If you’ve never heard of Sun Country Airlines before, you are forgiven. The airline is not a global giant like Lufthansa, China Southern, or Ethiopian Airlines. However, this small US-based airline serves nearly 300 airports in a year– more than some of these other airlines. Here’s what you need to know about Sun Country.
Where is Sun Country based?
Sun Country Airlines is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their largest base of operations for scheduled passenger flights is out of Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP). If you’ve heard of this airport, it is likely as a Delta Air Lines hub, one of their largest, in fact. Sun Country Airlines is the second-largest airline out of the airport.
That, however, is not all that Sun Country serves. Other markets in the United States include Dallas, Las Vegas, and even West Coast cities like Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, and Hawaii.
While Sun Country Airlines used to be a bit of a competitor to Delta Air Lines, it changed over the last few years as it moved to a low-cost model. As such, now, it does not go after the business or premium travelers, but the leisure travelers originating in Minneapolis. A lot of Delta’s customers in Minneapolis are connecting passengers.
Where does Sun Country fly?
Below is Sun Country’s full scheduled route map. As you can see, most airline operations operate seasonally, and not all routes operate every day. Many of these routes will operate only a few times a week or as little as once a week.
However, beyond that, Sun Country actually flies to around 300 airports around the world. Charles Breer, Senior Director of Airport Affairs and Facilities at the airline, provided the following information on Sun Country Airlines at the Aviation Festival Americas:
“We’re the biggest domestic military charter airline. We do quite a bit of military charters. Occassionally, we do go off over to Europe and we’ve had cases where we fly over to Hawaii and run shuttles for the military between the islands. For oil companies and different clients, we’ve flown to Suriname and all sorts of places in Central America and the Caribbean. We fly to Guantanamo Bay.”
He added that Sun Country even flies, from time-to-time to destinations like Kuwait and places in Europe. While the core base of travelers for Sun Country is leisure travelers out of Minnesota, the airline still relies on a lot of charter operations, as can be seen in where they fly:
“We only have yearround service to at around 10 airports out of 60 that we serve on a scheduled basis. If you add charters into that, we touch maybe 300 airports in the course of a year.”
All of Sun Country’s scheduled flights are on Boeing 737-800s. These jets are all in an all-economy configuration.
Sun Country’s cargo operations
Recently, Sun Country took on a brand new and significant part of its business now flying cargo for the global e-commerce giant, Amazon. As of writing, according to Mr. Breer, the airline is flying 10 freighters for Amazon currently with two more coming. Cargo makes up about a third of the airline’s business.
These cargo opportunities are great for the airline. Cargo is a little more stable, so that Sun Country can get some stable revenue flying these freighters for Amazon in the low season.
Have you flown with Sun Country Airlines? Have you heard of Sun Country Airlines before? Let us know in the comments!