Sun Country Airlines is making big plans for next summer.
The Minneapolis-based ultra-low-cost carrier is debuting 12 new domestic routes and resuming three more.
All routes originate in the carrier’s hub of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and provide a lower-cost alternative to the market’s dominant carrier, Delta Air Lines.
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In fact, the airline relishes that competition with Delta, its CEO said Wednesday.
“We’re trying to turn Minneapolis into a two-airline market,” Jude Bricker said at the Skift Aviation Forum in Dallas. “If you pay with our own money, you fly with Sun Country. If you fly on a corporate contract, you fly Delta.”
In fact, one new route and one resuming route operate to a Delta hub.
And, history shows that Sun Country — and its loyal, local base — can be competitive. While smaller than Delta in many markets, it dominates in others. For instance, Sun Country had 56% of the market share in the MSP to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) market, according to August data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the most recent statistics available.
The 12 new routes are as follows.
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT): Service begins April 13 and operates on Mondays and Fridays.
- Atlantic City International Airport (ACY): Service begins May 1 and operates on Mondays and Fridays.
- Louisville International Airport (SDF): Service begins May 4 and operates on Mondays and Fridays.
- John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH): Service begins May 4 and operates Thursdays and Sundays until May 28, then Mondays and Fridays starting June 2.
- Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW): Service begins May 5 and operates Mondays and Fridays until May 26, then operates on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays starting May 29.
- Richmond International Airport (RIC): Service begins May 19 and operates on Fridays and Sundays.
- Omaha Eppley Airfield (OMA): Service begins May 26 and operates on Mondays and Fridays.
- Kansas City International Airport (MCI): Service begins May 29 and operates on Mondays and Fridays.
- Wilmington International Airport (North Carolina) (ILM): Service begins June 1 and operates on Thursdays and Sundays.
- Colorado Springs Airport (COS): Service begins June 8 and operates on Thursdays and Sundays.
- Cherry Capital Airport (Traverse City, Michigan) (TVC): Service begins June 16 and operates on Mondays and Fridays.
- Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP): Service begins June 19 and operates on Mondays and Fridays.
The three resuming routes are as follows.
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York) (JFK): Service resumes April 13 and operates on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Sun Country last served JFK in 2019 and also serves Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
- Milwaukee Mitchell Airport (MKE): Service resumes May 5 and operates twice weekly on Mondays and Fridays until May 26, then operates on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays starting May 29. Sun Country last served MKE in January 2022.
- St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL): Service resumes May 23 and operates on Fridays and Sundays. Sun Country last served STL in October 2021.
All routes are operated by Boeing 737 next-generation aircraft.
“We’re excited to continue our growth to top leisure destinations across the country,” Sun Country chief revenue officer Grant Whitney said in a statement. “With these new routes, Sun Country will now fly direct from MSP to 86 unique markets across the United States, Mexico, Central America, Canada and the Caribbean. We look forward to connecting our guests to their favorite people and places to create lifelong memories and transformative experiences.”
In addition to its scheduled ultra-low-cost service, Sun Country also has a robust charter market — and it also operates 737 freighters on behalf of Amazon.
“The fundamental reason we went into it is still very valuable today,” Bricker said of his airline’s cargo flying. “And it helps us de-peak the schedule.”