Twin Cities-based Sun Country Airlines may be a small carrier unknown to most, but that doesn’t exempt it from the harsh reality of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Thankfully, Sun Country entered into a contract in December of last year with Amazon, operating several aircraft for the e-commerce giant. While the carrier couldn’t have foreseen what would soon nearly shut down air travel around the globe, its timing was perfect to convert several Boeing 737s to cargo aircraft.
Despite the air cargo business holding its own the last few months, especially as compared to the passenger side of the airline industry, Sun Country still has been forced to reduce staff for the foreseeable future.
Just announced this past week is the elimination of 112 positions company-wide, including 18 in the headquarters office. The other 94 slots on the operational side of the company are currently open and will not be filled. Bear in mind that Sun Country is a very small airline operation with just 1,500 total employees including cockpit and cabin crews. Its fleet consists of forty-one Boeing 737-700 and -800 aircraft. The staff reduction was necessitated by the expiration of Federal pandemic financial assistance on September 30. While the airline held out hope that a new stimulus package would be provided by the government, Congress has been unable to come up with a new plan acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans.
United and American Airlines recently announced the furlough of 32,000 staff, 13,000 at United and 19,000 at American, as aid talks have dragged on in Washington. Their intention is to recall most of these employees if a deal is realized for added stimulus, but it remains to be seen if that will materialize.