Sun Country Airlines

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Sun Country Airlines
Sun Country Airlines Logo.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedJune 1982; 37 years ago
Commenced operationsJanuary 1983; 36 years ago
AOC #SCNA220K[1]
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer programSun Country Rewards
Fleet size29
Company sloganThe Hometown Airline
Parent companyApollo Global Management
HeadquartersEagan, Minnesota, US
Key people
  • Jude Bricker (CEO)
  • David Siegel (Executive Chairman)
  • Jim Olsen (Founder, First CEO)
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 619 million (2018)
Net incomeIncrease US$ 23 million (2018)
ProfitIncrease US$ 30 million (2018)
EmployeesAbout 1,800

Sun Country Airlines is a United States ultra-low-cost airline, and the eleventh largest in the United States by passengers carried. It is based at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport and headquartered in nearby Eagan, Minnesota.[2] The airline operates 86 routes between destinations in the United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The airline operates focus cities at Dallas/Fort Worth and Portland, Oregon.[3]


A Sun Country DC-10 at Las Vegas International Airport in 1992

Sun Country began flight operations in January 1983 with a single Boeing 727-200 jetliner.[4] The airline's original staff consisted of sixteen pilots, sixteen flight attendants, three mechanics and one office person. A number of the original employees had previously worked for Braniff International Airways, which ceased operations on May 12, 1981.[5] The company's founder and first President/CEO was Captain Jim Olsen, who also acted as Chief Pilot. His wife, Joan Smith-Olsen, acted as Chief Flight Attendant and Head of Inflight Operations.[6]

In 1988, its headquarters were located on the grounds of the Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport.[7]

In 2001, the company suspended operations due to financial troubles.[8]

In July 2006, the airline was acquired by Petters Group Worldwide and Whitebox Advisors.[9]

Following the replacement of interim CEO Jay Salmen by Stan Gadek, former CFO of AirTran Airways, Sun Country was nearly finished by the major recession of 2008 and the revelation of financial fraud.[10] The airline furloughed 45 of its 156 pilots and scaled back its summer schedule due to rising fuel costs. Sun Country indicated it had hoped to get up to $50 million in loans or other financial help from the state of Minnesota and the airports commission.[11] In September 2008 the carrier reduced, and in some cases eliminated, flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles. It also began charging for the first checked bag.[12] At the end of September 2008, Gadek called for a 50% pay-deferral to all remaining employees. Tom Petters resigned after an FBI probe discovered that the airline had suffered financial fraud on a massive scale.[10][13] Following this, the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time, on October 6, 2008.[14]

Rebuilding and new owners[edit]

New seats on the Sun Country Boeing 737-800 in January 2019. Arranged in an all-economy layout.

In July 2011, Sun Country Airlines was purchased out of bankruptcy for $34 million by the Davis family, owners of Cambria, a Minnesota-based countertop company.[15][16] Marty Davis, CEO of Cambria, became Chairman of Sun Country Airlines. In 2015, the board hired Zarir Erani as President and CEO of Sun Country.[17]

Transition to a low-cost carrier[edit]

The airline had a net income of $27 million in 2015, followed by a 41% drop to $16 million in 2016.[17] In July 2017, after more than a year of missed monthly earnings projections, Davis replaced Erani as interim President and CEO, with Erani moving to other duties within the Davis family of companies.[17] Jude Bricker, previously of Allegiant Air, was appointed as CEO one week after Erani stepped down.[18]

On December 14, 2017, the Davis brothers announced they would be selling the airline to New York Based Apollo Global Management for an undisclosed amount. As part of its strategy, Sun Country moved towards being a "no frills" airline.[19]

New Sun Country all-economy seats featuring 183 seats on board. All seats have in-seat USB power.



Sun Country destinations (February 2019)

As of April 2019, Sun Country Airlines flies to 54 destinations and operates 88 routes throughout the Caribbean, United States, Mexico and Central America.[20] Many Sun Country destinations are seasonally served as demand grows and falls throughout the year. The airline additionally provides charter service for the United States Armed Forces [21] and NCAA football teams.[22]

Top domestic markets[edit]

Top domestic markets (Jun 2018 – May 2019)[23]
Rank Airport Passengers Market Share (%)
1 Minneapolis/St. Paul 1,069,810 6.27%
2 Las Vegas 197,050 0.89%
3 Fort Myers 125,400 2.69%
4 Orlando 119,930 0.59%
5 Los Angeles 112,290 0.37%
6 Other 908,890 0.11%

Interline agreements[edit]

Sun Country maintains interline agreements with following airlines.


