Sun Country Boeing 737-800 (N807SY) taken at SEA.
The rumors surrounding Sun Country’s buy-out have been circulating for quite sometime. I have heard that Delta, AirTran or Southwest might be good candidates for a take over. Out of those three, Southwest seems the most likely.
I spoke with representatives from all three rumored buyers and they each had their own unique way of telling me, “no comment.” That was totally expected, since either they honestly have no interest or this is a hot topic and one of them is not ready to let the cat out of the bag. I have spent the last few days trying to get a hold of someone at Sun Country, but with no success. Either this is a topic they want to avoid or they aren’t so keen talking to bloggers.
Sun Country is based at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), which Southwest has recently started to fly into. This being a new market, presumably Southwest would want to be able to grow rapidly. With the recent merger of Delta and Northwest (which was based at MSP), there could be Northwest loyalists who aren’t wanting to start flying Delta and looking for a new airline to LUV.
There is also fleet similarities between Sun Country and Southwest. Sun Country flies Boeing 737-700 and -800’s, while Southwest is just steps away from starting to fly the larger -800 among other versions of the 737. Southwest has been looking at flying internationally and taking over Sun Country would allow them to quickly start. Since Southwest is installing satellite based ROW 44 internet, they would have an advantage over other low cost carriers that fly internationally.
Sun Country recently came out of bankruptcy by creating a viable business plan. Although the airline publicly states they feel confident with their future, this would be a good time for another airline to take them over. Sun Country has announced they will be purchasing new aircraft, expanding routes and hiring 100 new employees. That confidence is good for Sun Country’s future and should make them a better value for possible buyers.
Southwest might also want Sun Country to make their books look better. Since Sun Country flies mostly to leisure travel destinations from the very cold MSP, the first quarter is their best. However, the first quarter is Southwest’s weakest. Combining the two is like completing a financial puzzle.
So most things look like a great match. However, there are always two sides to a story and I spoke with Steven Frischling, who writes the blog Flying With Fish, and he sees some issue with this match up. First, purchasing Sun Country wouldn’t mean that Southwest would be getting their aircraft, “While many look at Sun Country’s fleet as compatible with Southwest Airlines, especially with Southwest announcing that they are exploring the 737-800, Sun Country does not own its fleet. All of its 737-700s & -800s appear to be leased. So a purchase of Sun Country would not include aircraft,” he explained.
He also points out that one of the major reasons airlines will buy out another airline is to get slots at a particular airport. However, slots are not that difficult to get at MSP and Southwest wouldn’t need to buy an airline to increase flights. “Sometimes buying an airline for landing slots, fleet, routes or gates makes sense,” Frischling stated. “While Southwest Airlines is changing how it does business, Sun Country offers Southwest Airlines nothing. The airline is not even a competitor.”
So, this might only be a rumor and nothing will come of it, but it is always fun to think about. The old Southwest probably wouldn’t have any interest in Sun Country, but things have been changing over at the Dallas based airline. Will the new Southwest look to take over Sun Country and expand internationally? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.
* Ben Mutzabaugh with USA Today
* Terry Maxton with Airline Biz Blog
The old and new combined livery for Continental and United Airlines
When United and Continental announced their new combined livery, a lot of people were not happy about the font used for “United.” Well, they must have heard, b/c they have changed the font and I like it!
From their merger site: “The new logo displays the combined company’s brand name in capital letters (UNITED) in a custom sans-serif font, joined with the global mark which has represented Continental’s brand image since 1991.”
This doesn’t help those that will miss the United tulip, but I think this is a good compromise for both brands.
A United/Continental possible livery on a Boeing 747-400
A lot of talk about United Airlines and the Continental merger. There are quite a few people that aren’t too happy with the new combined livery of the new United Airlines. A while back I found a site that allows people share their photoshopped liveries and a few interesting ones have popped up for a combined Continental and United Airlines livery.
Be sure to check out their site for other possible combinations.
Image: Jetabout via Aviation-Designs.net
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United Airline's new livery and logo (does it look familiar?)
While I was out of town last week I was trying to keep up on the United Airlines and Continental Airlines merger. The news is pretty old right now, so I am not going re-hash all the talk about it [check Google News for the stories if you haven’t heard]. When hearing about the merger one of the things I thought about was the combined livery.
I have not been a fan of United’s most recent livery. The blue and white looked aged when it first came out. They have also been very slow to change over from their last livery (which I like better) to the newest one. While flying Continental recently, I realized how clean their livery looks. The blue and gold. Simple, classy and timeless.
I was really happy to see that with the merger, the United name will survive, but so will the Continental livery. The “Continental” name will be replaced with “United”, but the golden globe will stick around. I will miss the “U” from United Airlines, but overall, I think this is a very wise idea. Not only will part of Continental still survive the merger, but United will end up with a better livery.
My main fear is it will take forever for United and Continental to share the same livery, I just hope that is not the case.
Check out their merger website for the most up-to-date information.
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A United Airlines A320-200 lands while a Continental Boeing 737 is in the background.
Back home! It is a good feeling. One downside is I have a week’s worth of stories to catch up on, since I had limited internet access. I figured I would share some of the more interesting stories I found with you, in case you missed them too!
* Aeromexico is cutting flights after the new Arizona immigration reform, via BlueTales.
* United Airlines celebrates 80 years of having flight attendants, via Seattle PI.
* Airlines collected $7.8billion in fees last year. Yes, that is billion and yes, they will not be going away anytime soon, via Today in the Sky.
* The Boeing 787 Dreamliner lands at San Antonio for additional testing, via Randy’s Journal.
* United Airlines and Continental Airlines decide to merge, via Things in the Sky.
* Comparison how the new UAL/CO merger stacks up to its competition, via Airline Biz Blog.
* UAL/CO merger compared to TWA merger, via AviationWeek.
* Continental CEO apologizes for calling US Airways the ,”ugly girl,” via Today in the Sky.
* Monitor what your kids are watching, while flying, via Runway Girl.
* Video re-creation of the Turkish Airlines crash in Amsterdam last year, via Flight Global.
Anything else interesting happen that I might have missed?
Image: Rich Snyder
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