In early summer 2019, budget airline Sun Country is scheduled to launch three new Portland routes: to Nashville, San Antonio, and St. Louis.

Image: Chris Broll

Since its June 2017 debut at PDX International Airport, Sun Country Airlines has offered Portlanders nonstop flights to a smattering of mostly warm-weather destinations, including Palm Springs, Honolulu, and Las Vegas.

Now, the Minneapolis-based budget airline is launching three new PDX summer routes starting in May/June: to Nashville, San Antonio, and St. Louis. (Of the three new PDX routes, the only current direct competition is Southwest's nonstop route to St. Louis.)

The new Sun Country flights were announced on January 8, and are part of a nationwide company expansion that follows its 2017 acquisition (price undisclosed) by private equity firm Apollo Global Management. The airline's previous owners, Mitch and Marty Davis—wealthy dairy and quartz tycoons from Minneapolis—had obtained Sun Country at a 2011 bankruptcy auction for $34 million.  

The three Portland-based flights were announced alongside 16 other nonstop routes rolling out elsewhere in the nation. Sun Country CEO and president Jude Bricker has said the airline plans to rapidly expand seasonal routes to vacation destinations. Bricker, whose background in no-frills flying comes from an 11-year stint with Allegiant Air, is trimming costs through strategies that include removing business-class sections and slimming down seats to fit more passengers. Carry-ons will cost you $30 (or $40 at the airport). And seat assignments? Also not free. Le sigh.

For Portland travelers, then, Sun Country is banking on the appeal of its price points. As of press time, a late-spring round trip from PDX to any of the three new destinations starts around $200. Here’s the skinny on when these new flights take off:

Nashville (BNA)

Will fly 2 times weekly starting May 2 (Thursday and Sunday), then 4 times weekly (adding Monday and Friday) starting June 7 

San Antonio (SAT)

Will fly 4 times weekly starting June 5 (Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday)

St. Louis (STL)

Will fly 2 times weekly starting June 7 (Monday and Friday)

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