Sun Country Airlines is prepared to buy aircraft – even if it does not yet need them – to meet its goal of having 50 passenger aircraft by the end of 2023.
Speaking on the company’s second quarter 2021 earnings call on 29 July, Sun Country chief financial officer Dave Davis says the airline continues seeking used aircraft for acquisition. Sun Country has a “strong lead on…some interesting multi-aircraft deals”, he says.
“If there were some really attractive deals out there, particularly multi-aircraft opportunities, or really economic aircraft opportunities, we probably would bring those in – even if we didn’t have an immediate need for them,” Davis adds.
Values of some used jets have plummeted in recent years. Cirium estimates a 737-800 manufactured in 2008 is now worth about $12 million, down from $19.6 million two years ago.
Minneapolis, Minnesota-headquartered Sun Country operates 34 Boeing 737NG passenger aircraft, three more than at the end of the first quarter of 2021. The airline serves primarily leisure markets in the USA, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. It also operates charters, and cargo flights with 12 Amazon Prime Air-branded freighters.
Executives say the carrier could acquire about one aircraft monthly for the next two years to reach its target of 50 aircraft.
“We can bring in an aircraft that we might not necessarily have a scheduled service need for, and we can throw it into our ad-hoc charter pool,” Davis says. “We can use the aircraft to pick up some incremental charter revenue.”
“There’s not a lot of cost with stockpiling,” adds chief executive Jude Bricker.
On 28 July, Sun Country, which went public in April, reported a $51.8 million profit in the second quarter of 2021, on $149 million of revenue.