Sun Country is adding and growing 18 routes in a major expansion that will help shape it into the Midwest’s hometown airline

Sun Country Airlines
A Sun Country Airlines Boeing 737-800.

  • Sun Country Airlines is growing its ultra-low-cost route network to more cities outside of Minneapolis.
  • A total of 18 routes are being added and expanded to sun destinations in the US and abroad.
  • Arizona and Florida are the main focus but more flights to the Caribbean are being added.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sun Country Airlines is marching across the Midwest with 18 new and expanding routes in the next year that were just announced on Tuesday.

Fresh from its conversion to an ultra-low-cost carrier, the Minneapolis-based airline is growing its point-to-point route network outside of the Twin Cities. The goal is to win more customers amid a wave of leisure travelers returning to the skies in 2021.

Sun Country has long been Minneapolis’ hometown airline but these latest route additions are a sign the airline is setting itself up to be the Midwest’s hometown airline. Smaller towns across the region lack non-stop flights to leisure destinations but now cities like Rochester, Minnesota, and Green Bay, Wisconsin will see more direct links to the sunnier locales.

Florida and Arizona destinations are among the new routes but the expansion will also see Sun Country fly deeper into the Caribbean with new flights to Turks and Caicos and Grand Cayman. As Sun Country is now a low-cost airline, flyers can expect cheap fares and extra fees for amenities like advanced seat assignments and carry-on baggage.

Read More: Spirit Airlines’ low-cost model puts it in the perfect spot to be the big winner of the pandemic, a Deutsche Bank analyst says

Most of Sun Country’s competition on the Minneapolis-originating routes will be from Delta Air Lines, which maintains a hub in the city acquired in a merger with Northwest Airlines. But routes from Minneapolis comprise less than half of the expansion, with Sun Country facing no direct competition on other routes.

Here’s where Sun Country Airlines is flying in the next year.

Between Minneapolis and Phoenix

Phoenix Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Minneapolis and Phoenix via Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport launch on November 24 with four-times-weekly weekender service on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The route to Phoenix’s secondary airport complements its existing route to the larger Sky Harbor International Airport.

No other airlines directly operate the route but Sun Country will have competition from Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines that operate the route from Sky Harbor International.

Between Minneapolis and Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman
Bozeman, Montana.

Flights between Minneapolis and Bozeman, Montana continue on December 16 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays. Bozeman has been growing in popularity during the pandemic as a year-round socially distant destination.

Delta will be Sun Country’s sole competition on the route.

Between Minneapolis and St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida.

Flights between Minneapolis and St. Petersburg, Florida launch on November 25 with four-times-weekly service on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is a smaller alternative to Tampa International Airport, just across the Old Tampa Bay, complementing Sun Country’s existing route to the city.

No other airlines directly operate the route but Delta, Spirit, Southwest, and Frontier Airlines fly non-stop to nearby Tampa.

Between Minneapolis and Punta Gorda, Florida

Punta Gorda Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida.

Flights between Minneapolis and Punta Gorda, Florida launch on December 10 with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Sundays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Minneapolis and George Town, Grand Cayman

grand cayman, cayman islands, shopping area
George Town, Grand Cayman.

Flights between Minneapolis and Grand Cayman launch on December 18 with twice-weekly service on Mondays and Fridays.

Delta will be Sun Country’s sole competition on the route.

Between Minneapolis and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

providenciales turks and caicos
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.

Flights between Minneapolis and Providenciales, Turks and Caicos launch on December 18 with once-weekly service on Saturdays only.

No other airlines directly operate the route

Between Duluth, Minnesota and Fort Myers, Florida

fort myers
Fort Myers, Florida.

Flights between Duluth, Minnesota and Fort Myers, Florida launch on December 17 with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Fridays.

No other airlines directly operate the route

Between Duluth, Minnesota and Phoenix

phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Duluth and Phoenix launch on December 17 with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Fridays.

No other airlines directly operate the route

Between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers Florida
Fort Myers, Florida.

Flights between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Fort Myers, Florida launch on December 16 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Phoenix

Phoenix Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Green Bay and Phoenix launch on December 17 with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Fridays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Madison, Wisconsin and Phoenix

phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Madison, Wisconsin and Phoenix launch on December 16 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

American will be Sun Country’s only competition on the route.

