Last week’s news on Avelo Airlines adding flights to San Juan and Sarasota in November does not mean the airline is in an all-out expansion mode.
Like Frontier, the airline is OK with “failing fast” and moving on, even if it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of passengers who liked its service. Avelo has only 15 jets (two based in Delaware), does not have deep pockets and is serious about moving toward profitability.
For example, Avelo is cutting some Florida flights from Raleigh-Durham, perhaps due to stiffer competition at the North Carolina airport from Jet Blue and and Allegiant.
Seasonal service to the Raleigh-Durham ends this fall from Wilmington Airport (ILG). So far, signs point to a resumption.
Avelo founder and CEO Andrew Levy knows a thing or two about Allegiant after serving as an executive with the Las Vegas-based carrier that like Avelo focuses on smaller cities. Allegiant, which briefly served Salisbury, is often mentioned as a possible second airline for Wlimington, since it has no Delaware Valley persence.
In other news, Avelo service from Charlottesville, VA ends in early September after disappointing traffic levels. It was a similar story in Newport News, VA.
One success story is the the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, Iowa, where Avelo is requesting nearly $600,000 from the airport operator after reporting that flights to Orlando have been more than 80% full.
The funding is part of an agreement between the airline and airport with the payments being made if Avelo met certain goals. Bigger airports have made similar deals.
Avelo will add service to Las Vegas from Dubuque next month.
Avelo did not get a similar deal at Wilmington, but did get an exemption from a fuel tax and likely gained favorable terms in an agreement with the DRBA.
Vegas is near the top of the wish list for Wilmington Avelo passengers and watchers, but would be a stretch when it comes to sticking with its strategy of having most of its service with flights of three hours or less. Flights to the gambling mecca run about six hours one way.
The flight to San Juan will also test Avelo’s business model, since it takes four hours to get to the island.