Sun Country Airlines announced the addition of 5 new routes from Portland International Airport, sparking fierce competition with Portland-dominant carrier Alaska Airlines. The routes will include a mix of seasonal flights set to begin in November 2018 and compete with other mainline and low-cost carriers. Sun Country will launch direct, nonstop flights to Honolulu, Las Vegas, Reno/Tahoe, Palm Springs, and Phoenix using their fleet of Boeing 737-700/-800 aircraft. Flights will be operated by four-weekly services, with exceptions being Palm Springs and Reno/Tahoe which will operate on a bi-weekly basis.
Airlines competing with Sun Country on the new routes will include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and fellow Minneapolis hometown carrier Delta Air Lines. The addition of the Portland routes follows Sun Country’s massive expansion as it continues to reinvent itself as both a leisure and ultra-low-cost carrier.
Portland has long-since been dominated by Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, with 55 year-round and seasonal destinations being served by the airline. * The move into Portland by Sun Country does not come as a surprise to many industry experts as the airline launched its Portland-Orlando nonstop on June 14, following an announcement made by the Minneapolis-based carrier back in Spring 2018. Sun Country’s route additions to the Portland market also comes just one-day after its route additions in the Midwest and East Coast. Flights to Madison, WI; and St. Louis, MO; will commence in Fall 2018.
Among the massive hype and excitement over the Portland route additions were statements made by industry experts. “There’s a good traffic and revenue history in Portland,” said airline analyst Bob Mann. “It’s like many Upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest interior markets in that it is heavily leisure-oriented in the offseason.”
“We’re excited to grow our network, and to bring Sun Country’s affordable airfare and great customer service to new cities,” said Jude Bricker, President and CEO of Sun Country Airlines. “We have a lot of runway at Sun Country and the growth will help us build a healthy company for our employees and our community.”
The routes were announced in conjunction with a flash-sale for holiday flights, with some flights being advertised as low as USD $59 one-way.
Sun Country is showing the following schedule for the new Portland flights:
Honolulu: Begins November 14, 2018 (Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday)
PDX-HNL: SY791 10:00 AM – 1:50 PM
HNL-PDX: SY792 3:20 PM – 10:50 PM
Palm Springs: Begins November 1, 2018 (Thursday, Sunday)
PDX-PSP: SY691 2:35 PM – 4:50 PM
PSP-PDX: SY692 5:45 PM – 8:10 PM
Las Vegas: Begins November 1, 2018 (Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Monday)
PDX-LAS: SY683 8:25 AM – 10:30 AM
LAS-PDX: SY684 11:25 AM – 1:40 PM
Phoenix: Begins November 14, 2018 (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Monday)
PDX-PHX: SY685 7:00 AM – 10:30 AM
PHX-PDX: SY686 11:25 AM – 1:05 PM
Reno/Tahoe: Begins November 16, 2018 (Friday, Monday)
PDX-RNO: SY687 2:05 PM – 3:25 PM
RNO-PDX: SY688 4:20 PM – 5:45 PM
*Alaska Airlines currently serves 57 destinations from its Portland-hub but will soon fall to 55 destinations following the termination of both Bellingham and Tri-Cities on August 25, 2018.