DALLAS — Turkish low-cost carrier SunExpress (XQ) announced a firm order for 45 737 MAX aircraft. The order includes 28 Boeing 737-8s and 17 Boeing 737-10s. This order is added to XQ’s 45 options and commitments for 90 MAX family aircraft. XQ will use these aircraft to serve destinations in Europe from Turkey.
This order was announced on the first day of the Dubai Airshow and is the first official aircraft order at the 2023 show. SunExpress previously placed an order with Boeing for ten additional 737-8s at the 2019 Dubai Airshow.
SunExpress is a unique airline that is 50% owned by Lufthansa and 50% owned by Turkish Airlines (TK). With the backing of two powerful airlines, SunExpress operates flights to cheap holiday destinations from Western Europe to Turkey using their Boeing fleet. XQ is wet leasing six A320s from Lithuania-based Avion Express (X9) to keep up with the high demand.
SunExpress’s fleet consists of Boeing 737-800s and MAX aircraft. XQ will replace the older 737-800s with the newer MAX jets. The fuel improvements and the range flexibility make the 737 MAX a superior aircraft over the previous 737 generations.
In 2022, XQ served 10.7 million passengers with a load factor of 85%, exceeding its pre-pandemic levels. Most of XQ’s passengers fly between Turkey and European countries, a sector that has seen substantial growth over the past few years.
SunExpress earned a record of €1.49 billion (US$1.57 billion) in 2022. The airline expects that number will be beaten in 2023 and projects €1.63 billion (US$1.72 billion) in revenue.
Moreover, Turkey, which attracted 44.6 million foreign tourists in 2022 and hit a record tourism revenue of over US$46 billion, expects to surpass both numbers in 2023. They project 60 million foreign visitors and US$56 billion in tourism revenues in 2023.
Featured image: SunExpress D-ASMA Boeing 737 MAX 9. Photo: Nick Sheeder/Airways