Charter & AviationIndustry News

SAA Joins Forces with SunExpress in Unique Lease Agreement

South African Airways (SAA) and SunExpress have entered into a damp lease agreement that will allow SAA to operate a schedule utilising two SunExpress aircraft’s for a six-month period, commencing mid-October 2023. The first of the two aircraft’s was received on the 11th of October 2023.

SunExpress is a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. SunExpress boasts one of the youngest fleets in Europe and was named Europe’s Best Leisure Airline in 2023 at the World Airline Awards. In 2022 it was awarded the World’s Best Leisure Airline in the same awards.

SAA has entered a “damp lease” agreement with SunExpress, meaning the lease covers the provision of aircraft, maintenance, and cockpit crews, whilst the aircraft will be served by SAA’s cabin crew to maintain SAA’s customer service standards. For maintenance of these aircraft, SunExpress has contracted SAA Technical (SAAT) to perform any required work, at its cost, on these aircraft whilst they are operated by SAA.

Under the agreement, two Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Sun Express fleet will operate flights from Johannesburg on behalf of SAA during the airline’s high demand period. The first aircraft will start operations in mid-October and a second aircraft will be added depending on the capacity demand by SAA.

According to John Lamola, Chief Executive of SAA, “This unique ACMI is a short-term tactical intervention in SAA’s fleet strategy, as we are working on the deployment of our long-term dry-leased four A320s. We are pleased with our relationship with SunExpress and are excited with its potential as we both manage the seasonality of passenger traffic in our respective geographic markets.”

Tebogo Tsimane, Chief Commercial Officer expressed his appreciation at the way SAA’s loyal customer base has adapted to this temporal experimentation with SAA’s brand since the airline has started utilizing ACMI fleet acquisition strategy this year.

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