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 for a six-month period, commencing mid-October 2023. The first of the 2 aircraft was received last week.
Sun Express, is a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines. Sun Express boasts among the youngest fleets in Europe and was named Europe’s Best Leisure Airline in 2023 at the World Airline Awards and in 2022 was awarded World’s Best Leisure Airline in the same awards.
SAA has entered a “damp lease” agreement with Sun Express, the lease covers the provision of aircraft, maintenance, and cockpit crew, 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 appreciation for the way SAA’s loyal customer base has adapted to this temporal experimentation with SAA’s brand since the airline started utilizing the ACMI fleet acquisition strategy this year.