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Thread: SunCountry Transatlantic 737 service?

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Default SunCountry Transatlantic 737 service?

    I just received an email that SunCountry Airlines is now flying to London Stanstead. They have an all 737-800NG fleet. The flight stops in Gander and then does the hop across the pond, 2061 nm. SunCountry states that their aircraft have a maximum range of 2600 nm. The 737NG now has a 180 ETOPS with rated operators. Still, this is the first transatlantic 737 service I've known about. Are other operators doing this?

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    Photo Screener RingwaySam's Avatar
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    Didn't Astraeus used to fly London Gatwick to St. Johns with there 737-700s?

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    Privatair.

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    Photo Screener RingwaySam's Avatar
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    Privatair is a BBJ, plenty of BBJs cross the pond each day.

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    Plenty of passenger 737 non-scheduled and charter services have been flown across the Atlantic over the years, but I can't immediately think of any scheduled traffic, now or in the past. However, there have been and still are scheduled A319 and A318 services across the Atlantic. I am not sure what the big deal is. This is, however, a slightly adventurous move for Sun Country given the state of their finances in recent years.

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    Member Shanwick's Avatar
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    Fly Globespan used to use 738's from Knock(Ireland)to Canada and Miami Air operate quiet a lot across the pond with their 737`s all be it with a stop in KEF.
    Continental gave serious consideration a couple of years ago to using 738's EWR-SNN.
    Just as a foot note Ryanair 738's fly non stop BFI-DUB on delivery(9+hours)
    ....all be it with just two Ryanair boys up the front


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    Senior Member AA 1818's Avatar
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    Firstly - the routes to STN are likely to utilisize wet-leased aircraft (that are of a greater range and therefore of a larger capacity). Unless there is a fuel stop (that we are unaware of), the other option for the airline is to use the 737 on the route (with a severly restricted load), which would be difficult to maintain a decent profit on.

    While other airlines have toyed with the idea of using 737s trans-Atlantically, they have never seen successfull and long-terms usages as scheduled passenger services (with the exceptions being modified 737s in all-business class cabins a la Privatair, Miami Air, et al). Once again, in order to make these routes work logistically, you have to sacrifice loads. Much to the dismay of SunCountry - their passengers are unlikely to pay the fares necessary to make that route work.

    Perhaps there are some 757s or 767s that they are in the process of wet-leasing, that we are not privy to information about.
    Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AA 1818 View Post
    Firstly - the routes to STN are likely to utilisize wet-leased aircraft (that are of a greater range and therefore of a larger capacity). Unless there is a fuel stop (that we are unaware of), the other option for the airline is to use the 737 on the route (with a severly restricted load), which would be difficult to maintain a decent profit on.
    If you were to read the first post in the thread, you will see that the service will stop in Gander. They will use their own 737-800s, and over the two sectors involved they should be able to take a regular load.

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    Member Shanwick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AA 1818 View Post
    Unless there is a fuel stop (that we are unaware of)
    There is... Gander as stated in Evans original post.
    Another Trans Atalntic 737 I forgot about was Primeras 737-800 that used to do Dublin to Dominican Republic via Halifax...great fun I would say



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    Senior Member TeeVee's Avatar
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    not hijacking here but it would appear to be appropriate given the general gist of this thread.

    why do you suppose airlines are trying to shoehorn short-medium range aircraft into long routes? i assume that on trans-oceanic routes, cargo makes up a substantial portion of the revenue on pax flights. unless i'm wrong (and correct me if i am) ditching wide bodies for narrow and short appears to make no sense. hell, even main line carriers like AA have converted some 757's into trans-atlantic birds for JFK-CDG.

    am i missing something here?

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    Senior Member AA 1818's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HalcyonDays View Post
    If you were to read the first post in the thread, you will see that the service will stop in Gander. They will use their own 737-800s, and over the two sectors involved they should be able to take a regular load.
    I apologize for my error.
    Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.

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    Senior Member AA 1818's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeeVee View Post
    not hijacking here but it would appear to be appropriate given the general gist of this thread.

    why do you suppose airlines are trying to shoehorn short-medium range aircraft into long routes? i assume that on trans-oceanic routes, cargo makes up a substantial portion of the revenue on pax flights. unless i'm wrong (and correct me if i am) ditching wide bodies for narrow and short appears to make no sense. hell, even main line carriers like AA have converted some 757's into trans-atlantic birds for JFK-CDG.

    am i missing something here?
    Alot of the times, the smaller aircraft is only meant to introduce the airline to a market (and vice-versa), the eventual hope being that with a greater customer base, the need will be created for larger equipment.

