In 1982, a group of pilots and flight attendants from the defunct Braniff International banded together to form their own airline with the help of businessmen in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. This group named their venture Sun Country Airlines. They partnered with locally based MLT Vacations and exclusively operated charter flights, initially flying from Sioux Falls to Las Vegas.
Sun Country had 33 employees that acted as jacks-of-all-trades in the early days. Flight attendants prepared meals and stocked beverages while pilots updated manuals and assisted in catering. They were a tight-knit bunch who loved putting in the required time to help their company succeed. The fruits of their labor appeared in the first year, producing profits after only six weeks in the air!
Sun Country experienced the ups and downs that accompany both growth and the airline industry over the next few years. On June 1, 1999 the airline had doubled its fleet and workforce as well as became a scheduled carrier. Between the price wars and terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Sun Country temporarily paused scheduled operations in late December 2001. Shortly thereafter, a group of investors purchased Sun Country and resumed flying in early 2002.
Since July of 2011, the airline has been owned by members of the Davis family of Minnesota, who are also owners of Cambria a manufacturer of premium countertops.
Always a Minnesota favorite, Sun Country has been recognized for the top notch service provided to passengers by being ranked in the Top Ten Domestic Airlines lists by both Travel+Leisure for five years in a row and Condé Nast Travelers three years in a row. – less