Between Milwaukee and Minneapolis

minneapolis minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Flights between Milwaukee and Minneapolis launch on August 26 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays. The route will help connect Milwaukeeans to Sun Country’s greater route network.

Delta will be Sun Country’s only competition on the route.

Between Milwaukee and Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico
Cancun, Mexico.

Flights between Milwaukee and Cancun, Mexico launch on December 18 with once-weekly service on Saturdays only.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Milwaukee and Las Vegas

Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada.

Flights between Milwaukee and Las Vegas launch on August 26 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

Frontier, Southwest, and Spirit will be Sun Country’s competition on the route.

Between Milwaukee and Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Meyers, Florida
Fort Myers, Florida.

Flights between Milwaukee and Fort Myers launch on December 15 with twice-weekly weekender service on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Frontier, Southwest, and United Airlines will be Sun Country’s competition on the route.

Between Milwaukee and Phoenix

arizona
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Milwaukee and Phoenix launch on December 16 with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

American and Southwest will be Sun Country’s competition on the route.

Between Rochester, Minnesota and Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers pier
Fort Myers, Florida.

Flights between Rochester, Minnesota and Fort Myers launch on February 3, 2022, with twice-weekly weekender service on Thursdays and Sundays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

Between Rochester, Minnesota and Phoenix

Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona.

Flights between Rochester and Phoenix launch on February 4, 2022, with twice-weekly weekender service on Mondays and Fridays.

No other airlines directly operate the route.

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Southwest Airlines just announced 3 brand-new destinations in a continued low-cost leisure route expansion

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737.

  • Southwest Airlines is adding three new destinations to its route map in 2021.
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Bellingham, Washington; and Eugene, Oregon are slated to see new flights.
  • Routes from each airport are still unknown but the first flights plan to launch by the summer. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Southwest Airlines on Monday announced plans to serve three new destinations across the US later this year.

The low-cost carrier will soon serve Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Bellingham, Washington; and Eugene, Oregon in yet another pandemic-era expansion that follows the addition of Bozeman, Montana and Destin, Florida announced last month. 

Myrtle Beach will be the first city to see new flights, with CEO Gary Kelly saying in a statement that the destination aims to serve summer travelers and golfers, in particular. Golf bags count as one of the two complimentary bags that Southwest flyers can check, with the airline coining “golf bags fly free” as a play on one of its classic slogans, “bags fly free.”

The coastal Carolinian city adds to Southwest’s existing chain of destinations on the southeast Atlantic shoreline. Savannah, Georgia and Miami were was added to Southwest’s network in 2020 and the Myrtle Beach addition gives the carrier coverage at nearly every major airport on the Atlantic coast from South Carolina to south Florida. 

Bellingham, closer to Vancouver, Canada than Seattle, will then see flight in the second half of 2021 as it serves a cross-border market. Canadians frequently drive across the US border to catch flights to save on the taxes levied on international flights by the US and Canadian governments. 

“Following the reopening of the Canadian border, we expect a return of the value-minded travelers who already drive to this alternative airport to escape high fares and taxes-and that’s very, very typical for Southwest destinations,” Kelly said.

The US-Canada border is currently closed for non-essential travel, a pandemic-era policy nearing its one-year anniversary, but it may be reopened by the time Southwest starts service. US and Canadian officials renew the policy on a monthly basis and the accelerated vaccine rollout in the US may encourage reopening talks. 

Southwest joins the likes of Washington state’s hometown airline Alaska Airlines and ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant Air in serving Bellingham. 

Eugene will only be Southwest’s second destination in the Beaver State behind Portland, surrounded by national forests and within driving distance from Oregon’s Pacific coast and Crater Lake National Park. Southwest won’t be alone in the city as American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Alaska, and Allegiant serve Eugene from cities around the US. 

Flights to Eugene are also slated for the second half of 2021. 

Routes have not yet been announced to any of the new cities but Southwest will likely offer service to nearby bases that offer connections across the country. For Bellingham and Eugene, that likely means flights to Denver, Dallas, Las Vegas, or Phoenix while Myrtle Beach might see service to Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, or Nashville, Tennessee. 

All routes will be flown by the airline’s Boeing 737 aircraft and will likely see the Boeing 737 Max. Southwest plans to resume flying the Max on March 11, the last airline in the US to do so behind American Airlines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines.

Two existing destinations – Steamboat Springs and Telluride in Colorado – will also have their seasonal flights extended through the summer. 

Read the original article on Business Insider