Jude Bricker

Jude Bricker

CEO

Sun Country Airlines

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Year

Description

2023: Jude Bricker arrived at MSP in 2017 to run the little airline that couldn’t, mostly. In and out of bankruptcy and shifting business models, Sun Country Airlines was vast unrealized potential. Bricker finally got Sun Country where he wanted it, capitalized and in growth mode following a 2021 IPO. Then Covid hit, and demand cratered. The airline pivoted to flying freight for Amazon; subsequently, leisure travel boomed, and now our hometown airline can’t schedule enough flights to satisfy demand. Sun Country is poised for growth in ’23, with 15 new destinations with MSP as the center of its universe. And with each passing year, it’s more Bricker’s vision, charisma, and nimble attitude that are the embodiment of the plucky carrier. “I love MSP,” he notes. “I’m a homer now.”

Return to TCB 100 for 2023

2021, Alumni: Following record operating results in 2019, the world expected more growth and an IPO from Sun Country. Instead, Covid-19 brought the industry to its knees. But between Jude Bricker’s strategic partnership with Amazon to fly packages, a market niche focused on leisure travel, and a lean, flexible operating structure, Sun Country is not among the industry’s basket cases. And an IPO is not out of the question in ’21.

2018, Make or Break: Plucked by owner Marty Davis from Allegiant Air, Sun Country’s new CEO is the first pilot of the airline with industry experience in many years. He is charged with improving the airline’s modest profitability to help it better withstand the next industry downturn. He plans to move the airline to an a la carte pricing model with fewer free frills. There are also stated plans to reduce the airline’s reliance on MSP-based flying, though that’s been tried before with limited success. Sun Country is rather singular in the aviation industry in size and market position and many wonder how it continues to exist. Marty Davis expects Jude Bricker to make that case on the balance sheet more emphatically.