Twin Cities-based Sun Country Airlines ownership group Apollo Global Management, Inc., has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) as part of a long-term plan to grow the carrier. Apollo’s plan calls for the sale of $100 million of shares in Sun Country which will be underwritten by Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank. The carrier was acquired by Apollo in 2018 from private investors.
Despite COVID-19 depressed air travel demand and international travel restrictions to important Sun Country destinations in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, the airline is weathering the pandemic better than many others thanks to a cargo contract that has 12 Boeing 737s operating full-time for Amazon/Prime Air.
During the first nine months of last year Sun Country reported revenues of $293.7 million, down from $537.5 during the same time period in 2019. The airline will be listed on the NASDAQ exchange as SNCY.
In a prepared statement, the company said: “Since the acquisition, our business has been transformed under a new management team of seasoned professionals who have a strong combination of low-cost and legacy network airline experience.”
Sun Country’s history dates back to December 1983, when the airline was formed by senior management staff of tour operator MLT Vacations to fly charter flights to a myriad of popular vacation destinations from Minneapolis/St. Paul. With a fleet of Boeing 727 and DC-10 aircraft, “SY” flew exclusively for MLT to Las Vegas, Orlando, Cancun, Phoenix, Ft. Myers and other warm weather escapes. It eventually evolved into a low-fare airline with a limited route system primarily from MSP, but in recent years has slowly expanded into new U.S. point-to-point markets under the leadership of former Allegiant Air COO Jude Bricker. Sun Country currently flies a fleet of 31 passenger Boeing 737 aircraft, and 12 freighters.