Sun Country Airlines soon will fly Twin Cities passengers to California’s wine country — the only carrier to offer nonstop service on the route.
The Eagan-based airline announced plans for Thursday service between Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport during northern California’s harvest season. The weekly flight will run from Aug. 24 through Dec. 3.
Sun Country also said it will offer seasonal service between MSP and Austin, Texas, from Aug. 31 through Dec. 10 on a weekly basis.
Only three airlines — American, Allegiant and Alaska — now fly to and from Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif.
United Airlines soon will offer daily service from the Sonoma County Airport to San Francisco International Airport 75 miles away.
Minneapolis-St. Paul is by far the Sonoma airport’s farthest nonstop destination. It now offers flights to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Portland, Seattle and Phoenix.
Jon Stout, manager at Sonoma County Airport, said Minnesota is one of the region’s largest visitor markets.
“We are very excited about this partnership with Sun Country and the opportunity it presents for connecting passengers with a great airline,” Stout said in a statement. “With a long list of offerings, it will be great weekend getaway to experience the best of wine country.”
The airline specializes in vacation packages and has a focus on leisure travelers.
Sun Country cited Austin’s music scene and cultural cuisine as key attractions to the central Texas city.
A Texas developer and operator, LoneStar Airport Holdings LLC, recently spent $12 million to renovate a former military outpost on the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport grounds.
Now called the South Terminal, the expansion allows for new entrants to the market, like Sun Country.
The retro terminal is set to open next month. It has three gates, and passengers will board from ground level (think tarmac stairs).
“We are thrilled to give our customers an opportunity to visit Austin and experience its thriving music, arts, cuisine and culture,” Sun Country Chief Executive Zarir Erani said in a statement. “We look forward to flying into the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport as our travelers visit the capital of the Lone Star state.”