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Sun Country is no longer Minnesota-owned

The airline has been sold to a New York group.

The Essentials

1. Sun Country is changing hands. The current owners agreed to sell the Eagan-based airline to a New York investment group known as Apollo Global Management, they announced Thursday.

2. The headquarters will stay in Minnesota, according to the announcement, and Jude Bricker (who came over from budget airline Allegiant in July) will keep his job as the CEO. 

3. Sun Country moves 2.5 million passengers a year (about the 17th highest figure in the U.S.), and is the "largest privately-held fully independent airline" in the U.S., the release says. 

The Big Picture

Sun Country was founded in 1982 by Twin Cities area pilots and flight attendants. Its most recent owners are Minnesota's Davis family (specifically Marty and Mitch), tapped by Forbes as one of the country's wealthiest names.

The company has made a point to embrace its Minnesota-ness, naming all of its planes after state lakes (with custom artwork) and bringing local craft beer onboard.

Sun Country even calls itself "Minnesota's Hometown Airline."

But it does feel like there's an identity shift happening, with this sale being the latest sign.

Once it goes through (which is expected to happen in the first quarter of 2018), you could argue Sun Country loses some of its homegrown feel (even if out-of-state owners isn't unprecedented).

And the airline reportedly has plans to shift to an "ultra low cost" model – think like Spirit or Frontier, where seats are cheap and you get charged for everything beyond that. 

For example, there's that new policy charging flyers to use overhead bins (which starts mid-January) 

Chairman Marty Davis (the one selling to the investment group) sees a growth opportunity though, saying in the announcement he's "confident the company is well-positioned for continued expansion and its evolution beyond its Minnesota base.”

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