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INDIANAPOLISLocal travelers will have more flights to choose from this year when Sun Country Airlines arrives at Indianapolis International Airport.



The Minnesota-based airline will begin nonstop flights to Minneapolis-St. Paul this summer and to Orlando in the fall, a Monday news release said.

Delta currently flies nonstop from IND to Minneapolis, and several airlines offer nonstop flights to Orlando.

Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, said Orlando is Indianapolis' top vacation destination. Overall, Sun Country operates 86 routes to more than 50 North American destinations, the release said. The airline requires pre-travel health screenings, and passengers must wear face coverings while boarding and during the flight.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the air travel industry particularly hard, with IND seeing activity drop to as little as 5% of typical operations at one point last year. But despite predictions to the contrary, air travel picked up significantly around Christmas even after a bump in Thanksgiving travel was followed by a surge in COVID-19 cases. The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 1 million passengers — a rarely achieved total during the pandemic — 12 times between Friday, Dec. 18, and Monday, Jan. 4. Average travel volume per day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve fluctuated between 24% and 61% of the year before, the TSA said.

This is the first major 2021 announcement from IND. New flights announced by the airport last year included Cancun, Memphis, St. Louis, and Fort Lauderdale.

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