Sun Country Airlines, the largest of the three airlines currently operating at the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport, has been sold to Apollo Global Management, an investment firm in New York City.
Sun Country, based in Minnesota, currently flies about 2.5 million passengers per year to leisure destinations across the U.S. and internationally and specializes in flying from cold weather locales to warm weather destinations.
Sun Country currently operates charters and scheduled charters for Riverside Resort and Harrah’s Laughlin. Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino started a charter flight program with Sun Country Airlines in January 2002.
LBIA doesn’t expect any changes as a result of the sale, said Jeremy Keating, airport director.
“Charters accounted for roughly 2,200 landings and takeoffs during (Calendar Year) 2016,” Keating said. “Between Sun Country Airlines and Elite Airways, about 220,000 passengers flew in and out of LBIA in that time.”
The acquisition is set to close during the first quarter of 2018. The price and terms of the sale were not disclosed.
“We are particularly pleased to sell Sun Country to Apollo because it has a proven track record for successfully helping companies grow and generate long-term value,” Sun Country Chairman Marty Davis said in a statement.
Members of the Davis family purchased the airline in 2011 from its founders, a small group of former Braniff International pilots and flight attendants in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
“We are tremendously excited about the acquisition of Sun Country,” said Apollo Partner Antoine Munfakh in a release. “Sun Country presents compelling opportunities for innovation, efficiency and growth. Underpinned by a solid foundation of assets and people, including an outstanding team of executives and talented flight crews, we believe Sun Country has a very bright future.”
The private equity firm, headquartered in New York City, had assets under management of approximately $242 billion as of Sept. 30, 2017 in private equity, credit and real assets invested across a core group of nine industries. Among the companies owned by Apollo is Caesars Entertainment Corp., purchased in 2008 as Harrah’s Entertainment, retailer Claire’s, hot tub maker Jacuzzi, educational publisher McGraw-Hill Education, and a stake in cruise ship operator Norwegian Cruise Line.