Sun Country Airlines and Frontier Airlines Battle it Out With New Cleveland Route

by Anthony Losanno
Sun Country Livery

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Sun Country Airlines is a low-cost carrier based in Minneapolis with focus cities in Dallas and Las Vegas. The airline flies to 94 destinations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. It had announced last month that it would add an additional 11 destinations to its network in 2024 (more here). That number became 12 today after Frontier Airlines added new service between Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE).
Sun Country countered this perceived intrusion at its hub by launching the route to start on the same day (May 17th) with an identical 4x weekly frequency. The service is seasonal with flights operating on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until Labor Day weekend.

Grant Whitney, Sun Country Airlines Chief Revenue Officer, said:

As the leading leisure airline in Minneapolis-St. Paul, we’re excited to add Cleveland to our expanding network. We have been wanting to serve Cleveland for some time, and our schedule for Cleveland will operate when our customers want to travel. In addition, our new customers from Cleveland will experience great customer service and affordability that differentiates us from other leisure airlines.”

United Plane

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) used to be a Continental Airlines hub. It remained one until after the merger with United Airlines and lost its hub status in 2014. By 2017, flights across other carriers exceeded what United had been offering when it was a hub. United still retained 23% marketshare through October 2023 with Frontier coming in second (16%), American Airlines (13%), Southwest (13%), and Spirit Airlines (10%) making up the rest of the notable service.

Anthony’s Take: It’s funny when airlines battle it out over routes. We saw Delta protect MSP from a new Aer Lingus flight and other examples in recent memory. In my opinion, it benefits passengers both in terms of choice and pressure on fares.

(Image Credits: Sun Country Airlines, United Airlines.)

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