Avelo Airlines to fly nonstop between RDU, Fort Myers, Fla.

Avelo, a startup airline that began flying from Raleigh-Durham International Airport in May, is adding a second destination from the Triangle.

Avelo Airlines will begin flying three times a week between RDU and Fort Myers, Florida, on Nov. 10. The carrier will be the only one offering service between the two places.

Avelo calls the Fort Myers flights seasonal but doesn’t know yet when they will end, said spokeswoman Courtney Goff. The airline is selling tickets through April 20.

“Pending the demand, we see we may go a little longer with it,” Goff wrote in an email. “It has the potential to be a year-round route if we see that the demand is there for it.”

The Florida flights will operate Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Avelo began flying five days a week between RDU and Tweed-New Haven Airport, its East Coast base in Connecticut, in May. Goff said the airline may reduce the number of those flights if demand lags during certain times of the year.

“But right now bookings are doing well enough to keep flying this frequency even with the cost of fuel,” she said.

The low-cost airline, which began flying in the spring of 2021, tries to fly exclusive routes, often to secondary airports in large metro areas. Founder and CEO Andrew Levy said earlier this year that he hoped to eventually add flights from RDU to places other carriers aren’t serving.

The carrier also doesn’t offer connecting flights, which it says minimizes delays, cancellations and lost bags.

With the addition of Fort Myers and Freeport in The Bahamas in November, people are able to book nonstop flights from RDU to 57 destinations, matching the number before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the decline in air travel during the pandemic, the number of nonstop destinations from RDU dropped to fewer than 40.

Other new flights from RDU in coming months include:

Southwest Airlines to William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, starting in September. United is the only other airline now serving the Houston area, flying to George Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Southwest will also begin flying nonstop to Las Vegas next month, joining Delta and Frontier.

America Airlines will begin flying nonstop to Phoenix next month, joining Southwest on that route. American has also announced daily nonstop flights to Cincinnati starting in January, a route now served only by Frontier.

Spirit Airlines will begin flying to Orlando International Airport next month, joining Delta, Frontier and Southwest.

This story was originally published August 25, 2022 1:44 PM.

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak. He’s been a reporter or editor for 35 years, including the last 23 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.

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