Sun Country Airlines plans growth after stellar Nasdaq debut

Sun Country Airlines plans growth after stellar Nasdaq debut

News: Sun Country Airlines plans growth after stellar Nasdaq debut.

(Reuters) – US low-cost airline Sun Country Airlines Holdings Inc plans to expand its fleet, staff and network this year after its successful IPO on Wednesday, Chief Executive Jude Bricker told Reuters.

Sun Country, backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc, raised $ 218.2 million in the IPO and closed the first day on the Nasdaq at $ 36.38, 51.6% higher.

The debut comes as U.S. airlines emerge from a pandemic-triggered crisis that has opened doors for airlines like Sun Country to domestic vacation travel, which is recovering faster than business and international travel, especially as more people get COVID-19 vaccines receive.

“At the moment everything is flashing green,” Bricker said in an interview.

Having survived 2020 largely thanks to air freight services for Amazon.com Inc., Sun Country is now focusing on the passenger and charter business, with plans to grow its fleet to 50 aircraft by 31 by 2023.

Purchases could be made faster as used jet prices have fallen around 25% since the pandemic broke, CFO Dave Davis said.

Minnesota-based Sun Country, which bases its business model on mid-life Boeing Co 737 NGs and flights on peak travel days, added six new routes and nine new airports to its services in January.

The company is hiring about 10 new pilots a month and may be hiring more flight attendants before Thanksgiving as it adds aircraft to its fleet, Bricker said.

Founded in 1982 by Jim Olsen and a small group of pilots and flight attendants, Sun Country offers affordable flights and vacation packages to destinations in the United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. It was purchased by Apollo in 2017.

The company also plans to use a portion of the IPO proceeds to repay a loan it took out from the US government under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Sun Country rival Frontier Group Holdings Inc also filed for an IPO earlier this month.

Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank Securities, Goldman Sachs and Nomura were the underwriters for Sun Country’s offering.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago and Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Adaptation by Shailesh Kuber and Matthew Lewis

Original Source © Reuters

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