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SunExpress, a prominent Turkish airline, has been a significant player in the aviation industry since its establishment in 1989. As a joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, SunExpress has successfully carved a niche in the market, connecting people across Europe with the stunning destinations along the Mediterranean. This article delves into the history, operations, achievements, and challenges of SunExpress, offering a comprehensive look at this influential airline and its role in enhancing air travel experiences in the Mediterranean region.

Founding and Early Days

SunExpress took its maiden flight in 1989, with its primary mission to provide leisure and holiday travelers with convenient, affordable access to the Mediterranean’s stunning destinations. The airline was founded as a joint venture between Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, two aviation giants, which brought their expertise and resources to the venture. This collaboration allowed SunExpress to benefit from the best practices of both partners, ensuring a strong foundation for its operations.

From the outset, the airline was committed to providing quality air travel services to holidaymakers and travelers exploring the Mediterranean. Its fleet and route network initially focused on serving Turkish coastal cities and popular Mediterranean destinations.

Operational Framework

SunExpress operates with a comprehensive framework that encompasses various facets of air travel:

  1. Fleet Composition: The airline’s fleet consists primarily of Boeing aircraft, including the Boeing 737, known for its efficiency on short- to medium-haul routes. The uniformity in the fleet allows for streamlined operations and maintenance.

  2. Route Network: SunExpress connects passengers from Europe to Turkish coastal cities and various Mediterranean destinations. Key hubs include Antalya Airport, Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, and Istanbul Airport.

  3. Quality Service: The airline is known for providing quality service, both in-flight and on the ground. SunExpress ensures passenger comfort and satisfaction, with a focus on punctuality.

  4. Digital Innovation: SunExpress has embraced digital technology, making it convenient for passengers to book flights, manage their bookings, and access information through its website and mobile app.

  5. Sustainability Initiatives: The airline is committed to environmental sustainability, exploring fuel-efficient operations and eco-friendly practices to reduce its carbon footprint.

Challenges and Resilience

SunExpress, like any airline, has faced its share of challenges:

  1. Competition: The airline operates in a competitive market, with numerous carriers vying for passenger attention. Staying ahead of the competition requires a constant focus on innovation and cost-efficiency.

  2. Economic Factors: Economic fluctuations, currency devaluation, and global crises can impact passenger demand and profitability. The airline must adapt to changing economic conditions.

  3. Environmental Concerns: The aviation industry faces increasing scrutiny regarding its environmental impact. SunExpress is actively engaged in sustainability initiatives to address these concerns.

  4. Global Pandemic Impact: The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on the aviation industry, including SunExpress, which saw a significant decrease in demand and operational disruptions.

  5. Operational Efficiency: Maintaining operational efficiency and controlling costs is a challenge faced by all airlines. SunExpress has made efforts to streamline its operations.

Despite these challenges, SunExpress has consistently demonstrated resilience, adapting to changing conditions, maintaining its commitment to quality air travel, and growing in the face of adversity.

Achievements and Impact

SunExpress’ journey is marked by several noteworthy achievements and its significant impact on the aviation industry:

  1. Connectivity: The airline plays a crucial role in connecting European travelers with Turkish coastal cities and Mediterranean destinations, supporting tourism, trade, and international business.

  2. Holiday Travel Growth: SunExpress has been instrumental in boosting holiday travel to the Mediterranean region, enabling more travelers to explore stunning destinations and experience the beauty of the Mediterranean.

  3. Quality Service: The airline has maintained a strong focus on passenger satisfaction, adhering to international safety standards and providing quality in-flight and ground services.

  4. Environmental Responsibility: SunExpress is actively engaged in sustainability initiatives, exploring cleaner fuels, fuel-efficient operations, and waste reduction to reduce its environmental footprint.

  5. Economic Contribution: The airline’s operations have generated job opportunities in the Mediterranean region, contributing to economic growth in coastal cities and tourist destinations.

Future Prospects

As it looks to the future, SunExpress has several strategies and developments in mind:

  1. Fleet Expansion and Modernization: The airline plans to expand and modernize its fleet, incorporating new, more fuel-efficient aircraft to enhance operational efficiency and reduce its environmental impact.

  2. Network Growth: SunExpress aims to expand its domestic and international route network, providing more travel options for passengers and reaching more Mediterranean destinations.

