South African Airways (SAA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SunExpress (a joint venture of Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines), to support the national carrier’s operations with four aircraft in the 2024/2025 financial year.
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, on Thursday, 14th December 2023.
In addition to plans to increase the number of damp lease aircraft, SAA and SunExpress are currently exploring 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, SunExpress will more than double its fleet, reaching a 150-aircraft fleet by 2033. This kind of partnerships enable us to efficiently utilize our fleet, mitigating the impact of our seasonality, ” added Kownatzki.
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 mitigates our management of the global aircraft availability crisis.”