Low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines is opening a new base at Orlando International Airport Thursday, adding two new routes to its map and extra service to its existing hub in New Haven, Connecticut.
“We’re excited to make Orlando a big center of gravity,” Andrew Levy, Avelo’s CEO told USA TODAY in an interview. “There’s a lot of opportunity to add service in and out of Orlando to markets that are not being served either at all or adequately today.”
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Avelo will start with three Boeing 737s in Orlando, with about 10 pilots and 15 flight attendants designated per plane. Levy said that having crews and equipment based there will make service to the airport more reliable and will allow the airline to serve more destinations from Florida starting this week.
“It’s such a massively popular destination,” Levy said. “It’s incredible the demand that there is to fly in and out of central Florida, and it’s really year-round.”
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Seasonal service between Orlando and Baltimore-Washington International Airport will start Thursday, with new service to Wilmington, North Carolina, slated to begin Friday, the airline said in a statement. Introductory fares to both cities start at $ 59 for a one-way ticket.
Above all, Levy said, the new base will help make service between New Haven and Orlando more robust, with up to three flights per day on the new schedule for that route, with one-way fares starting at $ 69.
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“Orlando is going to be hugely important, but right now the biggest part of our business is far and away New Haven,” he said. “One of the airplanes in Orlando to begin with is doing nothing other than flying back and forth to Connecticut. Six of our nine airplanes are completely dedicated to Connecticut. “
Avelo’s future plans
The new base’s opening is just the start of Avelo’s plans for Orlando.
“Above and beyond that we’re going to be moving our pilot and flight attendant training into the Orlando region,” Levy said.
The airline currently holds its pilot training in Dallas and its flight attendant training in Miami, but plans to consolidate all courses to a new training center in central Florida starting this fall.
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Avelo also plans to add more planes and crews to its Orlando base and ramp up service there in the coming years.
In a statement, the airline said it plans to serve 15 destinations nonstop from Orlando within the next 12 months, and projects that number will increase to 50 destinations with 10 aircraft based at the airport within the next five years.
“By 2027, we anticipate Avelo will annually fly more than 1 million visitors to (Orlando) from destinations primarily not served by other airlines,” the statement said.