After nine years of existence, the end is here: Sun Express is closing its German subsidiary. About 1200 employees are affected.
Sun Express just celebrated its 30th birthday. On April 2nd, 1990, the German-Turkish leisure airline took off for its maiden flight. It has been growing steadily ever since – most recently to over ten million passengers a year.
But in its anniversary year Sun Express has suffered a severe setback. The subsidiary of Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines has decided to close its German branch. Flights of Sun Express Germany will be discontinued in the next few days and an «orderly liquidation process is being prepared», Sun Express writes in a press release. 1200 employees are affected.
Concentration on flights to Turkey
The German subsidiary is a victim of the Corona crisis. Almost the entire fleet was grounded from April 2nd to May 31st. They were «hit hard» by this, the company says. In the future, the airline will concentrate on leisure flights from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Turkey and on domestic routes in Turkey, the carrier said in a press release.
Sun Express Germany was founded in 2011 to be able to serve destinations outside Turkey from Germany. Concentrating on flights to Turkey means that its German Air Operator Certificate (AOC) now is superfluous. «The strategically correct decision to focus on our core business is also bitter. This is sad news for all those affected, which has only come about after a comprehensive and intensive evaluation of the situation», comments Managing Director Max Kownatzki.
Flights will be taken over by Turkish sister
The flights of Sun Express Germany with Iata code XG are taken over by the Turkish sister company Sun Express or by Eurowings. With a «concentrated route network, a consolidated fleet as well as merged flight operations», «the airline’s competitiveness and future viability» is assured, the company stated. The company is trying to find a solution for the employees affected.
It was only in March that the long-standing Sun Express Managing Director Jens Bischof switched to Eurowings. Kownatzki, who came from Lufthansa, took over from him in mid-April. He then praised «the flexibility, speed and creativity» with which Sun Express had so far reacted to the effects of the Corona crisis. «Not only because of this, but also because of the strong market position to date, I am convinced that Sun Express will emerge stronger from this crisis». The German airline operated a fleet of 13 Boeing 737s.