Sun Country to resume service to 11 cities
By Karren Mills
MINNEAPOLIS -- Sun Country Airlines said Wednesday it expects to finalize a deal with an investor group within a week and gradually add scheduled service to 11 cities.
The airline plans to schedule flights between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Las Vegas and Laughlin in Nevada, and between the Twin Cities and Pensacola, Orlando, Fort Myers and Miami in Florida.
In addition, Sun Country will operate flights between Laughlin and Denver, Seattle; San Jose, Calif.; and San Antonio, Texas.
"Today we are telling the public and travel agents that we are back. We are again offering customers a quality choice for air travel and are ready to welcome them back on board with us," said David Banmiller, Sun Country's president and chief executive.
Sun Country, based in Mendota Heights, has been for sale since November. After losing a reported $80 million competing head-to-head against Northwest Airlines, the nation's fourth-largest carrier, Sun Country ended most service on Dec. 7 and laid off most of its remaining staff of about 900 as it talked with potential investors.
On Jan. 3, Sun Country resumed limited service between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Laughlin on Thursdays and Sundays with guaranteed flying for Hobbit Travel of Minneapolis and Don Laughlin's Riverside Casino.
However, the airline was thrown into involuntary bankruptcy by creditors on Jan. 8. Sun Country has until Feb. 14 to respond to the petition, pending in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minneapolis. Spokeswoman Tammy Lee said the carrier expects to convert the petition to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy by then, which will enable Sun Country to operate and begin paying off its debt.
Under the new schedule, Sun Country will add flights on Monday and Friday between the Twin Cities and Laughlin. The Twin Cities-Pensacola service begins Feb. 10, with flights to other destinations to be added gradually between Feb. 27 and March 15.
None of the flights will be daily. The most frequent service will be between the Twin Cities and Las Vegas, operating five days a week.
"We've heard from thousands of customers and travel agents that they want Sun Country back in the market," Banmiller said. "We're responding and we're counting on increased public support as we resume operations."
The new schedule and pricing were being loaded into computer reservations systems and would be available for travel agents and consumers to begin booking Thursday. Sun Country's reservations center also will be open for telephone reservations.
Sun Country: http://www.suncountry.com