NEW YORK: Avelo Airlines, America’s first new airline to launch in the COVID era, took flight Wednesday, April 28 with a single round-trip between Burbank and Santa Rosa, CA in the wine country.
“Today’s first flight represents far more than a 90-minute journey from LA’s iconic Hollywood Burbank Airport to the Sonoma County Airport in the heart of California wine country, we’re embarking on a new era of choice, convenience and everyday low fares” said Avelo Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy. “Avelo was created to Inspire Travel by making it easier and more affordable to reconnect with family, celebrate with friends and explore new places. We’re excited to play a small part in making these new memories and adventures possible.”
“We are excited to bring our low fares, caring Soul of Service and convenient experience to Santa Rosa, Sonoma County and the Greater Bay Area” said Levy. “This new route will help stimulate demand to the region and allow travellers to skip Bay Area traffic. They can land in the heart of California’s wine country and be on their way to over 425 vineyards and 55 miles of majestic Pacific coastline just a few steps from the gate.”
Reported by aviation journalists Chris Sloan, Avelo’s strategy targets “connecting under-served, high-priced destinations with secondary airports in really large metro areas, more like a Ryanair and EasyJet, or even say a Southwest of 40 years ago in big metro areas avoiding congested airports” says Levy.
With low operating costs he estimates at 25 percent below Allegiant; with an initial fleet of three Boeing 737-800s on property, one owned and two leased at rock bottom costs, Levy is leveraging low costs. When asked why use such a large mainline jet on such thin routes, he points to Allegiant as a model “It used to be that small airport, market, right. We kind of busted that idea part at Allegiant by flying big airplanes to small markets”.
With three additional 737-800s due by end of the year, the out and back model will likely be applied to a new secondary airport base later in the year perhaps Wilmington, DE near Philadelphia.