For Immediate Release
Wendy Williams Blackshaw
Vice President of Marketing
Sun Country meets with state legislators to discuss status of airline
Launches “Hometown Airline” Campaign at Terminal Event
Minneapolis/St. Paul – June 18, 2008 — Executives of Sun Country Airlines and Union members today met with a group of Minnesota legislators and staffers to provide them an update on Sun Country’s status and initiate discussions about financial relief due to record fuel prices in the form of fee abatements, loans or other non-cash support initiatives. Sun Country officials presented an economic impact study highlighting a $225 million annual savings the airline provided to Minnesota in 2007.
“As the second largest carrier in the market, Sun Country has positively impacted Minnesota’s economy through our $63 million in local vendor support, by providing 1000 jobs to the state and by offering lower fares that force pricing discipline in the marketplace,” said Stan Gadek, Chief Executive Officer of Sun Country. “Long-range, we expect to build on our base here even more, especially through expansion of our scheduled service. Our vision is to provide Minnesotans with additional jobs, expanded travel options and continue to provide the great hometown service Sun Country is famous for. ”
During Wednesday’s meeting, Sun Country also previewed their new “Hometown Airline” marketing campaign launching tomorrow, June 19, with an “Ice Cream Social” at the Humphrey terminal for incoming and outbound passengers. The campaign highlights the airline’s new positioning and will be communicated through a grassroots presence at high profile Minnesota events throughout the summer as well as billboards and radio.
Sun Country, owned by Minnesota-based Petters Group Worldwide, carried 1.6 million passengers in 2007 to 30 year round and seasonal destinations in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean. The airline has earned numerous honors for its service quality and is renowned for low fares that help temper pricing on key routes.
The current fuel price crisis, however, has stressed the airline despite company wide wage reductions, layoffs, vendor savings and development of new sources of revenue. Sun Country expects fuel costs to exceed forecast by $33 million or 37%. Every $5 increase in the price of oil increases Sun Country’s annual fuel bill by $4 million.
“This is a situation that we have managed creatively so far with cutbacks, additional charter flying and capital infusions from our ownership, but we can’t do it indefinitely,” said Stan Gadek, Chief Executive Officer of Sun Country. We believe it is in the best interest of Minnesota to help us sustain operations through this turbulent time and maintain a locally owned and operated airline. Customers tell us every day — both verbally and by buying our tickets — that they understand and appreciate the savings and quality service we bring them. We can continue doing that into the future — with some relief over the next 24 months.”
Sun Country, which features Minnesota products and musicians in flight, will be serving product produced by Minnesota companies, Blue Bunny Ice Cream and Wuollet’s at the event on June 19th at the Humphrey Terminal.
INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE WITH CEO STAN GADEK DURING EVENT; 2PM to 3PM
To schedule, please call Wendy Williams Blackshaw @ 612-239-3941
About Sun Country
Sun Country Airlines, privately held by Petters Group Worldwide, is based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Sun Country, which has earned a reputation for offering world class service at an affordable price, recently was named to the top 10 lists of domestic airlines in both Travel+Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler. The airline flies to popular destinations in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean including Orlando, Los Angeles, Cancun, Phoenix and Orlando . For a complete list of destinations and more information, please visit www.SunCountry.com.
About Petters Group Worldwide
Petters Group Worldwide is a privately held company with investments in a dynamic collection of over 60 companies around the world. As an active manager, Petters Group supports these organizations by achieving investment synergies with services, financing and leveraging resources to support growth. The core areas of focus for Petters Group are merchandising/sourcing/brand management, emerging technologies, media and marketing, hospitality and entertainment, aviation, real estate and investment capital.