & Conditions About Us