    As for AA's use of the 757s on the JFK-CDG routes, perhaps, those are just to suppliment already existing demand on the route. In the event of heavy cargo, perhaps said cargo could be shifted to the 767s that usually do the route (alongside the 757), and the 757 allows a widebody that can be beter utilisized elsewhere, to be freed. The 757 has the range, and excess cargo could be shifted elsewhere.
    Whatever is necessary, is never unwise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TeeVee View Post
    not hijacking here but it would appear to be appropriate given the general gist of this thread.

    why do you suppose airlines are trying to shoehorn short-medium range aircraft into long routes? i assume that on trans-oceanic routes, cargo makes up a substantial portion of the revenue on pax flights. unless i'm wrong (and correct me if i am) ditching wide bodies for narrow and short appears to make no sense. hell, even main line carriers like AA have converted some 757's into trans-atlantic birds for JFK-CDG.

    am i missing something here?
    It can make a great deal of sense. Some airlines are nowadays simply trying to use their assets more creatively or more efficiently. The newer 737/A32x machines have more flexibility and can often be operated over sectors of 300 or 3000 miles. They and their crews have also been granted standard ETOPS tickets in recent years, similar to the wide bodies. In other cases, especially with the growth of 757s across the Atlantic, airlines can tap into thinner lighter routes and still make a dime or two. On non-scheduled flights, I doubt there's much cargo custom, nor do I imagine there will be much on this Sun Country operation.

    I think there's less to all this than meets the eye. Maybe people get tweaked by the fact that it's across the Atlantic, but go the other way and you simply have a 3000 mile US coast-to-coast flight, where you'll find dozens of non-stop 737s and A320s every day.

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    Aloha was flying YVR-PHNL direct with thier 737 aircraft. 2700 miles.
    Who's on first?..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by canair67 View Post
    Aloha was flying YVR-PHNL direct with thier 737 aircraft. 2700 miles.
    I was also thinking about that as well. No-one seems to worry that the over-water distance to Hawaii is greater than many typical actual over-water distances across the North Atlantic, eg. Newfoundland to Ireland (a very common routing for dozens of daily flights) is a mere 2,000 miles.

    There was also a time when Continental flew 737s across the Pacific (with several stops) as far as Cairns.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Yeah, I don't get it. SunCountry is advertising the MSP-STN trip as if it is a great deal starting at $399 each way. That doesn't include $20 for the first checked bag on a transatlantic flight, or tax, so the cheapest I could find with one checked bag is $976 minimum round trip. Ok, for that you get stuffed in a single-aisle cabin and enjoy the hassle of a 10.5 hour overnight flight with a guaranteed technical stopover. No good if you plan to get some sleep. And you end up at Stanstead and have to arrange transport to LHR for most connections.

    Meanwhile, Delta is flying MSP-LHR non-stop on a spacious 767-400 for $831 tax included, and the first checked bag is free. And that's an 8.25 hour flight.

    It's kind of a no-brainer.

    I wonder if the economics simply can't compete on this route with a low payload aircraft. Maybe this is some kind of loss-leader strategy, but I can't see how it could work. Maybe the biz class is a better deal...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Yeah, I don't get it. SunCountry is advertising the MSP-STN trip as if it is a great deal starting at $399 each way. That doesn't include $20 for the first checked bag on a transatlantic flight, or tax, so the cheapest I could find with one checked bag is $976 minimum round trip. Ok, for that you get stuffed in a single-aisle cabin and enjoy the hassle of a 10.5 hour overnight flight with a guaranteed technical stopover. No good if you plan to get some sleep. And you end up at Stanstead and have to arrange transport to LHR for most connections.

    Meanwhile, Delta is flying MSP-LHR non-stop on a spacious 767-400 for $831 tax included, and the first checked bag is free. And that's an 8.25 hour flight.

    It's kind of a no-brainer.

    I wonder if the economics simply can't compete on this route with a low payload aircraft. Maybe this is some kind of loss-leader strategy, but I can't see how it could work. Maybe the biz class is a better deal...
    I doubt very much if customers on this service will be wanting to travel on to connections at Heathrow. My guess is that most of them are what we used to call VFR traffic - that's not Visual Flight Rules, but the other VFR, ie. Visiting Friends and Relatives. There is a definite seasonal summer market between Minneapolis and the UK. That's not to say this service will work economically, as I hinted in a post above, given Sun Country's record, but it certainly does work conceptually.

    Also, surely it's incorrect to call the 737 a low-payload aircraft. My guess is that the flights will be pretty full - so you would have a fairly full payload. A full payload on a 737 is a different quantity from a full payload on a 777 after all. That's not to say the yield on the service will be good, but that's different from payload/load factor. There's nothing spacious about a 767-400 when it has a 90-100% load factor, I can assure you.

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    KLM uses a 737-700 between EHAM and KIAD. The flights I have seen are KLM663 and KLM664. I see on FlightAware that they use either the B737/W or B737/Q.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rinoltz View Post
    KLM uses a 737-700 between EHAM and KIAD. The flights I have seen are KLM663 and KLM664. I see on FlightAware that they use either the B737/W or B737/Q.
    That's actually EHAM - KIAH! Amsterdam to Houston! And apparently non-stop. That is a 4356nm trip! The only 737 I know that can swing that is the ER. Does KLM fly the 737-7ER?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    That's actually EHAM - KIAH! Amsterdam to Houston! And apparently non-stop. That is a 4356nm trip! The only 737 I know that can swing that is the ER. Does KLM fly the 737-7ER?
    Yep, it sure is KIAH. Just realized I typed that wrong.

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