SunExpress Germany shifts to a more pan-European model

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SunExpress Germany shifts to a more pan-European modelSunExpress Germany also entered Germany-Greece in Apr-2015, but will cut its capacity by approximately one third, or approximately 1,000 weekly seats, this summer

SunExpress Germany is probably not an airline that springs to mind for most European air travellers. However, this could be changing. The airline plans to launch 34 new routes in summer 2016, taking its total to 93, versus 59 in summer 2015. Only four of the new routes will be to its core destination market – Turkey.

The carrier is a subsidiary of SunExpress, an Antalya-based leisure airline 50% owned by each of Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, and Lufthansa. Set up in 2011, Frankfurt-based SunExpress Germany operates under a German licence and the SunExpress brand, using a fleet of 12 Boeing 737-800s on leisure routes from Germany to leisure destinations in Mediterranean countries, in the main.

In 2016 the airline will continue to move away from its previous concentration on routes between Germany and Turkey, significantly broadening its network. Spain and Bulgaria are also becoming significant and it will add Italy this summer. SunExpress Germany is also Lufthansa's operator of the long haul part of its LCC brand Eurowings. As Lufthansa continues to create options for itself in the development of new operating platforms, SunExpress Germany's steps in a more pan-European direction are intriguing.

SunExpress Germany is growing rapidly

SunExpress Germany remains smaller than its parent airline but it has grown rapidly since 2014. According to data from OAG, the parent SunExpress deployed 4.4 million seats in 2015, 1 million more than in 2013. SunExpress Germany's seat capacity was only 1.6 million in 2015, but this was 183% more than in 2013 and 118% more than in 2014.

In the first week of Jul-2013 SunExpress Germany operated 71% of its seat capacity on routes from Germany to Turkey, while 24% of its seats were to Egypt and 5% to Tunisia. The dominance of Germany-Turkey in its schedule mirrored that of the parent SunExpress operation, which had more than 70% of seats on Turkey-Germany.

Germany-Turkey is shrinking, while other European destinations grow

In summer 2016 SunExpress Germany will remain leisure-focused, but its network looks very different from its 2013 version. By contrast, its parent's seat numbers remain dominated by Turkey-Germany (approximately three quarters of SunExpress' seats in Jul-2016).

Germany-Turkey will still be SunExpress Germany's biggest country pair in summer 2016, but will account for only 42% of its seats in the week of 18-Jul-2016 (source: OAG). Moreover, this summer the airline will reduce its scheduled seat numbers in this market by approximately one quarter compared with summer 2015, approximately 4,000 seats per week. SunExpress and Lufthansa are also cutting capacity on Germany-Turkey, while Turkish Airlines is the only significant player growing in this market.

The company started to operate to Spain in Apr-2015 and will triple its Germany-Spain capacity in summer 2016, adding approximately 5,000 seats compared with summer 2015. Spain will account for more than one quarter (27%) of its seats in the week of 18-Jul-2016, according to schedules data from OAG.

On Germany-Bulgaria, which SunExpress Germany also entered in Apr-2015, its peak summer capacity will almost double this year, adding 5,600 weekly seats. One in five (20%) of its seats will be in this market this summer (source: OAG, week of 18-Jul-2016).

SunExpress Germany also entered Germany-Greece in Apr-2015, but will cut its capacity by approximately one third, or approximately 1,000 weekly seats, this summer.

Its routes to launch in May-2016 will be its first into Italy, from Frankfurt to Lamezia Terme and Chania and from Leipzig/Halle to Lamezia Terme. 

New routes - 33 in summer 2016

Starting in May-2016 SunExpress Germany plans 33 new routes this summer (i.e. routes not operated in summer 2015), according to CAPA research using OAG schedules data. Only four of these are routes from Germany to Turkey (Berlin-Dalaman, Berlin-Gaziantep, Frankfurt-Samsun and Düsseldorf-Trabzon).

All but one of these new routes will be from/to bases in Germany (eight from Frankfurt, four from Nuremberg, three from Hannover, three from Leipzig/Halle, three from Munich, three from Düsseldorf, two from Cologne/Bonn, two from Paderborn, two from Stuttgart, one from Berlin Tegel, one from Hamburg and one from Vienna.

The one new route not involving a German airport is Vienna to Varga in Bulgaria, a route on which Austrian Airlines will be the leader by seats in a duopoly with SunExpress Germany.

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report




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