Twin Cities-based Sun Country Airlines announced Tuesday it will fly cargo for Amazon.com Inc. The major long-term cargo contract will be a first for Sun Country, an airline primarily focused on scheduled passenger service.
Amazon will sublease ten Boeing 737-800 converted freighter planes to Sun Country, bringing Sun Country’s Boeing 737-800 fleet up to 39 planes. Sun Country says the move will create new jobs in the Twin Cities. In 2020, the airline aims to hire 20 percent more pilots, along with additional maintenance and operations support staff members.
“Sun Country is on an incredible growth path, and our secret sauce lies in our ability to run an ever-changing schedule across different areas of our business, including scheduled service, charter and cargo,” said Sun Country CEO Jude Bricker in a news release. “While the past two years have been focused on scheduled service growth, this exciting opportunity gives us a chance to diversify even further.”
This marks the first time that Amazon has tapped a commercial passenger airline to carry cargo, according to the Star Tribune. Amazon’s leased plane network – known as Amazon Air – has worked withairlines Atlas Air, Air Transport Services Group, and Southern Air. Amazon looks to grow its leased fleet to 70 planes by 2021.
Sun Country’s flights for Amazon will begin in the second quarter of 2020.
“The addition of these Amazon aircraft will also bring about employment growth for Sun Country in the Twin Cities market. The airline will be hiring 20% more pilots in 2020, as well as additional maintenance and operations support staff.”