Amazon – Sun Country partnership: why it works
Sun Country Airlines was a super low cost carrier that flew under most radars as it went from full service to ultra low cost. However, one of the deals that raised the profile of the airline was to fly Boeing 737-800s for Amazon in 2019. Simple Flying spoke with Sun Country CEO Jude Bricker to discuss the airline’s agreement with Amazon.
Why The Sun Country – Amazon Deal works
The partnership between Amazon and Sun Country has helped the e-commerce giant fuel its freight network. Mr. Bricker has stated the following about the freight transaction.
“[Amazon] had planes, so they needed the support of a carrier that could scale up very quickly and support the kind of growth profile they had. We were a big company, but not too big to allow us to give them the kind of service they needed. If they were going to other 737 operators like Alaska and Southwest, which were really big, they wouldn’t be able to give them the kind of attention that we give them. Therefore. it was a good marriage. The other thing is that we get very good reliability from the older 737-800s, which is their type of fleet. Their number one goal, as they told us, is to deliver products reliably, and that’s what we give.
Amazon has its own fleet of planes, but it’s not an airline. Instead, he prefers to work with other carriers to fly the cargo jets on their behalf to support their network. Amazon planes are mainly Boeing 767s.
Knowledge of aircraft
Sun Country may cut costs on the Amazon deal because it is already familiar with the jet. The company had a minimal learning curve to fly the jets for Amazon.
Additionally, the Boeing 737-800 is Sun Country’s preferred fleet type. The pilots it allocates for domestic services are also able to fly cargo jets. It also helps reduce crew training costs.
Sun Country does not want to launch its own brand of cargo
Some airlines offer passenger services alongside a freight brand. For example, Cathay Pacific carries passengers under its main brand and goods under the Cathay Pacific Cargo brand. Lufthansa has a similar model.
However, Sun Country is unwilling to go in that direction, as Mr Bricker said of a freight company:
“It’s very difficult. It’s actually a very concentrated industry with UPS, US Postal Service, FedEx. Now, Amazon. Air freight is really concentrated. So you can either be a charter operator in that space and be submissive. to the whims of those customers, or you can partner with someone, and that’s what we did.
Even among airlines that operate both cargo and passenger brands, the cargo operation is generally smaller than the operation of passengers in the number of fleets.
The worlds of passengers and cargo are also very different. Freight airlines generally fly fewer segments per day, while passenger companies try to fly their planes as much as possible. Additionally, cargo airlines typically use older planes.
Sun Country is a good partner for Amazon. It addresses Amazon concerns, has experience with Boeing 737s, and has a reputation for successfully flying older aircraft. In addition, for Amazon, the partnership allows it to continue its rapid growth in freight.