3 Links I Love: Sun Country Cuts Costs, Paine Field Flies Commercial, Hawai’i Reacts to Southwest

Alaska Airlines, Links I Love, Southwest, Sun Country

Sun Country CEO gets very real on the airline’s quest for financial sustainabilityMinnPost
Here’s a good interview with Sun Country CEO Jude Bricker. Note at the end how Sun Country is focusing on cost reduction now. Unit revenue growth efforts will come later. So enjoy those cheap fares on marginal routes while you can… (via @mipo777)

A new era: Our first commercial flights launch at Paine FieldAlaska Airlines Blog
I figured it was worth noting that we have a new commercial airport in the US. Paine Field service started this week after a very, very long road.

Locals be like [Southwest to Hawai’i]reddit
I love to see the external reaction to things the airline industry does, and reddit is a pretty good place to take the temperature when it comes to bigger customer-facing announcements. These comments were in the Hawai’i subreddit, so it’s a local reaction to Southwest’s entry into the market.

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9 comments on “3 Links I Love: Sun Country Cuts Costs, Paine Field Flies Commercial, Hawai’i Reacts to Southwest

  1. The SY article is a puff piece and I get that it’s an article to a MN based audience but no comments about growing a customer base outside of MSP???

    I think it’s telling when he basically admits that he can’t win business customers and says he can only really win customers from F9 & NK and thinks he has a shot at that with the 4.6M people in the MSP catchment area. That’s fine but not a word about travelers that he abandoned in Mexico last year? Sure, a super cheap fare may make people forget bad publicity but the problem still seems to be over reliance on one mid-sized market.

    As one of the 4.6M people in the MSP catchment I haven’t flown SY since Bricker showed up. By his own words DL does a great job. Thanks for validating my decision on what airline to fly. I’ll be over at Terminal 1 Jude.

  2. Reddit as a barometer of local sentiment?!? You’re stretching for bad news. My experience of people in the islands has been very positive about Southwest’s bringing competition.

  3. I have a flight booked on Sun Country and noticed they don’t allow online check-in unless you buy a seat assignment, starting at $8 for the back 6 rows. That makes it seem like there’s one important caveat to Bricker’s stated drive for efficiency.

    I also wonder if they’re going to buy all new aircraft like other big ULCCs have done. So far they’re a beneficiary of Aeromexico’s downsizing with two of their 737s.

  4. Hi Cranky, Overall, I think Hawaii residents are expecting more from WN than they will actually get.  Once the feeding frenzy of introductory fares dies down I don’t think mainland fares will be much different.  When you are measuring the seat-mile costs of a MAX8 against an A330 there really isn’t a lot of room to undercut the market.  And WN has created a lot of excitement by touting their interisland service but it will simply be tag ends and not really competitive with HA.  Finally there was a front page article in the HNL paper that suggested WN could initiate service as far afield as SLC and to marginal markets like BOI, GEG and RNO.  All of that is most unlikely. 

    1. Jin – I think for the most part these are markets that are competing with other narrowbodies. As Hawaiian finishes taking delivery, I would think that these would transition into the smaller aircraft while the 330 stays in bigger markets. But really, the true comparison is you’re putting a MAX with 175 seats up against an Alaska 737-800 with 159 seats. Yes, Alaska has premium econ and first class, but if the goal is to get the lowest cost per seat mile, then Southwest should win. Does that mean fares will come down? If it helps Southwest to win against Alaska, then you bet it will.
      But if Alaska ever retreats, then I’m sure it’ll start to climb.

  5. Paine Field service – FINALLY! And it serves the places I fly to most.

    The terminal is within long walking distance from my house. I’ll probably have my spouse drop me off or grab a taxi.

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