Sun. Apr 2nd, 2023

Avelo Airlines ( just opened its third U.S. base at Orlando International Airport (MCO). The young low-fare airline says its goal is to fly more than one million visitors into Orlando annually.

Avelo launched operations in April of 2021, the first new U.S. airline in 15 years. It began with three Boeing 737 aircraft and new flight attendants who quarantined together to train during the pandemic., Avelo has so far weathered COVID-19 and massive fuel price increases. It now serves 25 destinations across the U.S.

While the airline is still relatively small, it claims a flight reliability record larger airlines might envy. Since launching 14 months ago, Avelo has cancelled less than 1% of its flights.

With the expansion of its Orlando base, the airline is adding nonstop flights to Southern Connecticut, Washington, DC and Wilmington, North Carolina. Over the next 12 months, Avelo plans to fly to 15 nonstop destinations from Orlando.

Avelo is flying five days per week from Orlando to Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) through August 21, 2022. One-way introductory fares start at $59.

Avelo is also launching seasonal service three days per week to Wilmington International Airport (ILM) from Orlando through November 9, 2022. One-way introductory fares also start at $59.

The new destinations join Avelo’s popular service between Orlando and Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN). Avelo says that Tweed is Southern Connecticut’s most convenient airport, saving passengers an arduous journey to New York’s LaGuardia or JFK. Avelo now flies to New Haven from its Orlando base to three times per day. One-way introductory fares start at $69.

“Our new base will enable Avelo to serve more destinations, add more flights, operate more airplanes, fly more customers and employ more crewmembers in Orlando,” Avelo Airlines Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy said. With the Florida economy growing, Levy notes that “Avelo’s rapidly expanding presence here will be a significant source of new visitors to Orlando, creating an economic impact across the region.”

Avelo’s base structure differs from the hub model used by other airlines. Unlike conventional airline “hubs” that connect passengers between spoke cities, Avelo flies its customers nonstop from its three “bases” (Orlando, Burbank, and New Haven) and the destinations served from them. For passengers, there are no connections to miss, because every flight is direct to its destination.

As Avelo flights start and end every day at their respective bases, crewmembers can sleep at home each night instead of in hotels. The base model also allows mechanics to inspect every aircraft each evening when it returns home.

The airline will initially base three Boeing 737 jetliners at MCO, including one 147-seat 737-700 and two 189-seat 737-800s. Avelo’s current systemwide fleet consists of 10 Boeing 737s, expanding to 15 aircraft by early 2023.

Avelo employs two hundred pilots and flight attendants. The airline anticipates hiring hundreds more, many of whom will be based in Orlando.

The airline says the new base will create jobs in areas like customer service, technical operations, and maintenance, as well as pilots and flight attendants. The base is expected to generate $250 million in short-term economic impact in Greater Orlando. Over the next five years, the base may bring $1 billion in regional economic impact.

With the announcement of the new base, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, “We look forward to seeing Avelo grow and create new jobs for our residents and to welcoming even more visitors to enjoy our world-renowned hospitality.”

The new base will include a state-of-the-art flight training center to help address the personnel shortage plaguing the airline industry.

Avelo will be consolidating pilot and flight attendant training at the new Orlando Pilot and Flight Attendant Training Center, in partnership with Avenger Flight Group, the world’s largest privately owned commercial aviation training and simulation company. The new training will include areas such as leadership, evacuation simulations and customer service.

While Avelo sees itself as a leisure airline, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority CEO Kevin Thibault thinks it can drive business travel as well. “What we’re getting with Avelo is even more than a new connection between Central Florida and Baltimore. It is an additional access point for business to the popular Northeast corridor from our region.”

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