New startup airline Avelo is scrapping 2 markets — before flights even start
Trouble seems to be brewing for Avelo Airlines in some markets.
On Thursday, Avelo Airlines — one of America's new startup carriers — quietly pulled flights to both Monterey, California (MRY), and St. George, Utah (SGU), and removed these two West Coast cities from its route map.
Flights to these destinations were slated to begin on Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, respectively, but Avelo confirmed to TPG that those plans are now on hold for nearly a year. "We will take another look at our plans for these two markets next spring," a carrier spokesperson explained in an emailed statement.
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As for why the sudden change of heart — after all these flights were announced less than a month ago — Avelo's citing the surging delta variant — and the associated rise in coronavirus cases — for lower-than-expected demand. "Like all airlines, we’re adjusting accordingly to the current demand climate," the spokesperson added.
In addition to scrapping plans to serve Monterey and St. George, Avelo is also delaying the launch of flights to Provo, Utah (PVU). Service was planned to commence on Sept. 17, but Avelo confirmed that it's now been pushed to Nov. 15. All three routes were slated to fly from the airline's Burbank (BUR) base.
Flyers who were booked on one of the canceled flights are entitled to a full refund.
Interestingly, Avelo was going to become the only airline to fly to both MRY and SGU from Burbank. Despite the monopoly, the airline clearly couldn't make flights work in this demand environment.
In addition to the surging delta variant, Avelo, being an ultra-low-cost leisure-based carrier, presumably couldn't drum up enough interest in these routes during the fall when schools are in session and leisure travel is less prevalent.
Though Avelo has been growing since its launch, this isn't the first time the airline has cut routes. In early July, the airline quietly pulled flights to two of its 12 initial markets, Grand Junction, Colorado (GJT) and Bozeman, Montana (BZN). The airline also dropped service to Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona (AZA), but the carrier confirmed that it's "reevaluate returning... for the summer of 2022.”
Avelo's latest network update leaves the carrier with just three new West Coast routes, down from the five that were originally planned. The airline is on track to start flying between Santa Rosa (STS) to Las Vegas (LAS) on Sept. 16, as well as from Burbank (BUR) to Fort Collins-Loveland, Colorado (FNL) on Oct. 6.
While Avelo's taking down its West Coast network, the carrier is busy expanding its footprint on the Atlantic side of the country. The carrier unveiled its first four routes from its new East Coast base in New Haven, Connecticut, last week, and the airline is "very encouraged about the excitement and interest" in the new service.
The carrier's planning to launch flights to four cities in Florida: Orlando (MCO), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Tampa (TPA) and Fort Myers (RSW), with the first beginning on Nov. 3.
Hopefully, the airline will follow through with its East Coast plans, because its West Coast track record has been mixed.