  3. Sustainability Initiatives: The airline is committed to further sustainability practices, exploring cleaner fuels, more efficient aircraft, and reduced waste generation to lessen its environmental impact.

  4. Digital Enhancements: SunExpress will continue to prioritize digital innovation, offering passengers more convenience through improved booking and management services.

  5. Post-Pandemic Recovery: The airline is focused on recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuilding passenger trust, and restoring operations to their pre-pandemic levels.


SunExpress, established with the vision of connecting Europe with the stunning Mediterranean region, has become an integral part of the Mediterranean travel experience. From its inception in 1989 to its current status as a prominent leisure and holiday carrier, the airline’s journey is marked by resilience, adaptability, and dedication to providing quality air travel to passengers.

As it faces challenges and navigates the uncertainties of the aviation industry, SunExpress remains dedicated to expanding its network, modernizing its fleet, and contributing to the economic development of the Mediterranean region. The airline’s vision, adaptability, and commitment to offering quality air travel ensure that it continues to connect the Mediterranean with excellence in aviation, enhancing the travel experiences of countless passengers.

Book SunExpress Ticket – Your Gateway to Exciting Destinations!

Book your SunExpress tickets now and embark on an unforgettable journey to exciting destinations. With SunExpress, you’ll experience exceptional service, convenient flight options, and affordable fares. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on pristine beaches or exploring vibrant cities, SunExpress has you covered. Don’t miss out on your next adventure with SunExpress.


Baggage Allowance

Carry-on Baggage

SunExpress allows passengers to one free item of carry-on baggage. This must weigh a maximum of 8 kg (17.6 lbs) and fit within the dimensions of 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm (21.6″ x 15.7″ x 9″).

Checked Baggage

The checked baggage allowance will depend on the fare class and the route that the passenger has chosen.

Infants under the age of 2 years will be allowed to bring 20 kg of baggage. Pushchairs and child car seats are stored in the hold of the aircraft at no additional cost.

Flights to/from Germany

If your destination is Egypt, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Canary Islands, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Cyprus, Antalya, Alanya/Gazipasa, Bodrum or Dalaman, the following checked baggage allowance rules apply:

SunEco – 20kg

SunClassic – 25kg

SunPremium – 30kg

For all other Turkish destinations:

SunEco -30kg

SunClassic – 35kg

SunPremium – 40kg

Flights to/from Turkey

If your destination is Antalya, Alanya/Gazipasa, Bodrum or Dalaman, the following checked baggage rules apply:

SunEco – 20kg

SunClassic – 25kg

SunPremium – 30kg

All other Turkish destinations:

SunEco – 30kg

SunClassic – 35kg

SunPremium – 40kg

Check-In Information

Online Check-In

SunExpress offers online check-in for passengers. This can be completed by visiting the SunExpress online check-in page.

For domestic flights from Turkey, SunExpress online check-in will open between 24 hours–45 minutes prior to departure.

For international flights from Turkey, SunExpress online check-in will open between 24–1 hour prior to departure.

For international flights from all other airports, check-in will be open from 24–3.5 hours prior to departure.

Airport Check-In

Airport check-in can be completed by presenting the relevant travel documents to an airline check-in agent at the check-in desks at the airport of departure. SunExpress recommend passengers to check-in at the airport at least two and a half hours before departure time.

On international flights, passengers must be present at the gate with their boarding card at least 45 minutes before their flight departure time.

On domestic flights, passengers must be present at the gate with their boarding card at least 30 minutes before their flight departure time.

Food & Drink

The food available of SunExpress flights will vary depending on the ticket fare you purchased at the time of booking.

SunEco: When flying in economy, you’ll not be entitled to any food and drinks free of charge on board. However, you purchase a number of small appetisers from our SunCafé menu.

SunClassic: You’ll be offered from a variety of sweet and salty snacks and still water, which will all presented in a nice Snack Box.

SunPremium: You’ll receive a number of sweet and salty snacks, a delicious hot pizza and a non-alcoholic drink.

Frequent Flyer Program

SunExpress ‘your benefits’ is the frequent flyer programme of SunExpress. With SunExpess ‘your benefits’ you can earn and spend points with SunExpress. When you fly 10 times with SunExpress, you’ll get 1 free flight – a free flight is redeemable within 3 years. There are so many points you can earn with SunExpress ‘your flights’, whether it’s by reserving a seat, adding baggage or by even inviting friends and family to join SunExpress your benefits program.