Sun Country Boeing 737-800 wearing the newest livery
Sun Country Boeing 737-800 on seasonal lease from Transavia wearing Transavia livery with Sun Country titles

The Sun Country Airlines fleet consists of Boeing 737 Next-Generation airplanes. Seasonally, additional aircraft are leased between Transavia and Sun Country. During its slow summer season, Sun Country occasionally leases planes to Transavia and during Transavia's slow winter season, the airline leases planes to Sun Country.[25] Sun Country operates with an all economy layout across their fleet. The airline offers three types of economy seat selections: Best, Better, and Standard.[26]

Current fleet[edit]

Sun Country Airlines fleet[27]
Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
Best Better Standard Total
Boeing 737-700 3 12 114 126 To be retired[28]
117 129
Boeing 737-800 26 1 27 33 123 183
Total 29 1
Sun Country Boeing 727-227 wearing the original livery.

Retired fleet[edit]

Sun Country Airlines retired fleet[29]
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired
Boeing 727-200 36 1982 2001
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 series 13 1986 2001

Frequent flyer programs[edit]

Sun Country ran its first frequent flyer program, Sun Country VIP Club, from 2004 to July 2007, when it was replaced by Ufly.[citation needed] Ufly was replaced by Sun Country Rewards from November 2018.[30]


  1. ^ "Federal Aviation Administration - Airline Certificate Information - Detail View". Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  2. ^ "Contact Us". Sun Country Airlines. Archived from the original on 2018-01-04. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Here Comes the Sun: Inside Sun Country's Transition to a Low-Cost Carrier". 2018-12-14. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  4. ^
  5. ^, About Sun Country
  6. ^ "Sun County Airlines". Braniff Pages. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  7. ^ "World Airline Directory." Flight International. March 26, 1988. 117.
  8. ^ "The Braniff/Sun Country Connection". The Braniff Family. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
  9. ^ "Petters Group Worldwide and Whitebox Advisors Acquire Sun Country Airlines" (Press release). Sun Country Airlines. October 31, 2006. Archived from the original on November 14, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2007.
  10. ^ a b Fedor, Liz (28 September 2008). "Sept. 29: Sun Country workers face temporary 50% pay cut". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Retrieved 6 October 2008.
  11. ^ Muehlhausen, Nicole (August 6, 2008). "Sun Country asks MAC to help keep company flying". KAAL. Archived from the original on October 22, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
  12. ^ "Sun Country trims flights, and fares push higher". Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  13. ^ Dunbar, Elizabeth (September 30, 2008). "Petters resigns amid fraud investigation". International Herald-Tribune. Associated Press. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
  14. ^ Fedor, Liz (October 6, 2008). "Sun Country Airlines files for bankruptcy". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
  15. ^ David Phelps (July 21, 2011). "Cambria deal gives new life to Sun Country". StarTribune. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  16. ^ "Cambria Holdings paid $34 million for Sun Country Airlines". The Mankato Free Press. August 3, 2011. Archived from the original on 28 January 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  17. ^ a b c Painter, Kristen Leigh (2017-07-06). "Sun Country Airlines CEO Ousted; owner Davis steps in as he seeks successor for Erani". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  18. ^ Painter, Kristen (10 July 2017). "Sun Country names Jude Bricker as new CEO". Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Sun Country Airlines | Destinations,
  21. ^ "Sun Country Airlines – Company History". Retrieved June 13, 2010.
  22. ^ Retrieved 2019-03-20. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^
  24. ^ Condor: Announces Interline Agreement With Sun Country Airlines®
  25. ^ "". Retrieved 2018-10-20. External link in |title= (help)
  26. ^ "First Look at Sun Country's New, Smaller Seats". Thrifty Traveler. 2018-12-11. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  27. ^ "Sun Country Airlines Fleet Details and History". Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  28. ^ "Sun Country moves to an all-B737-800 fleet in low-cost pivot". ch-aviation. Retrieved 2017-09-04.
  29. ^ "AeroTransport Data Bank". Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  30. ^ "Sun Country is Overhauling its Rewards Program: What You Need to Know". Thrifty Traveler. 2018-11-02. Retrieved 2018-11-02.

External links[edit]

Media related to Sun Country Airlines at Wikimedia Commons