Sun Country Airlines has announced a huge network expansion. Just in time for summer, the airline will be adding 16 new flights to nine new cities in its network. The ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC) will operate all routes using Boeing 737 aircraft.
Sun Country Airlines adds new flights
Sun Country Airlines is making a big move, with 16 more routes coming in summer 2021. The carrier will be adding these routes:
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) from May 14th with two weekly flights
- Indianapolis International Airport (IND) from May 28th with two weekly flights
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston from May 13th with two weekly flights
- Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Hartford from May 21st with two weekly flights
- John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County from May 6th with four weekly flights
- Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) from May 14th with two weekly flights
- Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) from May 26th with two weekly flights
- Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) in Kalispell with two weekly flights from May 26th
- Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) from May 29th with one weekly flight
From Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW):
- John Wayne Airport (SNA) from May 6th with two weekly flights
- Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) from June 4th with two weekly flights
From Houston-Bush Intercontinental (IAH):
- McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas from September 2nd with one weekly flight
- Cancun International Airport (CUN) from May 27th with two weekly flights
From Orlando International Airport (MCO):
- Bradley International Airport (BDL) with one weekly flight from September 5th
- Indianapolis International Airport (IND) from September 5th with one weekly flight
From San Antonio International Airport (SAT):
- Cancun International Airport (CUN) from May 28th with two weekly flights
- The nine new cities reaching Sun Country’s network are Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Houston, Hartford, Orange County, Raleigh, Jackson Hole, Kalispell, and Fairbanks.
Getting its share of passengers
Sun Country Airlines is turning up the heat on full-service carriers. The airline’s largest hub is Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP). From there, the airline serves many destinations seasonally out of the airport.
MSP is also a massive Delta Air Lines hub. The carrier took over the hub after a merger with Northwest Airlines. Since then, the airline has maintained a sizable presence from the Minnesota airport.
Sun Country does fine against Delta Air Lines in leisure markets. The airline does not rely on connections but mostly on point-to-point travel, although the carrier will sell connections when possible. So, where Delta leverages connecting passengers through Minneapolis, Sun Country focuses on flying Minnesotans where they need to go.
The airline is now going to take a larger slice of travelers who are looking for nonstop options out of Minneapolis or Dallas or Houston or San Antonio. This will turn up the heat slightly on some full-service carriers who are flying those nonstop routes, including Delta. However, full-service carriers should be just fine as their large connecting hubs can keep their planes full.
The airline is looking at airports very strategically. The airline wants to ensure its cost-structure is low, so it tries to secure gates and ticket counters that it does not have to lease but are sometimes set aside for new entrant carriers or can be borrowed for cheap from another airline.
Sun Country had been looking at getting into John Wayne Airport (SNA) for a bit. The airline was finally able to get into the airport, which is not an easy airport, and been a tightly-controlled airport from a slots and gates perspective. Spirit Airlines was also able to get into the airport during the crisis. SNA is the closest airport to Disneyland, and it is a leisure passenger favorite.
What you need to know about Sun Country Airlines
Sun Country Airlines only flies Boeing 737 jets. The carrier is an ultra-low-cost carrier and outfits all of its jets in an all-economy configuration. However, this is not the extent of the airline’s business.
Sun Country Airlines serves up to 300 airports in a year. The airline does not operate scheduled passenger flights to all 300 airports, but it serves a large majority of them through charter flights. The airline is the largest domestic military charter airline.
Sun Country serves 10 airports year-round out of over 60 that receive scheduled flights. Charters bring the airline all the way up to the 300-or-so number.
Also, the carrier is flying Boeing 737 freighters for Amazon. This is an important way for the airline to keep revenue coming in during the low seasons when there is not much tourism demand. Cargo demand, especially through Amazon, is fairly stable.