Destinations that SunExpress flies to

SunExpress serves a number of destinations in Europe and the Middle East, as per the tables below detailing the domestic and international routes:

Domestic Destinations

Bodrum Milas–Bodrum Airport
Dalaman Dalaman Airport
Elazığ Elazığ Airport
Eskişehir Hasan Polatkan Airport
Kütahya Zafer Airport
Zonguldak Zonguldak Airport
Izmir İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport
Antalya Antalya Airport
Adana Adana Şakirpaşa Airport
Ankara Esenboğa International Airport
Diyarbakır Diyarbakır Airport
Erzurum Erzurum Airport
Gaziantep Oğuzeli Airport
Hatay Hatay Airport
Kars Kars Harakani Airport
Kayseri Erkilet International Airport
Konya Konya Airport
Malatya Malatya Erhaç Airport
Samsun Samsun-Çarşamba Airport
Trabzon Trabzon Airport
Van Van Ferit Melen Airport

International Destinations

Austria Vienna Vienna International Airport
Belgium Brussels Brussels Airport
Czech Republic Prague Václav Havel Airport Prague
Denmark Aalborg Aalborg Airport
Denmark Billund Billund Airport
Denmark Copenhagen Copenhagen Airport
Finland Helsinki Helsinki Airport
France Lyon Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport
France Marseille Marseille Provence Airport
France Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Germany Bremen Bremen Airport
Germany Münster/Osnabrück Münster Osnabrück Airport
Germany Berlin Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Germany Cologne/Bonn Cologne Bonn Airport
Germany Dortmund Dortmund Airport
Germany Düsseldorf Düsseldorf Airport
Germany Frankfurt Frankfurt Airport
Germany Hamburg Hamburg Airport
Germany Hanover Hannover Airport
Germany Leipzig/Halle Leipzig/Halle Airport
Germany Munich Munich Airport
Germany Nuremberg Nuremberg Airport
Germany Saarbrücken Saarbrücken Airport
Germany Stuttgart Stuttgart Airport
Greece Athens Athens International Airport
Hungary Budapest Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport
Iraq Erbil Erbil International Airport
Ireland Dublin Dublin Airport
Israel Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport
Italy Milano Milan Malpensa Airport
Lebanon Beirut Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport
Netherlands Eindhoven Eindhoven Airport
Netherlands Amsterdam Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
North Macedonia Skopje Skopje International Airport
Norway Oslo Oslo Airport, Gardermoen
Poland Warsaw Warsaw Chopin Airport
Poland Katowice Katowice Airport
Russia Saint Petersburg Pulkovo Airport
Sweden Gothenburg Göteborg Landvetter Airport
Sweden Stockholm Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Switzerland Geneva Geneva Airport
Switzerland Zürich Zürich Airport
Switzerland/France/Germany Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg
United Kingdom London Stansted Airport
United Kingdom Birmingham Birmingham Airport
United Kingdom Bristol Bristol Airport
United Kingdom Edinburgh Edinburgh Airport
United Kingdom London Gatwick Airport
United Kingdom London Luton Airport
United Kingdom Manchester Manchester Airport
United Kingdom Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle Airport

Hub Airport

Antalya Airport

Antalya Airport (AYT) is an international airport in Turkey and is the hub airport for SunExpress. The airport is among the top three busiest airports in Turkey and serves more than 7 million passengers per year. Although the airport does facilitate regular flights year-round, most of the flight at the airport operate on a seasonal basis. The airport has three runways and three terminals.

Antalya Airport is also a hub for Andolujet, Corendon Airlines, Freebird Airlines, Pegasus Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

Hotels Near Antalya Airport




SunExpress has one of the most reliable and modern fleets in Europe. SunExpress currently consists of solely Boeing 737 aircraft. This includes the Boeing 737-800 and the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Seat Selection

If you’re travelling with your family, we recommend that you reserve your seat on SunExpress flights now! With ‘Best Family Offer’ you ca save up to 40% on selected seats. Please note that at least one child and one adult must be listed on the booking in order to receive the Best Family Offer.

You can also buy XLeg seats if you wish to have more legroom. XLeg seats is available to book up to 3 hours before your flight departure time on domestic flights and up to 6 hours prior to your flight departure on international flights.


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