Travel notes: No Lakeland-Wilmington flights; Rival Breeze offering Lancaster-Orlando flights this fall


Avelo Airlines‘ scheduled announcement on Wednesday regarding routes from Lakeland, FL came and went without an announcement of a Wilmington flight.

It was widely believed that the Florida airport between Tampa and Orlando would offer flights to Wilmington and its big East Coast base in New Haven, CT.

Avelo will initially offer twice-weekly flights to the Connecticut airport beginning in June. Avelo has expanded its New Haven schedule this year despite dealing with the New England airport’s ancient terminal. Avelo first launched its East Coast service in 2021, with Wilmington coming online last year. A new $165 million terminal is on the way in New Haven.

Earlier, Avelo took the unusual step of signing a 15-year lease at the airport in the fast-growing Florida area, leading to speculation that it would establish a stronghold that would draw travelers heading to Orlando and Tampa.

Starting small makes sense since there is no good way to predict whether a small airport lacking a track record will pan out. There may also be some kinks to iron out at a destination that has not seen flights in a decade.


Avelo founder and CEO Andrew Levy said earlier that the airline will keep its Wilmington flight schedule modest while working to build brand awareness in the Delaware Valley.

Local government will promote service from the Florida airport, which could be a convenient option. While lacking local attractions, the Lakeland area is one of the fastest-growing parts of Florida and is a fairly easy drive to Disney with Tampa even closer.

Orlando remains Avelo’s most popular route from Wilmington and Philadelphia International Airport. Diverting some of those passengers to lower-cost Lakeland might be more profitable for the 16-jet airline, which plans to add four aircraft this year.

Meanwhile, Avelo reported having the fewest canceled flights in the industry during February and the first two months of 2024. It ranked No. 2 in on-time flights for the same period. Avelo offers all-nonstop flights and no connecting service, which is prone to delays.

Finally, Avelo will end seasonal service to Sarasota, FL, from Wilmington at the end of April. It will be interesting to see if the twice-weekly service resumes in time for the winter travel season.

No passenger traffic figures have been reported on the ILG-Sarasota service.

Breeze heads to Lancaster

Avelo rival Breeze Airways this week announced plans to fly from Lancaster, PA, to Orlando this fall.

The airline is expanding its network by adding Bangor, ME; Dallas- Fort Worth; Lansing, MI; and Pensacola, FL.

Breeze will offer flights from the Pennsylvania airport for long weekend travelers with service on Thursday and Monday.

Breeze and Avelo were launched at about the same time in 2021 but offer different options. Breeze has new jets, Wi-Fi, and the option of business class-type seats. Avelo offers one-class service on refurbished Boeing 737 jets with no Wi-Fi. Both offer flights from smaller airports to popular destinations like Orlando.

American Airlines previously added Lancaster to its bus schedule. Passengers are screened at the small airport and board a bus to Philadelphia International. Fares from Lancaster are sometimes cheaper than if the passenger booked a Philly flight to the same destination. So far, it has not offered that service in northern Delaware.

Connecticut is the biggest beneficiary of the rivalry. Avelo operates its biggest base in New Haven, and Breeze has a major presence in Hartford.

Perhaps due to route woes and lease costs for new jets, Breeze has reportedly suffered big losses in the early going, with slightly smaller Avelo reporting a profit in the fourth quarter.