Lufthansa Group is set to close the German arm of SunExpress, its joint-venture with Turkish Airlines.
While Turkish SunExpress mostly offeres routes between Turkey and Germany, SunExpress Germany (legally SunExpress Deutschland GmbH) was operating to a number of different leisure destinations, mostly in the Mediterranean, and also flew on behalf of Lufthansa-owned low-cost carrier Eurowings.
The carrier was operating a fleet more than a dozen Boeing 737-800, as well as some Airbus A330-200 which it wet-leased to Eurowings. SunExpress Germany was also due to receive Boeing 737 MAX 9, once the grounding of the aircraft type would be lifted. The company employed approximately 1,200 people.
This decision by German flag-carrier Lufthansa comes amid the global Coronavirus crisis. It was not immediately clear if and how former SunExpress Germany jobs and flight capacities would be replaced within the group. According to reports, Eurowings plans to take up some of its short- and medium-haul leisure routes.
Passengers whose already-booked SunExpress Germany flights were cancelled will be rebooked onto partner airlines (including Eurowings) or receive a full refund, the airline confirms.
In a statement, Lufthansa says it was jointly decided by the shareholders of SunExpress Germany to close the airline. Flights had already been halted and all aircraft grounded since the beginning of April, due to Coronavirus-related travel restrictions across Europe and the world.
Lufthansa goes on to say that it decided to terminate various wet-lease agreements back in April, including those with SunExpress Germany: “This was due to a lack of demand and a surplus in personnel.”
Turkish sister airline SunExpress will continue to operate its own routes, its fleet consists of over 40 Boeing 737-800.
Jakob Wert is an aviation journalist from Germany. He built up the website IFN.news and is the Editor-In-Chief of International Flight Network.