Deutsche Lufthansa AG said the long-haul discount arm it’s looking at establishing with Turkish Airlines would be a direct extension of the existing SunExpress short-haul venture between the two carriers.
Europe’s second-biggest airline said yesterday it was in advanced talks with Turkish Airlines on plans for a low-cost intercontinental arm that would operate nine Boeing Co. 767s or Airbus Group NV A330s, with flights commencing in winter 2015.
“We’d simply be expanding our current joint venture with Turkish,” Andreas Bartels, a spokesman for Cologne-based Lufthansa, said today by telephone. “In that case no new project would need to be formally registered.”
Turkish Airlines, as Turk Hava Yollari AO is known, said earlier in a stock-exchange statement that while it is in “open dialog” with Lufthansa there are no projects regarding long-haul flights with the German carrier.
Lufthansa said yesterday that though SunExpress could serve as a blueprint for a long-haul discount pact, going solo remains an option. The operation would serve locations such as the Seychelles, Mauritius and Maldives and secondary Chinese cities like Chengdu from locations away from the main Frankfurt hub.
Previous plans for closer cooperation between the Star Alliance members failed in 2013 when Lufthansa sought to pare passenger rewards for Turkish Air clients on code-share flights.