Sun Country Airlines is launching 15 additional seasonal routes from its Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) hub starting next spring, including nonstop flights to brand-new locations like Atlantic City (ACY), Colorado Springs (COS), and Wilmington (ILM).
Sun Country unveiled its massive 2023 expansion on its website on Tuesday, advertising and selling fares as low as $38 each way on each of these new routes – though they weren't immediately available through Google Flights as of publication. Ishrion Aviation scooped the bulk of these new routes on Monday.
All these new routes are seasonal, currently set to operate until Sept. 4. And as is the case with nearly all Sun Country routes, they won't operate daily but will fly just a few times a week. Here's the full list, each running twice-a-week frequencies unless otherwise noted:
- Atlantic City (ACY) starts May 1
- Charlotte (CLT) starting April 13
- Colorado Springs (COS) begins June 8
- Columbus (CMH) commences May 4
- Detroit (DTW) starts May 5, increasing to four flights a week on June 1
- Kansas City (MCI) starting May 29
- Louisville (SDF) starting May 4
- Milwaukee (MKE) begins May 5
- New York City (JFK) restarts four flights a week starting April 13
- Omaha (OMA) starting May 26
- Rapid City (RAP) begins June 19
- Richmond (RIC) starting May 19
- Traverse City (TVC) gets underway June 16
- Wilmington (ILM) starting June 1
It's the latest major expansion for Minnesota's rapidly growing low-cost carrier. After a pandemic setback, the airline went public, funneling an infusion of cash into doubling down on flights from its Minneapolis hub.
In a news release, executives from the airline said their route expansion dovetails with existing cargo routes flying for Amazon or charter airline operations, including for Major League Soccer teams. The chief executive of the Minneapolis airport called it “one of the single largest route network expansions at MSP.”
“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,” Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, said in a statement.
One-way fares on these new routes start as low as just $38. But thanks to its often-maligned transition to a low-cost carrier, there's more to these fares once you add in fees for seat selection and Sun Country baggage fees, starting at $30 each way for a checked bag or a carry on.
Calling each of these routes brand new isn't quite right, either. The Minnesota-based airline previously flew nonstop to New York City (JFK) but stopped service in 2019. Flights to St. Louis (STL) and Milwaukee (MKE) are restarting after Sun Country hit pause during the pandemic.
New or old, these routes won't sit well with Delta and its carefully guarded market share of flights out Minneapolis. Sun Country will go head to head with Delta to 10 of these cities, including prized Delta hub-to-hub routes like Detroit and New York City.
Yet Sun Country's route expansion features some never-before-seen nonstop destinations rom Minneapolis. Atlantic City (ACY) is one of them: The old casino town is also the most popular way to fly to the Jersey shore. Flights start at $68 each way, operating on Mondays and Fridays through Sept. 4.
Another newcomer is the nonstop route to Colorado Springs (COS) from Minneapolis. The Southern Colorado town in the shadow of Pikes Peak is a perfect side door into some of the finest mountains in the country and a perfect leisure destination for Sun Country to target. The Colorado Springs route will operate on Sundays and Thursdays through Sept. 4.
Finally, the new route to Wilmington, North Carolina (ILM) is also a newcomer to Minneapolis, offering flyers a straight shot to the Atlantic Coast. Wilmington is directly in between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It's a sneaky beach destination that isn't top of mind for most travelers, but offers a really good value for traveling families.
Sun Country is looking ahead to summer 2023 with a major expansion, launching 15 new (or returning) seasonal routes – including three brand new nonstop destinations from the Minneapolis-St. Paul market.
How will Delta respond? We'll have to wait and see.