Avelo Airlines reports more than 200,000 boardings in the first 10 months of service at Wilmington Airport (ILG), formerly New Castle Airport.
That’s nearly double the previous record set during the heyday of Frontier Airlines service in 2014. Frontier quietly left the airport in 2015 as its ownership changed. It offered limited service to Orlando several years later. Those flights ended in 2022.
The announcement was made on Wednesday as Delaware Avelo passengers boarded their first flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s the first time a Wilmington flight has gone outside the continental U.S. The flight to San Juan takes nearly four hours, with flights twice weekly.
Avelo hopes to attract visitors to the island and some of the quarter of a million people in the Delaware Valley with Puerto Rico ties. The Delaware Valley has the second-largest Puerto Rican population in the U.S.
Philadelphia International Airport offers multiple daily flights to San Juan. However, Avelo is betting the convenience of the Delaware airport, low base fares, and its strong on-time record will draw passengers.
A passenger traveling to San Juan in mid-December would pay about $200 for a round-trip base fare on Avelo (seat assignments and baggage are extra) compared to more than $600 on American. Fares on Spirit and Frontier Airlines out of Philadelphia are comparably priced (possibly in response to Avelo) but may come with cancellation fees.
Avelo operates the San Juan route twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with Boeing 737 800 jets that seat 189.
At the event, Avelo, joined by local officials, repeated the earlier launch announcement with a tropical-themed sendoff and a water cannon salute.
Wilmington Councilwoman Maria Cabrera said, “As someone of Puerto Rican descent from San Juan, Puerto Rico, I am absolutely ecstatic at Avelo’s announcement of the addition of Puerto Rico as a destination. This news is an attestation of the economic engine of the Hispanic community, but also a smart investment. Puerto Rico is one of the most beautiful US territories to visit. Thank you Avelo for making it convenient for not only tourists but for families to be able to visit their loved ones, more conveniently and economically. I, for one, am very grateful and can’t wait to take my first flight out of Wilmington Airport to Puerto Rico.”
Avelo currently serves 11 nonstop destinations from its ILG base. It has served as many 15 cities on a seasonal basis. The airline employs approximately 100 locally based crewmembers, including pilots, flight attendants, airport crew, aircraft maintenance technicians, and supervisors.
Since its launch in 2021, Avelo has flown more than 3.5 million Customers on more than 27,000 flights. Today, Avelo serves 44 destinations in 23 states and Puerto Rico with a fleet of 16 Boeing 737 aircraft. Two of those jets are based at ILG.