Airline notes: Avelo extends schedule into November; American heads to French Riviera

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Avelo Airlines has extended its schedule from Wilmington Airport (ILG) and other destinations into early November.

No new destinations appear to be on the horizon in Delaware. Service to Sarasota, FL, will resume in early November, and earlier this month, twice-weekly flights to Myrtle Beach returned.

The good news here is that contrary to the gloom and doom crowd that checks in on social media, Avelo is maintaining a stable schedule as it works to build brand awareness in the Delaware Valley. Avelo primarily uses word of mouth, billboards and social media, but has gotten free publicity from Wilmington service announcements.

Avelo reported a profit in the first quarter, giving it time to build its presence in the market. Avelo is also finishing first or second in the US airline industry for the fewest canceled or delayed flights. Rival Frontier ranks last.

Avelo is expected to receive four additional Boeing jets this year, which could open the door to new destinations. At present, the airline is focusing on adding flights from its main East Coast hub, New Haven, CT, and launching a hub in Santa Rosa, on the edge of the San Francisco area market.

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Avelo is the first airline to offer more than one destination out of Wilmington over an extended period. About a decade ago, Frontier Airlines added several cities out of ILG but quickly pulled back service.

Avelo has already demonstrated that commercial airline service can work in Wilmington as long as fares are competitive and the airline and airport operator havelow-cost structures. The wild card is jet fuel costs. Expansion is also hindered by delays in delivering new Boeing jets. That, in turn, leads to airlines holding on to older Boeing 737s that Avelo wants to add to its fleet.

Meanwhile, Frontier continues to expand out of Philadelphia International Airport and is now focusing on high-fare destinations like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Charlotte.

Further down the I-95 corridor, Baltimore-Washington Airport is seeing more airlines beefing up their schedules. That includes Avelo, which resumed seasonal service to Wilmington, NC, and Spirit, which took on Southwest by adding flights to Portland, ME, Boston, San Diego, and New Orleans.

American beefs up transatlantic service

American Airlines this week added daily service to the French Riviera with a daily flight to Nice.

“The Philadelphia hub serves as American’s gateway to Europe, and we are proud of the critical role we play in connecting customers from across the U.S. to 14 European destinations this summer,” stated Lakshman Amaranayaka, American’s vice president of PHL Hub Operations. “Our inaugural service to Nice is the first of three new transatlantic routes launching from PHL this year, reinforcing our commitment to the region and to building the world’s best network.” 

Next month, American will launch new nonstop service from PHL to Naples and Copenhagen.

American will offer 15 daily nonstop flights from PHL to 14 European destinations this summer marking the largest transatlantic schedule from Philly since 2019. American serves 70 domestic destinations from PHL, down from its peak. Fuel prices and a pilot shortage that has since eased contributed to the cutbacks.

There had been fears that American would not build back transatlantic service lost during the Covid pandemic, due in part

The expansion might have been more aggressive. However, troubles with Boeing jet deliveries have affected American and other airlines. There had been fears that American would not build back transatlantic service lost during the Covid pandemic due in part to the jet issue.

Frontier, Volaris back to code sharing

Finally, Frontier resumed a code-sharing agreement with Volaris, a low-fare Mexican airline, with shared roots. Indigo Partners owns a chunk of both budget carriers. Indigo has indicated it will no longer have a controlling interest in Frontier after a previously announced stock transaction.

U.S. Government restrictions ended a previous code-sharing arrangement, but have since been lifted.

The agreement means a passenger can book a connecting Volaris flight to Mexico City through the Frontier website.

How this will play out for Philadelphia passengers remains unclear. A couple of flights on the schedule took 16 hours, thanks to lengthy layovers.

Meanwhile, Frontier registered the name Frontera, leading to a wave of speculation on future use of the word that means pretty much the means the same thing in Spanish and English. – Doug Rainey

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