Twin Cities-based Sun Country Airlines is counting on a dramatic increase in COVID-19 vaccinations and testing to propel the carrier to a much improved second half of 2021. Like airlines worldwide, Sun Country has been clobbered financially by the pandemic, with very few people traveling and a majority of flights cancelled or operating with few passengers for nearly a year.
CEO Jude Bricker, a former executive for Allegiant Airlines, expressed his cautious optimism that business will improve in the coming months for airlines and the hospitality industry. In a press release, Bricker said, “We are excited to extend our network and offer people access to even more low-cost vacation options, when they are ready to travel again.”
From the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), the air carrier’s home base, Sun Country (SY) has announced the following new services:
- starts May 6, John Wayne Orange County Airport (SNA)
- starts May 13, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
- starts May 14, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), and Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
- starts May 21, Bradley International Airport, Hartford CT/Springfield MA (BDL)
- starts May 26, Glacier Park International Airport (FCA), and Jackson Hole Airport (JAC)
- starts May 28, Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
- starts May 29, Fairbanks International Airport (FAI)
As a low-cost point-to-point airline that doesn’t rely on a hub system, Sun Country’s flights may operate as little as once or twice weekly. Other new services upcoming that will operate from May to September include Houston (IAH) to Las Vegas (LAS) and Cancun (CUN), Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) to Orange County (SNA) and Puerto Vallarta (PVR), as well as from Orlando (MCO) to Indianapolis (IND) and Hartford-Springfield (BDL).
Clearly, the Minneapolis-St. Paul flights to BDL, IND, IAH, DFW and SNA are primarily for aircraft positioning with the hope that the new services originating in these cities will turn out to be lucrative. Sun Country will be up against Delta and it’s huge MSP hub to BDL, IND, IAH, DFW and SNA, and they will also run into American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines along the way, as these airlines are very strong in MCO, IAH, DFW and LAS.
Sun Country operates a fleet of Boeing 737s of various models, and also has a cargo contract that flies freight for Amazon/Prime Air.