Startup airline Avelo opens new base in Orlando, adds more routes on 1st anniversary
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Avelo Airlines is celebrating its first birthday on Thursday with a big announcement: its third operating base.
The Houston-headquartered ultra-low-cost startup is headed to Central Florida and opening its third base at Orlando International Airport (MCO), one of the country’s most popular leisure destinations.
While Avelo already serves Orlando, operating bases are important at the airline. Each has hosted entirely different route networks — without any overlap — though that will now change with the Orlando base. The airline’s first base was at the Hollywood-Burbank Airport (BUR) where the inaugural flight to Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport (STS) took place last April 28. That was followed in November by the airline’s first East Coast base, Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN).
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Avelo is announcing two new Orlando destinations on top of its new route to Charleston, South Carolina (CHS), that was announced on Tuesday. But look for additional growth from Orlando beyond Thursday’s announcement, as has happened at Avelo’s other bases.
“Avelo is poised for continued growth as we add more planes, more Crewmembers, more destinations and more bases — including our new base in Orlando,” CEO Andrew Levy said in a statement. “I’m very appreciative of the warm reception The Sunshine State has greeted Avelo with since we began flying here last November. I’m looking forward to the positive economic and community impact Avelo will make in Orlando and across Florida as we increase our investment here in the years ahead.”
The first new route is to the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). This seasonal route will operate five times a week from June 30 to Sept. 6. Avelo will face fierce competition on this route from Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines. Southwest alone will operate as many as nine roundtrips a day on this route this summer, according to Cirium schedule data. Avelo will also compete against airlines that serve the region’s other two airports, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). Avelo’s fares start at $59 on its BWI-Orlando route.
The second new route is also a new city for Avelo: Wilmington, North Carolina (ILM). It will be served three days a week from Orlando starting on July 1. Avelo will be the only airline operating from Wilmington to Orlando, which is dominated by hub service from American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. In addition to the Orlando route, Avelo will also serve BWI seasonally from July 1 to Nov. 7, and New Haven three days per week starting June 30. The introductory fare for the ILM-Orlando route is $49.
All routes will be operated with Avelo’s Boeing 737-700 aircraft, and the airline will base two of them in Orlando. The airline plans to have 15 737-700s and 737-800s — which operate West Coast routes — in its fleet by the end of the year.
The airline also announced that it is consolidating its training in Orlando. All Avelo pilots and flight attendants will now receive training from Avenger Flight Group at the company’s Orlando campus, starting this summer.
As Avelo enters its second year, it currently has 160 flight attendants and pilots — and expects hundreds more in the years to come.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
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