Sun Country Reveals Major Minneapolis Route Expansion

Credit: Joe Pries

Sun Country Airlines will add 12 new routes from its Minneapolis (MSP) base for the 2023 summer season, as well as resuming three previously served routes, buttressing its status as the second largest carrier at the Delta Air Lines hub.

All told, the carrier will fly 15 routes from MSP not served in the 2022 summer. Sun Country is the largest airline at Minneapolis after Delta in terms of market share. Atlanta-based Delta operates a hub at MSP and is by far the dominant carrier at the airport.

According to MSP, Delta had a 72% market share in 2021. Sun Country’s share stood at 10%. No other airline had more than a 5.5% share.

Sun Country’s new 2023 summer services will begin April 13, when the all-Boeing 737 operator starts flying 4X-weekly between MSP and New York Kennedy (JFK). While not a COVID-19 resumption, the route restores JFK to Sun Country’s network after the airline stopped serving the airport in 2019.

Sun Country does currently fly to Newark (EWR) which serves New York, so the carrier’s passengers will have access to two airports in the largest US market.

Also on April 13, the airline will launch 2X-weekly service to Atlantic City (ACY) in southern New Jersey. From May 4, 2023, the carrier will add 2X-weekly service from MSP to both Louisville (SDF) in Kentucky and Columbus (CMH) in Ohio.

From May 5, Sun Country will launch MSP-Detroit (DTW) flights and resume service between MSP and Milwaukee (MKE) in Wisconsin. The DTW route will be flown 2X-weekly through May 26 and then become a 4X-weekly route service from May 29. The MSP-MKE route, suspended during the pandemic, will be operated 2X-weekly.

From May 19, Sun Country will commence 2X-weekly service from MSP to Richmond (RIC) in Virginia. From May 22, it will restart service between Minneapolis and St. Louis (STL) in Missouri that had been suspended during the pandemic. The MSP-STL route will be flown 2X-weekly.

From May 26, Sun Country will open 2X-weekly service from MSP to Omaha (OMA) in Nebraska and on May 29 will begin flying from MSP to Kansas City (MCI) in Missouri, also 2X-weekly.

June will see four more 2X-weekly routes launched from MSP: Wilmington (ILM) in Delaware from June 1; Colorado Springs (COS) in Colorado from June 8; Traverse City (TVC) in Missouri from June 16; and Rapid City (RAP) in South Dakota from June 19.

MSP CEO Brian Ryks said Sun Country’s added 2023 routes mark “one of the single largest route network expansions at MSP.” He noted that Atlantic City, Colorado Springs and Wilmington will be completely new destinations for the airport. “Sun Country’s expanded schedule demonstrates that domestic and leisure travel demand remain strong and promising in 2023 as the overall recovery in air travel continues,” Ryks said in a statement.

Sun Country chief revenue officer Grant Whitney said: “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.”

He added that the carrier will increase aircraft utilization by aligning flight schedules so its 737s can also be deployed in its charter business, including flights carrying Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. “New service to Charlotte, Columbus, Kansas City and St. Louis will coordinate with our Major League Soccer charter service,” Ryks said. “New service to Atlantic City will support our casino charter customers.”

Sun Country’s summer 2023 season network will span 120 routes and 90 airports.

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.